Dr. Purvi Parikh
Assistant Professor of Religion Studies
According to many, religion is an antiquated and primitive phenomenon that was supposed to disappear at the onset of modernization. Yet, religion continues to have a strong presence in contemporary society and in the lives of millions of people around the world. The complex interconnections between religion and other fundamental aspects of our society, such as politics and economics, makes the study of religion crucial to understanding our world. My courses aim to enable students to understand and analyze the role of religion and ethics in the everyday lives of people, the diversity of human experience and the complex but integral relationship between religion and the modern world.
I teach courses on South Asian religions (including Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism and South Asian Islam), ethics and religion, modernity and secularism.
Research, Scholarship or Creative/Artistic Interests
My research interests focus on the rapidly growing phenomenon of modern Indian religious movements in India and the Indian diaspora. In particular, I am interested in the nexus of religion and ethics within these movements, examining the ways that religion and religious texts inform modern ideas about what it means to be human and what it means to live well. Within these movements, I am also interested in pedagogies of moral education and the relationship between religion, ethics, civic engagement and self-formation.
My second area of research interests lies at the intersection of religion and the secular. In particular, I am interested in examining the role of religion and the secular in contemporary discourses around tolerance, human rights and freedom.