History, Aims, and Scope

Previously known as the Conference on Religion in South India (CRSI), the Conference on the Study of Religions of India (CSRI) assumed its broader scope and current name, and held its first conference in 2005. CSRI provides a forum for scholars engaged in the academic study of religions of India to present their fresh and original research to colleagues. A distinctive feature of this conference is that it offers a leisurely, collegial, and informal setting to pursue critical inquiry into the rich and diverse religious traditions of India, both in their native and diasporic contexts. The conference is committed to creative and critical inquiry. It is not an advocacy forum for the religions of India and does not endorse or proscribe a particular point of view. Scholars committed to the academic study of Indian religions with a doctoral degree in religious studies or allied disciplines, as well as graduate students in advanced standing are eligible to present and participate in the annual meetings. Indeed, many graduate students find the annual meetings of CSRI to be a valuable forum for forging productive professional relationships with senior scholars in the field. Many senior scholars of today fondly recall the productive professional friendships the annual meetings helped them form early in their professional careers.

Selva J. Raj of Albion College was the founding chairman of the renamed CSRI Annual Meetings and served as their main inspiration and organizer between the years of 2005-2007. After Selva Raj’s death in March of 2008, original Advisory Council members continued without him, assuming responsibility for the planning and organization of subsequent conferences. Current Advisory Council Members, Brian Pennington (President), Reid Locklin, Archana Venkatesan, and Chad Bauman cordially invite all scholars of Indian religions to take active part in the annual (and sometimes biannual) meetings of the conference by presenting their research, attending its meetings, and supporting its publications.

We owe special thanks to Albion College in Michigan for providing administrative and technical support for the Conference and web space for its official website in 2005-2007. We would like to thank Loyola University Chicago for assuming website and administrative responsibilities from 2008 to 2017, and for hosting the conference in 2006. We offer thanks to Maryville College in Tennessee, Kalamazoo College in Michigan, University of Saint Michael's College in the University of Toronto, Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Drew University in New Jersey, and Butler University in Indianapolis for offering support to and hosting our conferences from 2008-2014. We are also grateful to Butler University for assuming responsibility in 2017 for maintaining this website and to Elon University for offering administrative and budgetary support.