Professor, Department for the Study of Religion
Centre for South Asian Studies at the Asian Institute
Room JHB313, 170 St. George Street
Srilata Raman is Assistant Professor of Modern Hinduism at the University of Toronto and works on medieval South Asian/South Indian religion, bhakti, historiography and hagiography, religious movements in early colonial India from the South as well as modern Tamil literature. Professor Srilata Raman’s academic interests include Sanskrit and Tamil intellectual formations in South India from pre-colonial times to modernity, neo-Hinduism, Colonial Sainthood and modern Tamil literature. She completed her B.A in New Delhi, India, her MPhil at Oxford University, and PhD in Tübingen, Germany. Her book Self-Surrender (Prapatti) to God in Śrīvaiṣṇavism. Tamil Cats and Sanskrit Monkeys (Routledge, 2007) is a textual study of a theological dispute in a medieval South Indian Vaiṣṇava community which shows that sectarian formation in that period, in its theological dimension, is a fluid and ambivalent enterprise, where conflict and differentiation are presaged on “sharing”, whether of a common canon, a common saint, a common corpus of rituals or the “meta-social” arena of the temple itself. Her current work focuses on early colonial Tamil Saivism and the reformulations of religion, linked to notions of the body, in the writings of Ramalinga Adigal (1823-1874). The areas of interest in the medieval, on the one hand, and the early colonial, on the other, are bridged by an overall concern with thematizing both the ruptures and the continuities between pre-modernity and modernity and the historiography of religious traditions in both.