BA Hons (Lancaster) MPhil PhD (Cambridge)
Senior Lecturer, Asian Religions
Room: 105, 97 Albany Street
Tel: 64 3 479 8793
Will Sweetman is Senior Lecturer in Asian Religions. He has degrees in Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Theology from the Universities of Lancaster and Cambridge. He has taught at universities in London and Newcastle, and held research fellowships at the University of Halle (Germany) and the University of Cambridge. Will has published three books and several articles on historical and theoretical aspects of the study of Hinduism. He is founding editor of the journal Relegere: Studies in Religion and Reception and a Fellow of the New Zealand India Research Institute. In the second semester of 2013, Will will be on research leave.
Each year Will teaches the section on Hinduism in an introductory paper (RELS102) and a paper on Method & Theory in the Study of Religion (RELS415). His other teaching includes a paper on the culture of the body in Asian religions (RELS209/309), and papers in the areas of his research interests: religion in the south of India (RELS212/312), and interactions between Asian religions and the West (RELS310/462). Several of these papers are also offered by distance learning. In 2013 he will teach a new paper on World Christianity (RELS231/331).
Papers taught in 2013
|Hinduism and Buddhism|
Click on the paper code for further information about the paper, including prescriptions and timetables.
Will's research interests centre on interactions between the religions of Asia and the West in the modern period. His doctoral research examined accounts of Hinduism in English, Dutch, German and French writers from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The results of this research were published as Mapping Hinduism. He continues to work in this area and is currently engaged in a study of Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg's works on Hinduism, in particular the Genealogie der malabarischen Götter (1713). He has recently published an edition of Ziegenbalg's catalogue of his library of over one hundred Tamil Hindu manuscripts, including some that are not otherwise recorded.
Preferred areas of supervision:
- Asian religions
- Historical and theoretical questions in the study of religion
- Inter-religious encounters in colonial contexts
- Christian mission in Africa and Asia
Main research interests:
- History of the study of religion
- Eighteenth-century orientalism
- Religion in South India
- Environmentalist rhetoric in Asian religions
Bibliotheca Malabarica: Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg's Tamil Library. Paris/Pondicherry: EFEO/IFP, 2012 [Details]
(translator) Ute Hüsken, Visnu's Children. Prenatal life-cycle rituals in South India. (Ethno-Indology. Heidelberg Studies in South Asian Rituals 9). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2009 [Preview]
Mapping Hinduism: 'Hinduism' and the study of Indian religions. 1600-1776. Halle: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen zu Halle, 2003 [Details]
A Discovery of the Banian Religion and the Religion of the Persees: a critical edition of two early English works on Indian Religions. Lampeter: Edwin Mellen, 1999 [Preview]
Articles and book chapters
'Hinduism—History of Scholarship', in Denise Cush, Catherine Robinson and Michael York, ed., Encyclopedia of Hinduism. London: Routledge, 2008: 329-339
'Colonialism all the way down? Religion and the secular in early modern writing on south India', in Timothy Fitzgerald, ed., Religion and the Secular: Historical and Colonial Formations. London: Equinox, 2007: 117-134
'Heathenism, idolatry and rational monotheism among the Hindus: Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg's Akkiyanam (1713) and other works addressed to Tamil Hindus', in Andreas Gross, Y. Vincent Kumaradoss and Heike Liebau, ed., Halle and the Beginning of Protestant Christianity in India. 3 vols. Halle: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen zu Halle, 2006: 1249-1275 Download this article
'Hinduism', in Rachel Dwyer, ed., Keywords in South Asian Studies. London: SOAS, 2005 Download this article
'The prehistory of Orientalism: colonialism and the textual basis for Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg's account of Hinduism', New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 6/2 (2004): 12–38 Download this article
'"Hinduism" and the history of "religion": Protestant presuppositions in the critique of the concept of Hinduism', Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 15/4 (2003): 329–353 Download this article
'Unity and Plurality: Hinduism and the Religions of India in Early European Scholarship', Religion 31/3 (2001): 209–224 Download this article