John Stratton Hawley

Claire Tow Professor of Religion

 Jack Hawley joined Barnard's faculty in 1986. His research is focused on the religious life of north India and on the literature that it has spawned in the course of the last 500 years. He is the author or editor of some twenty-five books. Most concern Hinduism and the religions of India, but others are broadly comparative. Recent publications include A STORM OF SONGS: INDIA AND THE IDEA OF THE BHAKTI MOVEMENT and, with Kenneth E. Bryant, SUR’S OCEAN: POEMS FROM THE EARLY TRADITION (both Harvard University Press, 2015). Each won an award from the Association for Asian Studies. A poem-by-poem commentary on verse found in SUR’S OCEAN, with extensive introduction, is INTO SUR’S OCEAN: POETRY, CONTEXT, AND COMMENTARY (Harvard Oriental Series, 2016). Recently, with the publication of a revised and expanded version of SURDAS: POET, SINGER, SAINT (Primus Books, 2018), Hawley has been following Surdas and his poetry into the realm of manuscript illustration. As for the present day, KRISHNA’S PLAYGROUND: VRINDAVAN IN THE 21ST CENTURY is forthcoming from Oxford University Press (fall, 2019).

Jack Hawley has served as director of Columbia University's South Asia Institute and has received multiple awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian, and the American Institute of Indian Studies. He has also been a Guggenheim Fellow, and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2016-17 he was a Fulbright-Nehru Fellow principally resident in Vrindavan, not far from Delhi.

For more information, including a full list of publications and descriptions of courses he has taught, visit

Recent Books:

Bhakti and Power: Debating India’s Religion of the Heart (co-editor, University of Washington, 2019)

Bhakti ke Tīn Svar: Mīrā, Sūr, Kabīr (in Hindi, Rajkamal Prakashan, 2019)

Sūrdās: Poet, Singer, Saint, rev. ed. (Primus Books, 2018)

Text and Tradition in Early Modern North India (co-editor, Oxford, 2018)

Into Sur’s Ocean:  Poetry, Context, and Commentary (Harvard, 2016)
A Storm of Songs:  India and Idea of the Bhakti Movement (Harvard, 2015).
Sur’s Ocean:  Poems from the Early Tradition (with Kenneth E. Bryant; Harvard, 2015).

Academic Focus: 

Hinduism in north India
Religious literature in Brajbhasa/Hindi
Religion in New York

Poetry and Painting


Love, Translated:  Hindu Bhakti
Religious Worlds of New York (with Courtney Bender)
The Bhakti Movement
Colloquium on Comparative Religion
Bhakti Texts
Religion vs. the Academy
Hinduism Here


Awards & Honors: 

Distinguished Achievement Award for Outstanding Scholarship, South Asian Literary Association (2019)

Col. James Tod Award of the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Trust (2018)

A. K. Ramanujan Book Prize for Translation of the Association for Asian Studies, for Sur’s Ocean (with Kenneth E. Bryant, 2018)

Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize of the Association for Asian Studies, for A Storm of Songs (2017)

Fulbright-Nehru Senior Fellowship (2016-17)

American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2013-)

Barnard College Commendation for Excellence in Teaching (2013)

American Society for the Study of Religion (1992-)

John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (1985)


219A Milbank
T: 212.854.5292


Office Hours: 

Spring 2014: Thursdays 4-6pm


Ph.D., Harvard University

M.Div., Union Theological Seminary

A.B., Amherst College

In the News

Barnard publishes two pieces of work, an essay entitled "When Blindness Makes for Sight" and co-edited a book entitled "Bhakti and Power: Debating India's Religion of the Heart."

On March 27, 2019 Rajkamal Prakashan, one of Hindi’s most important presses, released a Hindi version of Jack Hawley’s book "Three Bhakti Voices." 

Prof. Hawley's works Sur's Ocean and Surdas: Poet, Singer, Saint will each be honored with an award.

Jack Hawley, Professor of Religion, will publish his latest book Into Sūr’s Ocean: Poetry, Context, and Commentary in April 2017. It will be published by Harvard University Press.

Claire Tow Professor of Religion John Stratton Hawley was recently awarded the 2017 Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize by the South Asian Council of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) in Toronto for his book A Storm of Songs: India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement (Harvard University Press, 2015).

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