Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies
Established 1997
Focus The study of Hindu culture, religion, languages, literature, philosophy, history, arts and society, in all periods and in all parts of the world.
Chairman The Lord Navnit Dholakia OBE PC DL
Director Shaunaka Rishi Das
Key people Prof Gavin Flood, Dr Nicholas Sutton, Dr Jessica Frazier, Dr Rembert Lutjerharms, Anuradha Dooney
Subsidiaries The Bhumi Project
Location Oxford, UK
Address 13-15 Magdalen Street, Oxford Ox1 3AE
Website www.ochs.org.uk

The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, founded in 1997, is a Recognised Independent Centre of the University of Oxford, England.[1] The Centre is engaged in developing academic programmes of education, research and publishing in the field of Hindu studies. The Centre also aims to encourage the Hindu community in the academic study of their own traditions and cultures.[2]

'This development in the field of Hindu Studies at Oxford is very exciting. It is an important addition to Oxford's wealth of resources on India and Indian religious traditions. It fits in well with our goal to attract more Indian students to come and study at Oxford. The new official association provides a platform for the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and Oxford University to move forward together in teaching, research and publishing.'[3]

Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of Oxford University

Educational programmes

All students of the OCHS are members of Oxford colleges and are studying for Oxford degrees from undergraduate to doctoral levels. Students are reading for degrees in the faculties of Theology, Oriental Studies, History and Anthropology.[4] Since 1998, the Centre has been inviting scholars to deliver lectures and tutorials at Oxford University. These include recipients of the very successful Shivdasani Visiting Fellowship, which helps Indian scholars come to Oxford every term. Through these fellowships and student scholarships[5] the Centre effectively encourages intellectual understanding between cultures of learning.[6] The Centre offers regular lectures and seminars at Oxford, interdisciplinary and broad in their range, including the named Majewski, Wahlstrom and Ford lectures.[7][8]

Continuing Education Department

Since 2003, the OCHS Continuing Education Department (CED) has facilitated access to Hindu Studies for adults in the UK - at various locations, and online for a more international audience, making a scholarly approach to the subject available to as wide an audience as possible.[9]


The library holds a collection of some 20,000 volumes received mainly by donation concentrating on the study of Hindu culture, religion, languages, literature, philosophy, arts and society. Areas of strength include Sanskrit grammar, poetics, philosophy, theology, comparative theology, and religions studies. The collection reached its present size with major donations from J. A. F. Roodbergen, Shaunaka Rishi Das, Hridayananda Dasa Goswami, and Tamal Krishna Goswami.[10]


Journal of Hindu Studies

Since 2008, the Centre has published the Journal of Hindu Studies in partnership with Oxford University Press. The Journal is fully refereed. The aim of the Journal is to create a forum for critical and constructive interdisciplinary discourse, exploring key questions and meta-issues relating to the developing field of Hindu Studies.

The Journal currently publishes three issues a year, one guest-edited and one open for submissions. The third issue usually publishes conference and panel papers. The first two issues are on the same broad annual theme. These themes focus on theoretical meta-issues that are relevant to all fields within Hindu Studies, linking scholars in interdisciplinary dialogue. Themes published to date include: Hermeneutics and Interpretation, Aesthetics and the Arts, and Reason and Rationality. The disciplines represented in the Journal presently include History, Philology, Literature and the Arts, Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology, Archaeology, and Religious Studies.[11]

Gavin Flood, is the Editor-in-Chief, Jessica Frazier, is the Managing Editor, and Rembert Lutjeharms, the Reviews Editor.

Hindu Studies Book Series

Publication from the Routledge/OCHS Hindu Studies Series

The OCHS Hindu Studies book series, has proven to be a successful association with Routledge, the publisher. The series publishes books covering areas of constructive Hindu theological, philosophical and ethical research which aims to bring Hindu traditions into dialogue with contemporary trends in scholarship and contemporary society. This includes annotated translations of important primary sources and studies in the history of the Hindu religious traditions. The series has attracted original, high quality, research level work on religion, culture and society of Hindus living in India and abroad. Such publishing opportunities are very helpful in promoting young scholars’ careers and in developing the broad field of Hindu Studies.

The Series Editor is the Centre's Academic Director, Professor Gavin Flood. The previous Series Editor was Professor Francis X. Clooney, SJ, Harvard University, USA, 2003–2005. Professor Clooney served as the Centre's Academic Director from 2002-2004.[12]

Online Lecture Library

The OCHS has an Online Library of hundreds of MP3 recordings of lectures and seminars.[13] Stretching from 2001 to the present and growing with each new term, the library ranges from introductory surveys of major Hindu themes, texts and traditions; single lectures on topics like Women in the Mahabharata or Poetry in the Vedas; discussions with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian Scholars, and seminars on Hindi Cinema.[14]


Research projects at OCHS fall under four general headings. The four broad areas are:[15] 1. Hinduism and modernity 2. Classical Hinduism 3. Comparative philosophy and religion 4. Historical perspectives on Hindu cultures

Current research projects


The OCHS has hosted a number of conferences and symposia characterised by their interdisciplinary approach. These gatherings have dealt with a wide range of topics including, the idea of Desire, Women in Hinduism, Philosophy, Archaeology, temple art and architecture, and Shakta. The largest conference, a Shivdasani conference, was held in Trinity College, in 2007, titled Archaeology and Text: The Temple in South Asia. The proceedings of this conference were published by Oxford University Press, in 2009.[16] The second Shivdasani Conference – Thinking Inside the Box: The Concept of a Category in Indian Philosophy– took place in 2009, at Somerville College.

Community research projects

Since 2001, the Centre has developed a number of community based research projects, listed below.

Hindu Youth Survey Report 2001

The British Hinduism Oral History Project

For the first time, the experiences of 300 first generation Hindus who settled in Britain were recorded, transcribed, given a web presence, and archived. This three-year project, launched at the Indian High Commission, London, in 2001, was funded by the Heritage Lottery Foundation.[17][18]

Hindu Youth Research Project

The Hindu Youth Research Project, conducted in 2001, is the first survey of its kind in the UK, developed with the assistance of the Hindu Youth Festival 2001. The results have served to make the concerns and experiences of young British Hindus known to government, media and the public.[19][20]

Digital Shikshapatri

This project provides online access to an important part of the British Hindu cultural heritage. The Shikshapatri manuscript is part of the Sanskrit manuscript collection of Oxford's Bodleian Library. The text was written by Shree Swaminarayan, founder of Swaminarayan Hinduism, and is a religious manual for daily life.[21] The project aimed at helping people of all backgrounds to better understand the significance of this popular manuscript. The project also proved to be a good example of how scholars and community members successfully worked together for a common goal.[22] The project was a collaborative venture between the OCHS, the Indian Institute Library, and the Refugee Studies Centre of Oxford University, was funded by The New Opportunities Fund, and lasted from 2001-2003.[23]

List of people associated with Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies


  1. "Dispatches & Reports - Dispatches & Reports - August - September 2006". Indialink Online. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
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  9. "News & Events – 'Understanding Hindu Identity' – Oxford Hinduism Course for BAPS Volunteers". Mandir.org. 2008-10-11. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
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  12. Timalsina, Sthaneshwar. "Hindu Studies Series (Book Series)". Routledge. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
  13. "University of Oxford Podcasts - Audio and Video Lectures". Podcasts.ox.ac.uk. 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
  14. Archived February 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. The OCHS Board of Governor's Report 2008-09, Oxford, 2009
  16. Editor, Himanshu Prabha Ray, Archaeology and Text: The Temple in South Asia, Oxford University Press, India 2009
  17. "Theology and Religious Studies - Faculty of Arts - University of Leeds". Leeds.ac.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
  18. Shalini Sharma, The Life of Hindus in Britain, IIAS Newsletter, Number 27, 2002
  19. Romila Santosh and Savita Vij, The Hindu Youth Research Project 2001, The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Oxford, 2003
  20. L.J. Francis, M. Robbins, S. Bhanot and R. Santosh, Measuring attitudes: the Santosh-Francis Scale of Attitude toward Hinduism, in S. Bhanot and R. Santosh (eds) The Hindu Youth Research Project 2001, Oxford, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, 2003, pp 41-51.
  21. Rae A. Earnshaw, John A. Vince, Digital convergence: libraries of the future, Springer-Verlag, London, 2008
  22. "Hindu Press International - Vegetarian Journal Poll: Americans 2.3 Percent Vegetarian - Hindu Press International - Hinduism Today Magazine". Hinduismtoday.com. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
  23. "ODL - Digital Initiatives at Oxford University". Odl.ox.ac.uk. 2004-02-23. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
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