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Diana L. Eck    

Professor of Comparative Religion & Indian Studies

She is also a member of the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, as well as the Faculty of Divinity. She received her B.A. from Smith College (1967) in Religion, her M.A. from the School of Oriental and African Studies from the University of London (1968) in South Asian History, and her Ph.D. from Harvard University (1976) in the Comparative Study of Religion. Eck and her partner, Dorothy Austin, are currently serving as Masters of Lowell House at Harvard.

Eck's work on India includes the books Banaras, City of Light and Darsan: Seeing the Divine Image in India. With Devaki Jain she edited Speaking of Faith: Global Perspectives on Women, Religion and Social Change, a book which emerged from a jointly planned interfaith women's conference. With Fran‡oise Mallison, she edited Devotion Divine: Bhakti Traditions from the Regions of India, essays honoring the French Indology scholar Charlotte Vaudeville.

Eck's book, Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras, studies the question of religious difference in the context of Christian theology and the comparative study of religion. It addresses issues of Christian faith in a world of many faiths and, more broadly, the issues of religious diversity that challenge people of every faith.

Since 1991, Eck has been heading a research team at Harvard University to explore the new religious diversity of the United States and its meaning for the American pluralist experiment. The Pluralism Project, funded by the Lilly Endowment, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation has been documenting the growing presence of Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Zoroastrian communities in the U.S. This research project has involved students and professors in "hometown" research on America's new religious landscape. In 1994, Eck and the Pluralism Project published World Religions in Boston: A Guide to Communities and Resources, which introduces the religious traditions and communities of Boston-from Native Americans, Christians and Jews to Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Zoroastrians. The Pluralism Project's interactive CD-ROM, On Common Ground: World Religions in America, a multimedia introduction to the world's religions in the American context, was published in 1997. It has won major awards from Media & Methods. Eck's new book, A New Religious America, addresses the challenges for the U.S. of the new religious diversity that is now ours.

In 1996, Eck was appointed to a State Department Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad, a twenty-member commission charged with advising the Secretary of State on enhancing and protecting religious freedom in the overall context of human rights. In 1998, Eck received the National Humanities Medal from President Clinton and the National Endowment for the Humanities on American religious pluralism.

Speech Topics

Religious Diversity in America

Speaking of Faith: Global Perspectives on Women, Religion, and Social Change

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