Christian Lee Novetzke

Christian Novetzke



Christian Lee Novetzke is Professor in the South Asia Program, the Comparative Religion Program, and the International Studies Program at the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies. He is also Professor in the Comparative History of Ideas department. He teaches and writes about religion, history, and culture in South Asia, as well as theoretical issues in the study of religion in general and its intersection with historiography, publics, texts, performance, film, and politics. His work engages public ethics in relation to caste, gender, and power in the past and present. He works with Marathi and Hindi materials, including textual, ethnographic, and visual/filmic sources. He specializes in the study of Maharashtra from the second millennium CE to the present, ranging from the medieval period, through the colonial and modern periods, to the postcolonial era. Professor Novetzke’s first book, Religion and Public Memory (Columbia University Press 2008) won the American Academy of Religion’s award “The Best First Book in the History of Religions” in 2009. The book has been published in India under the title History, Bhakti, and Public Memory by Permanent Black. His second book, co-authored with William Elison and Andy Rotman, is Amar Akbar Anthony:  Bollywood, Brotherhood, and the Nation, published by Harvard University Press in 2016.  His third book, solo authored, is The Quotidian Revolution: Vernacularization, Religion, and the Premodern Public Sphere in India, published by Columbia University Press, 2016. His edited the volume Bhakti and Power: Debating India’s Religion of the Heart (University of Washington Press, 2019) with Jack Hawley and Swapna Sharma. Novetzke has written several articles with Professor Sunila S. Kale on yoga as a form of politics, and they are currently completing a book for Columbia University Press on yoga as a political concept.  In addition, Novetzke is working on a project on the political poetry and thought of Savitribai Phule.


  • Columbia University, Ph.D. Religious Studies, 2003
  • Harvard University, M.T.S. Religious Studies, 1996
  • Macalester College, B.A. Asian Philosophy and English, with honors, 1993
  • Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, Pune, India, Certificate in Marathi Language and Culture, 1991

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