- Carthage College
James Lochtefeld specializes in Hindu pilgrimage. His dissertation research focused on the north Indian pilgrimage city of Hardwar; the dissertation draws on Sanskrit texts, archival documents, and field research to lay out a comprehensive picture of this vibrant, vital town. It was published by Oxford University Press in December 2009 under the title God’s Gateway.
In addition to the Hindu tradition, Professor Lochtefeld teaches courses on Indian religion and society, the Buddhist tradition, the Sikh tradition, East Asian religion, Sanskrit and Hindi. He has led J-Term classes to India since 1999. In both his research and his teaching, he seeks to explore the intersection of religious history, tradition and practice.
Among his awards are three years as a President’s Fellow at Columbia University, the Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship (the most prestigious award for dissertations in religion and ethics), and a Senior Research Fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies. Professor Lochtefeld has also served as a board member and board chair for ASIANetwork, a consortium promoting Asian studies at more than 200 member institutions. He earned his B.A. from Colgate University, M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, M.A. from the University of Washington, and his M. Phil. and Ph.D. from Columbia University.
He came to Carthage in 1992.
James Lochtefeld, a faculty member since 1992, specializes in Hindu pilgrimage. In addition to the Hindu tradition, Professor Lochtefeld teaches courses on Indian religion and society, the Buddhist tradition, the Sikh tradition, East Asian religion, Sanskrit and Hindi.
Chair, Religion Department; Professor of Religion and Asian Studies
- Ph.D., M. Phil. — Columbia University
- M.A. — University of Washington
- M.T.S. — Harvard Divinity School
- B.A. — Colgate University
- REL 1000 Understandings of Religion
- REL 3110 Hinduism
- REL 3120 Islam
- REL 3130 Buddhism
- REL 3140 East Asian Religion
- REL 3360 Religion and Society in Modern India
- Pandas/Pilgrimage Priests.” Oxford Bibliographies Online. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.
- Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Volume V: article on “Haridwar.” Refereed publication, 2016.
- Springer’s Encyclopedia of India Religions, Hinduism Volume (Arvind Sharma, General Editor): article on “Kumbha Mela.” Refereed publication, 2013.
- Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Volume IV: article on “Tourism.” Refereed publication, 2012.
- Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Volume III: article on “Pandas.” Refereed publication, 2011.
- “Hindu Pilgrimage,” Oxford Bibliographies Online. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010 God’s Gateway: Identity and Meaning in a Hindu Pilgrimage Place, New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
- “Getting in Line: The Kumbha Mela Processions.” In Knut Axel Jacobsen (ed.), South Asian Religions on Display: Religious Processions in South Asia and the Diaspora. New York: Routledge South Asian Religion Series, 2008: 29-44.
- “The Saintly Chamar: Perspectives on the Life of Ravidas.” In Eleanor Zelliot and Rohini Mokashi-Punekar (eds.), Untouchable Saints, 201-20. Delhi: Manohar Press, 2005.
- “The Construction of the Kumbha Mela,” South Asian Popular Culture, vol. 2 no. 2, (October 2004): 103-26.
- “Tirtha” (Hindu pilgrimage sites), co-written with Prof. S.M. Bhardwaj (Bowling Green State University).
- In Gene Thursby and Sushil Mittal, eds., The Hindu World, 478-501. New York: Routledge, 2004.
- The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism. One work in two volumes. New York: Rosen Publishing, 2001.
- “Kumbh Mela,” subject entry in Encyclopedia of World Religions. Springfield: Merriam Webster Inc. 1999h.
- “New Wine, Old Skins: The Sangh Parivar and the Transformation of Hinduism,” Religion 26 (1996): 102-17.
- “The Vishva Hindu Parishad And The Roots Of Hindu Militancy,” JAAR LXII 2 (Summer 1994): 1301-16.
Presentations and Performances
- April 2019: “Parsing the Himalaya: Insights from GIS” as part of the panel “The Incorporation of Digital Humanities into Asian Studies at Carthage College.” ASIANetwork Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA April
- 2018: Organized and presided at “Taking Students “Into The Field”: Promoting Mindful Travel” at the ASIANetwork Annual Meeting, Philadelphia.
- June 2016: “Pilgrim Tourism in the Garhwal Himalaya.” Delivered as part the panel “Hindu Pilgrimage and Tourism.” European Academy for the Study of Religion (EASR) Annual Meeting, Helsinki.
- March 2016: “Sacred Networks in the Ganga Himalaya.” Delivered as part of “Map and Territory” in Asian Religious Imagination.” ASIANetwork Annual Meeting, St. Petersburg, FL
- April 2015: Presided at “ANFEP: India Summer 2014 Program,” a panel discussion of the 2014 iteration of a Mellon-funded ASIANetwork Faculty Development Project; ASIANETWORK annual Meeting, St. Louis, MO
- March 2015: Discussant for “Constructing Sacred Landscapes in the Himalayas,” AAS Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL
- October 2013: “Pilgrimage in Uttarakhand: The End of an Era.” Invited lecture at St. Olaf College, Northfield MN.
- April 2013: “Guru Gobind Singh at Nanded: Reflections on Sikh Identity and Community.” Invited Paper for Belmont University’s Asian Symposium (Nashville TN).
- March 2012: Organized and chaired “Pilgrimage Networks in Asia” (ASIANetwork annual Meeting, Portland, Oregon); presented “Pilgrimages and Sikh Identity in North India.”
- 2010: Invited Respondent for a panel on Garhwal Himalaya. AAR Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA.
- April 2010: “Envisioning and Re-Envisioning The Himalayas.” ASIANetwork annual meeting (Atlanta, GA).
- March 2008: “Imagined Landscapes: Space and Place in the Haridvaramahatmya.” Invited Paper for the “Ocean of Devotion” Symposium run by the Center for the Study of Hindu Traditions (Gainesville, FL).
- March 2008: “What’s So Special about Me? The Role of the Specialist in General Education.” Invited Paper, ASIANetwork annual meeting (San Antonio, TX).
- April 2006: “Experiencing Other Cultures: Travel to Asia.” ASIANetwork Annual Meeting (Lisle IL); panel discussant.
- August 2005: “Shinran and Tulsidas: Mystery and the Workings of Grace,” delivered as part of The Shin Buddhist Path in Global and Comparative Perspectives, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY. Invited Presentation.
- February 2003: “The Construction of the Kumbha Mela,” lecture delivered to the South Asia Seminar at the University of Iowa (Iowa City).
- November 2002: Invited Panelist at “Kumbha Mela: Where the Sacred Meets the Profane,” AAR/SBL Annual Meeting, Toronto.
- November 2001: Invited panelist to discuss the film “Poverty, Politics, and Religion: The Plight of India’s Poor,” which was arranged by the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies; AAR/SBL Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado.
- April 2001: “Distance Learning at the Cleveland Museum of Art,” panel discussant at the ASIANetwork annual meeting, Cleveland, OH. Invited Presentation.
- April 2000: “The Web and Teaching,” a paper presented at the ASIANetwork annual meeting, Lisle IL. Invited Presentation.
- 1999: “Hindu Nationalism,” a paper presented at Earth and Fire: Nationalism and Society in South Asia, a symposium on India organized by the Heritage Studies Program of Carthage College (I also played a primary role in organizing this symposium).
- 1998 “Tirthas and Tourism: From Bliss to Babylon?” Paper presented at the AAR/SBL annual meeting, Orlando FL. Invited Presentation.
- 1997 Planned, organized, and presided over “South Asia in the Asian Mosaic,” at the 1997 ASIANetwork annual meeting, Manchester Vermont. The panel was composed at the express request of the president of the ASIANetwork.
- 1996 Panel member in “Learning From Our Religious Pluralism: An Alumni Symposium on the Religious Traditions of Asia,” sponsored by the Department of Religion at Colgate University, Hamilton, NY. Invited presentation.
- 1996 “The Transformation of Haridwar.” Address to the Ranipur branch of Rotary International, Ranipur (India). Invited Presentation.
- 1995 Panel member in “Getting Started: Asian Studies From the Ground Up,” a panel discussion at the ASIANetwork annual meeting, St. Petersburg, FL. Invited presentation.
- 1993 Organized and participated in “From Sanatana Dharma to Hindutva: Hindu Voices Describing Hindu Identity in the 19th and 20th centuries” at the AAR/SBL Annual Meeting, Washington D.C. Paper was “New Wine, Old Skins: The Vishva Hindu Parishad and the Transformation of Hinduism.”
- 1992 “Water For Lord Shiva: Hope Upon Hope.” AAR/SBL Upper Midwest Regional Meeting, St. Paul, MN. Invited Presentation.
- 1991 “Continuity and Change in a Hindu Pilgrimage Center: The Evidence of The Mayapurimahatmya.” AAR/SBL Annual Meeting, Kansas City, MO. Invited Presentation.
- 1991 Organized, presided, and participated in “Liquid Assets and Liabilities: Hindu Perspectives on the Management of Fluids,” at the AAR/SBL Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting, New York, NY. Paper presented was “Bringing Home The Ganges: Bhagirath Revisited.”
- 1988 “Reflected Splendor: The Regional Appropriation of `All-India’ Tirthas.” New York Conference on Asian Studies, Albany, NY. Invited Presentation.
What students say
“James Lochtefeld completely opened my mind to the religions and cultures of the world. He approached the material in an objective way, making it possible to learn about and understand world religions in a completely expert but unbiased way.”
— Molly Dupuis ’13