Graduate Program Director
South Asian Religions
Office: Wingate 311
Jarrod Whitaker is an Associate Professor in the Department for the Study of Religions at Wake Forest University, where he teaches courses relating to Asian Religions, especially Hinduism and Buddhism, and also theory and method courses on religion, ritual, and gender. He is the Director of the Department’s M.A. Program in Religious Studies, and is also a faculty member of the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. He holds a M.A. with First Class Honors in Religious Studies from The University of Canterbury, New Zealand (1998), and a Ph.D. in Asian Cultures and Languages from The University of Texas at Austin (2005). He is the author of many articles on ancient India, and also the monograph Strong Arms and Drinking Strength: Masculinity, Violence, and the Body in the Ancient India (Oxford University Press, 2011).
B.A. The University of Canterbury, New Zealand
M.A. The University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Ph. D. The University of Texas at Austin
1999-2005 Ph.D., Asian Cultures and Languages, Dept. of Asian Studies, University of Texas at Austin. Dissertation: Drinking Status, Wearing Duty: Magic, Power, and Warrior Ethics in Ancient India.
1995-1997 M.A. with First Class Honors in Religious Studies, University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Thesis: Divya Astras (Divine Weapons) and Tejas (Fiery Energy) in the Mahabharata and Ramayana.
1990-1994 B.A., in Religious Studies, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
Strong Arms and Drinking Strength: Masculinity, Violence, and the Body in Ancient India (Oxford University Press, 2011).
“Heroism, Military Violence, and the State in Ancient India.” In Linda Fibiger, Garrett G. Fagan and Mark Hudson, eds., The Cambridge World History of Violence (anticipated 2017).
“Masculinity and Violence in the R̥gveda: Defining the Roles of nár, vīrá, and śū́ra.” In Theodore N. Proferes & Joel P. Brereton, eds., Selected Papers from the 13th World Sanskrit Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland, July 2006.
“Warfare in Ancient India.” In Meissner, Raaflaub, Schmitt, & Yates, eds. The Cambridge History of War, Volume One: War and the Ancient World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
“Numbers, Names, Trails, and Tradition: Reconsidering the Phrase ‘Thrice Seven’ in the R̥gveda and Atharvaveda.” Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 136, no.4 (2016): 689-704.
“What Makes Indra Indra? On indriyá in the Rgveda.” In Joel P. Brereton, ed., The Vedas in Indian Culture and History: Proceedings of the Fourth International Vedic Workshop (Austin, Texas 2007) (Florence, Italy: Società Editrice Fiorentina, 2016): 221-242.
“Rig Veda.” Oxford Bibliographies — Hinduism: http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/obo/page/hinduism (August 30, 2016).
“‘I Boldly Took the Mace (Vájra) for Might’: Ritually Weaponizing a Warrior’s Body in Ancient India.” International Journal of Hindu Studies, vol. 20, no. 1 (April 2016; Online Oct 31, 2015): 51-94.
“Who Gets to Live Forever in Ancient India? Rethinking ayus (“life”) in the Rgveda.” In Steven E. Lindquist, ed., Religion and Identity in South Asia and Beyond: Essays in Honor of Patrick Olivelle (New York, London, Delhi: Anthem Press, 2011): 41-68.
“Empowering Men Ritually in Ancient India.” In: Michael Axels, ed. et al, Ritual Dynamics and the Science of Ritual, Volume III: State, Power, and Violence (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2010): 47-54.
Translation: Paul Horsch. “From Creation Myth to World Law: the Early History of Dharma.” Reprinted in Patrick Olivelle, ed., Dharma: Studies in its Semantic, Cultural and Religious History (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2009): 1-26.
“Does Pressing Soma Make You an Aryan? A Brief Review of sushvi– and asushvi– in the Rgveda.” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, vol.157.2: 417-426.
“Ritual Power, Social Prestige, and Amulets (mani) in the Atharvaveda.” In A. Griffiths & J.E.M. Houben, eds., The Vedas: Texts, Language, & Ritual. Proceedings of the Third International Vedic Workshop, Leiden 2002 (Groningen: Egbert Forsten): 565-580.
“Hinduism, Classical.” In Palmer-Fernandez, G., ed., Encyclopedia of Religion and War, 1st ed. (New York: Berkshire/Routledge): 161-165.
“Hinduism, Vedic.” In Fernandez, ed., Encyclopedia of Religion and War: 170-174.
Translation: Paul Horsch. “From Creation Myth to World Law: the Early History of Dharma.” Special Edition of Journal of Indian Philosophy, Patrick Olivelle, ed., Vol. 32, Issue 5 (December): 423-448. Originally Paul Horsch (Universität Zürich), “Vom Schöpfungsmythos zum Weltgesetz.” Asiatische Studien: Zeitschrift der Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Asiankunde, vol.21 (Francke: 1967): 31-61.
“How the Gods Kill: The Narayana Astra Episode, the Death of Ravana, and the Principles of Tejas in the Indian Epics.” Journal of Indian Philosophy, vol.30, no.4: 403-430.
“Divine Weapons and Tejas in the Two Indian Epics.” Indo-Iranian Journal, vol.43, no.2: 87-113.
“Micheals, Axel. Homo Ritualis: Hindu Ritual and Its Significance for Ritual Theory. Oxford University Press, 2016. 372+xviii pages. ISBN 978 0 190262 63 1.” History of Religions.
“Grimes, Ronald L. The Craft of Ritual Studies. Oxford University Press, 2014. 414+xviii pages.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion (JAAR): 1189-1192.
“Galewicz, Cezary, A Commentator in Service of the Empire: Sāyaṇa and the Royal Project of Commenting on the Whole of the Veda. Publications of the de Nobili Research Library, vol.35, 327 pp. Vienna: 2010 [2009?]. €39. ISBN 978 3 900271 41 1.” Bulletin for the School of Oriental and African Studies.
“Jerryson, Michael K. and Mark Juergensmeyer, Buddhist Warfare (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010): pp.257.” Practical Matters Journal: Initiative in Religious Practices & Practical Theology (Emory University).
“Powers, John, A Bull of a Man: Images of Masculinity, Sex, and the Body in Indian Buddhism (Cambridge, Massachusetts; London, England: Harvard University Press, 2009).” Indo-Iranian Journal, vol.53, no.1: 165-169.
“Proferes, Theodore N., Vedic Ideals of Sovereignty and the Poetics of Power (New Haven, Connecticut: American Oriental Society [American Oriental Series 90], 2007).” Indo-Iranian Journal, vol.51, no.2 (June): 209–212.
Self, Sacrifice and Cosmos—Late Vedic Thought, Ritual, and Philosophy: Conference in Honor of Dr. Ganesh Umakant Thite’s Contribution to Vedic Studies. Institute for South Asia Studies, University of California, Berkeley. September 24, 2016. “Sexuality, Parentage, and Violence in Early Vedic Poetry.”
The Cambridge World History of Violence. University of Notre Dame, Rome Global Gateway, Rome, Italy. June 20-22, 2016. “Military Violence in Vedic and Epic India.”
226th Meeting of the American Oriental Society, Boston, MA, March 18-21 2016. “Bleeding for Heaven: On the Complex Martial Messages of Mahābhārata 12.96-104.”
American Academy of Religion Conference, Atlanta, GA, Co-Chaired Panel on the future of Stand Alone M.A. Programs in Religious Studies, Nov. 23.
225th Meeting of the American Oriental Society, New Orleans, LA, March 13-16, 2015. “Myth, Ritual, and Tradition: Identifying the ‘Thrice-Seven’ (triṣaptāḥ) in AVŚ.1.1.1.”
224th Meeting of the American Oriental Society, Phoenix, AZ, March 14–17, 2014. “Against Magic: Rethinking rákṣas, yātudhā́na, and abhicāra in the R̥gveda and Atharvāṅgirasa.”
6th International Vedic Workshop, Kozhikode, Kerala State, India, 7th–10th, January, 2014. “Words as Weapons/Weaponizing Words: AVŚ.1.1, R̥V.6.75, and the Development of the Vedic Priesthood.”
222th Meeting of the American Oriental Society, Boston, MA. “Embodying the Metaphysics of War
in Ancient India.”
American Academy of Religion Conference, San Francisco, CA., Participated in AAR Panel on Stand Alone M.A. Programs in Religion, Nov.19.
Symposium on South Asian Masculinities, University of Miami, Ohio, April 30th. Agni as “Best Man among Men”: Fire Worship, Manhood, and Kin Relations in the Rgveda.
American Academy of Religion, Panel on Weaponry and Violence in South Asian Religions, “‘I Took the Bold Mace for Might.’ Ritually Making the Body into a Weapon in Ancient India.”
2nd National Australian Sanskrit Conference, Canberra, Australia, “Who’s Listening to the Rgveda and What Are They Hearing?”
220th Meeting of the American Oriental Society, St. Louis, MO. “Encoding and Decoding the Rgveda.”
Sept. 14th World Sanskrit Conference, Kyoto, Japan, September 1-5, 2009. “Empowering Men Ritually in Ancient India.”
Sept-Oct. Ritual Dynamics and the Science of Ritual Conference, Heidelberg, Germany. “On Strong-Arms and Drinking Strength: Masculinity, Violence, and the Body in the Rgveda.”
March. 218th Meeting of the American Oriental Society, Chicago, IL. “On Indra’s Body.”
May. The Fourth International Vedic Workshop: The Vedas in Culture and History, Austin, TX: “Indrahood (indriyá) and the Human Indra.”
Mar. 217th Meeting of the American Oriental Society, San Antonio, TX: “Who Gets to Live Forever in Ancient India? Rethinking ayus (“lifetime”) in the Rgveda and Atharvaveda 1.35.”
November. New England Conference of the Association for Asian Studies: Magical Practice and Magical Thinking in Asian Culture: “Who Gets to Live Forever in Ancient India? Rethinking ayus (“life”) in the Rgveda.” Read In Absentia.
July. 13th World Sanskrit Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland: “Masculinity and Violence in the Rgveda: Reconsidering the roles of nar, vira, and shura.”
March. 216th Meeting of the American Oriental Society, Seattle, WA: “How Exactly is the Dragon Killed? The Importance of shávas in the Rgveda.”
March. 214th Meeting of the American Oriental Society, San Diego, California: “Drinking Status, Wearing Duty: Reconsidering ójas, “authority”, in the Rgveda and Atharvaveda.”
October. Asian Studies Graduate Conference, University of Texas at Austin: “Ritual Power and Social Prestige in Atharvavedic Magical Thought.”
June. 3rd International Vedic Workshop, Leiden, Netherlands: “Ritual Metaphysics vs. Ritual Performance: An Account of Magic in the Atharvaveda.”
March. 212th Meeting of the American Oriental Society, Houston, Texas: “Ritual Metaphysics and Ontology vs. Ritual Performance: An Account of Magic in the Atharvaveda.”
September. University of Texas at Austin History Dept. Conference on Violence: “The Tension Between Warrior and Kingly Battle Ethics in the Mahabharata.”
August. The Biannual Australia and New Zealand Religious Studies Conference: “The Principles of the Divine Weapons (Divya Astras) and Fiery Energy (Tejas) in India’s Two Epics.”
REL 101: Introduction to Religion
REL 104: Introduction to Asian Religions
REL 108: Introduction to Hindu Traditions
REL 109: Introduction to Buddhist Traditions
REL 200/300: Approaches to the Study of Religion
REL 286: Ancient Indian Religion and Culture
REL 286: Upaniṣads and Urbanization in Ancient India
REL 306/606: Ritual Studies
REL 386/686: The Indian Epics: The Mahābharata
REL 387/687: Magic, Ritual, and Power in Indian Culture
REL 387/687: Priests, Warriors, & Ascetics in Ancient India
REL 390: Hindu Religious Traditions
REL 390: Ritual, Symbolism, and Power in Europe
REL 390/701/702: Special Topics in Religion: Sanskrit I & II
SKT 111-112: Introduction to Sanskrit
REL 700: Method and Theory in the Study of Religion
REL 703: Postmodern Perspectives on Power, Symbolism, & Performance
WGS 221/622: Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (co-taught)