John Stratton Hawley headshot

John Stratton Hawley

Claire Tow Professor of Religion




219A Milbank


Jack Hawley joined Barnard's faculty in 1986. His research is focused on the religious life of north India and on the literature that it has spawned in the course of the last 500 years. He is the author or editor of some twenty-five books. Most concern Hinduism and the religions of India, but others are broadly comparative. Recent publications include A STORM OF SONGS: INDIA AND THE IDEA OF THE BHAKTI MOVEMENT and, with Kenneth E. Bryant, SUR’S OCEAN: POEMS FROM THE EARLY TRADITION (both Harvard University Press, 2015). Each won an award from the Association for Asian Studies. A poem-by-poem commentary on verse found in SUR’S OCEAN, with an extensive introduction, is INTO SUR’S OCEAN: POETRY, CONTEXT, AND COMMENTARY (Harvard Oriental Series, 2016). A shortened paperback version is SUR’S OCEAN: CLASSIC HINDI POETRY IN TRANSLATION (Harvard, 2023). With the publication of a revised and expanded version of SURDAS: POET, SINGER, SAINT (Primus Books, 2018), Hawley has been following Surdas and his poetry into the realm of manuscript illustration. As for the present day, KRISHNA’S PLAYGROUND: VRINDAVAN IN THE 21ST CENTURY appeared from Oxford University Press in January 2020 and has been translated into Hindi (Rajkamal Prakashan, 2023).

Jack Hawley has served as director of Columbia University's South Asia Institute and has received multiple awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian, and the American Institute of Indian Studies. He has also been a Guggenheim Fellow, and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2016-17 he was a Fulbright-Nehru Fellow principally resident in Vrindavan, not far from Delhi. In 2023-24 he holds a senior fellowship of the American Institute of Indian Studies.

For more information, including a full list of publications and descriptions of courses he has taught, visit

  • Ph.D., Harvard University
  • M.Div., Union Theological Seminary
  • A.B., Amherst College

  • Hinduism in north India
  • Religious literature in Brajbhasa/Hindi
  • Religion in New York
  • Poetry and Painting

  • Religion and Climate Crisis: India
  • World Religions
  • Hinduism
  • Love, Translated:  Hindu Bhakti
  • Krishna
  • Religious Worlds of New York (with Courtney Bender)
  • The Bhakti Movement
  • Colloquium on Comparative Religion
  • Bhakti Texts
  • Religion vs. the Academy
  • Hinduism Here

  • Distinguished Achievement Award for Outstanding Scholarship, South Asian Literary Association (2019)
  • Col. James Tod Award of the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Trust (2018)
  • A. K. Ramanujan Book Prize for Translation of the Association for Asian Studies, for Sur’s Ocean(with Kenneth E. Bryant, 2018)
  • Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize of the Association for Asian Studies, for A Storm of Songs (2017)
  • Fulbright-Nehru Senior Fellowship (2016-17)
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2013-)
  • Barnard College Commendation for Excellence in Teaching (2013)
  • American Society for the Study of Religion (1992-)
  • John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (1985)

Krishna's PlaygroundVrindavan in the 21st Century (Oxford, 2020).

Bhakti and Power: Debating India’s Religion of the Heart (co-editor, University of Washington, 2019)

Bhakti ke Tīn Svar: Mīrā, Sūr, Kabīr (in Hindi, Rajkamal Prakashan, 2019)

Sūrdās: Poet, Singer, Saint, rev. ed. (Primus Books, 2018)

Text and Tradition in Early Modern North India (co-editor, Oxford, 2018)

Into Sur’s Ocean:  Poetry, Context, and Commentary (Harvard, 2016)
A Storm of Songs:  India and Idea of the Bhakti Movement (Harvard, 2015).
Sur’s Ocean:  Poems from the Early Tradition (with Kenneth E. Bryant; Harvard, 2015).

In The News

Read about the latest grants awarded to Barnard professors.

February 11, 2021

In this Q&A, Claire Tow Professor of Religion Jack Hawley — unofficially named an honorary citizen of the Braj region of North India earlier this year — discusses his interests in India’s religious and cultural landscape. 

August 14, 2019