Dr. Pankaj Jain is the author of Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities: Sustenance and Sustainability (May 2011, Jan 2016), which won the 2012 DANAM Book Award and the 2011 Uberoi Book Award, and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Philosophy & Religion. He has published articles in journals such as Religious Studies Review, Worldviews, Religion Compass, Journal of Vaishnava Studies, Union Seminary Quarterly Review, and the Journal of Visual Anthropology. He also contributes to the Huffington Post, Washington Post’s forum On Faith, Times of India’s Speaking Tree, and Patheos. Currently, he is working on his next books Jain Philosophy and Dharma and Science in India: Experiments with Sustainability and editing a volume Indian Philosophical Theories of Religion and Anthropology.
With the support from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, he is co-hosting an International Conference on Rural Sustainability on June 10th and 11th, 2016 at the University of North Texas.
His research has also been supported by a Fulbright Fellowship and Charn Uswachoke International Development Fund. His teaching interests include Religion and Ecology, Asian Diaspora, and Sustainability of Religious Communities in the United States. Interested in connecting ancient practices with contemporary issues, he is exploring the connections between religious traditions and sustainability in the USA and in India. He has helped two temples in the Dallas area to get grants from their energy company to help them make more sustainable and energy efficient. One of his graduate students has also designed an environmental curriculum for a Sunday School. He also co-leads the India Initiative Group at UNT.
Before joining UNT, he taught at North Carolina State University, Rutgers, Kean, and New Jersey City University. He serves as a research affiliate with Harvard University’s Pluralism Project, as scholar-in-residence with GreenFaith, as a board member of the Society for Hindu Christian Studies, as the India representative for the International Society for Environmental Ethics, as a consultant at UNT's Sustainable Communities Initiative, and as a board member of the Executive Advisory Council of Hindu American Seva Communities, an NGO working with the White House Office for the faith-based initiatives. He has presented his research at Columbia University, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, University of South Florida, Florida International University, University of Toledo, Texas Christian University, High Point University, Portland State University, University of Pittsburgh, Lancaster University (UK), Andhra University (India), Univ of Rajasthan (India), and several conferences, high schools, radio and TV stations, temples, churches, Yoga centers, and other community centers.
He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and an M.A. from Columbia University. In his “previous life” he had also earned a B.S. in Computer Science from India and had worked as a software engineer in India and in New Jersey. Dr. Jain is an active member of several academic and community organizations, is fluent in several Indian languages, and has published poems in Hindi. He was born in Rajasthan and had also lived in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Karnatak (in India) and in New Jersey, Iowa, North Carolina, and Texas (in the USA). Some of his papers and articles are at: http://unt.academia.edu/PankajJain/Papers and videos are at http://www.youtube.com/pj2017. The Facebook page for his book is at: https://www.facebook.com/DharmaAndEcology
2008 Ph.D., University of Iowa
2003 M.A., Columbia University
1992 B.S., Karnatak University
2011 Sustenance and Sustainability: Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities. Ashgate, London. (Reviewed in the Journal of Asian Studies, Journal of Dharma
Studies, Environmental Values, Food, Culture & Society, International Journal of Hindu Studies, Oxford Journal of Hindu Studies, Philosophy East & West,
Religious Studies Review, Sophia, and Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, & Ecology. Also reviewed in Asia Times).
Journal Articles and Book Chapters
2014 “Bovine Dharma: Nonhuman Animals and the Swadhyaya Parivar,” in Asian Perspectives on Animal Ethics: Rethinking the Nonhuman, edited by Neil Dalal and Chloe Taylor. London, England: Routledge.
2013 “Earth, Water, and Dharmic Ecology: Perspectives from the Svadhyaya Practitioners,” in Classical and Contemporary Issues in Indian Studies: Essays in Honour of Trichur S. Rukmani, edited by Pratap Penumala and Jonathan Duquette. New Delhi: DK Printworld, pp. 343-359.
2011 “From Padosi to My Name is Khan: Portrayal of Hindu Muslim Relations in South Asian Films” in Journal of Visual Anthropology, 24.1.
2011 “Such a Long Journey: Portrayal of Parsi Community in Films” in Journal of Visual Anthropology, 24.1.
2010 “Bishnoi: An Eco-Theological “New Religious Movement” in the Indian Desert” in Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 19.1.
2010 “Virtue Ethics of Boot Polish and Dosti vis-à-vis Slumdog Millionaire” in Journal of Visual Anthropology, 23.1, pp. 44-50.
2010 “From Kil-Arni to Anthony: Portrayal of Christians in Indian Films” in Journal of Visual Anthropology, 23.1, pp. 13-19.
2010 “Renunciation and Non-renunciation in Indian Films” in Religion Compass, 4(3), pp 157-165.
2014 “Youth Led Environmental Awareness: Initiatives towards a Jain Faith Community Empowerment,” presented at the Society of Applied Anthropology, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
2013 “Ethnobiology of Hindu Communities in India,” presented at the Annual Conference of the Society of Ethnobiology at the University of North Texas, Denton.
2013 “Sustainable Development in the Himalayas: The HESCO Way,” presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Denver, CO.
2011 “Hinduism and the Environment,” presented at the Conference Energizing Dharmic Seva: Impacting Change in America and Abroad, organized by Hindu American Seva Communities at the White House and Georgetown University, Washington DC.
2010 November "How can we cut god's trees?: Sacred Groves in Bhil Villages" Annual Conference of the American Academy of Religion, Atlanta
2009 November “Treetemples of Swadhyaya” Annual Conference of the American Academy of Religion Religion, Montreal, Canada
2009 November Panel Chair: “South Asian Religions in Transformation” Annual Conference of the American Academy of Religion, Montreal, Canada
2009 November “Contemporary Films and Indian Aesthetic Theories” Annual Conference of e
American Academy of Religion, Montreal, Canada
2008 November “Dharma, Religion, and Environmental Ethics” Annual Conference of the American Academy of Religion, Chicago
2008 June “Dharma and Ecology of Indian communities” Annual Meeting of the American Oriental Society, Chicago