Dr. Pankaj Jain
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
(940) 369-6980
Faculty Profile

Dr. Pankaj Jain is the author of Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities: Sustenance and Sustainability (May 2011), 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 Studies. 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 a monograph on Dharma and Science, a monograph on Visual Anthropology of Hinduism, andediting a volume on Asian Philosophies for the Study of Religion and Anthropology.
jain fieldworkHis research, supported by a Fulbright Fellowship in 2012, and teaching interests include Religion and Ecology, Indian films, and Religions and Cultures of South Asia and South Asian Diaspora in North America. Before joining UNT, he taught at North Carolina State University, Rutgers, Kean, and New Jersey City University. Interested in connecting ancient practices with contemporary issues, he is exploring the connections between religious traditions and sustainability in Hindu and Jain communities in India and the Indian diaspora. He serves as a research affiliate with Harvard University’s Pluralism Project, as a trustee for the American Institute of India Studies, as a board member for the DANAM, 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, 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, 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 (both in Religious Studies). 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., Religious Studies, University of Iowa

2003 M.A., Religious Studies, Columbia University

1992 B.S., Computer Science, Karnatak University

Selected Publications


2011 Sustenance and Sustainability: Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities. Ashgate, London.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

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.

2011 “How Can We Cut the Trees of our God?: Sacred Groves of Bhils” in Numen: International Review for the History of Religions, 58.1.

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.

Selected Presentations

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


How do we Define Living a Hindu Life