Michael J. Altman

Religious Studies | Theory | History

Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu: American Representations of India, 1721-1893
Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu: American Representations of India, 1721-1893

About Me

I write about the history of the category “religion” in modernity. Yea, that’s broad. More specifically, my research is focused on the history of religion in America. I recently published Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu: American Representations of India, 1721-1893, a book about how Americans imagined and represented “religion” in India. I argue that American arguments about India “over there” were really ways to argue about religion at home. I’ve also written articles and book chapters about Asian religions in America, theory in religious studies, and podcasts.

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama. I teach courses on religion in America, colonialism, and digital humanities. You can find out more about that on my faculty page.

I’m currently working on two research projects. First, I’m writing a cultural history of Mohandas Gandhi in America. Rather than a typical biography, this book analyzes the way Gandhi has been represented in American culture. There have been multiple Gandhis in the American imagination deployed for a variety of reasons. Second, I’m working on a very meta-level genealogy of the connections between American Religious history, Christianity, liberal political philosophy, and the English Civil War. I’m getting really into the English Civil War.

I used to have a blog at michaeljaltman.net too.

My Courses

REL 241: American Religious History
How has the category religion functioned in American history? This introductory level course explor...
REL 351: Asian Religions in America
How have Americans imagined Asian religions and how have Asian religions traveled to America? This ...

News & Events

Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu Book Forum at The Immanent Frame
December 4, 2017
The wonderful folks at The Immanent Frame are hosting a forum of responses to Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu from a great panel of scholars. So far my introduction
Interview with Religion & Politics about Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu
October 2, 2017
Over at Religion & Politics I was happy to do an interview with Eric C. Miller about Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu. Eric had great questions and it gave me a c
Bulletin Book Review of Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu
September 19, 2017
Over at the Bulletin for the Study of Religion, Andrew Kunze has an engaging review of Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu. Here's a bit of it: Michael Altman’s Heathen, Hi
New Books in Religion Interview About ‘Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu’
September 12, 2017
I had the pleasure of talking with Kristian Petersen of New Books in Religion about Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu. Listen to the interview on the NBR website or find N

Contact ME

  • Box 870264 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
  • 205-348-7223
  • michael.altman@ua.edu