Bart Scott

J. Barton Scott

Associate Professor & Faculty Fellow, Jackman Humanities Institute, 2023-2024
Historical Studies - History of Religions
  • Room:
    MN 4278
  • Office Hours:
    Please refer to the syllabus and/or contact via email.
  • Mailing Address:

    3359 Mississauga Road, Maanjiwe nendamowinan, 4th Floor
    Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6


J. Barton Scott works on the global intellectual and cultural history of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with a focus on South Asia and its transnational connections. He teaches courses on social and cultural theory, media and material religion, and religion in political thought. He is the author of Spiritual Despots: Modern Hinduism and the Genealogies of Self-Rule (University of Chicago/Primus) and Slandering the Sacred: Blasphemy Law and Religious Affect in Colonial India (University of Chicago/Permanent Black), and the co-editor of Imagining the Public in Modern South Asia (Routledge). He is currently working on a book called The Piercing Virtue: Isherwood's Guru in Adorno's Los Angeles, which takes the unlikely friendship between a British novelist and a Bengali monk as the starting point for a theoretically-inflected inquiry into global guru culture—into renunciation as piercing virtue—at mid-twentieth century.


Ph.D. Duke University 
B.A. Swarthmore College


  • The Piercing Virtue: Isherwood's Guru in Adorno's Los Angeles (in progress)
  • Slandering the Sacred: Blasphemy Law and Religious Affect in Colonial India (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2023, in the "Class 200: New Studies in Religion" series; Delhi: Permanent Black, 2024, in the "Hedgehog and Fox: History and Politics" series, co-published with Ashoka University)
  • Spiritual Despots: Modern Hinduism and the Genealogies of Self-Rule (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016, in the "South Asia Across the Disciplines" series co-published with Columbia University and University of California Presses; Delhi: Primus Books, 2017)
    • Sole Honorable Mention for the American Comparative Literature Association's Harry Levin Prize for an Outstanding First Book
  • Imagining the Public in Modern South Asia. Co-edited with Brannon Ingram and SherAli Tareen (London: Routledge, 2016, from a special issue of South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies)


Book Chapters:

  • A Commonwealth of Affection: Modern Hinduism and the Cultural History of the Study of Religion." In Constructing Nineteenth Century Religion, eds. (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2019).
  • “The Supernatural and Colonialism.” In Super Religion, ed. Jeffrey J. Kripal, New York: Palgrave, 2016.

Culture Criticism:


  • Modern South Asia
  • Postcolonial Theory
  • Secularism
  • Religion and Law
  • Media and Popular Culture
  • Affect Theory
  • History of Study of Religion