Scott, J. Barton

Assistant ProfessorHistorical Studies - History of Religions

Contact Information

NE 4244
Mailing Address: 
3359 Mississauga Rd.
Postal Code: 
L5L 1C6
Office Hours: 
On Leave until June 30, 2020
J. Barton Scott

J. Barton Scott is Assistant Professor in the Department of Historical Studies at UTM and the Department for the Study of Religion at UTSG. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in religion, media, and culture; theory and method in religious studies; and modern South Asian religions. His research and teaching are interdisciplinary, using social and cultural theory to interpret religious writings from modern India and Britain, as well to integrate the colonial world more fully into how we narrate the cultural history of the study of religion. He is the author of Spiritual Despots: Modern Hinduism and the Genealogies of Self-Rule (University of Chicago, 2016) and the co-editor of Imagining the Public in Modern South Asia (Routledge, 2016), as well as numerous articles and essays.

Scott’s current book project, Slandering the Sacred: Law, Media, and Religious Affect in Colonial India, is a study of the sections of the Indian Penal Code that criminalize wounding “religious feelings.” The book situates these laws within the history of religious polemics in nineteenth and early twentieth century India, particularly those of the Arya Samaj, as well as within the global history of liberal ideals of free speech, secular governance, and print publicity. As a whole, the book asks how affect or emotion became central to state efforts to define and govern religion in secular modernity, both within India and beyond. 

Current Courses: 


  • RLG301H5 :  Stranger Things: Religious Objects in Theory and Practice/Theorizing Religion




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.


  • Review of Reason (Vivek(dir. Anand Patwardhan, 2018), “Toronto International Film Festival Reviews,” Journal of Religion & Film 22, no. 2 (October 2018).
  • Review of Ad Vitam (dir. Thomas Calley, 2018), “Toronto International Film Festival Reviews,” Journal of Religion & Film 22, no. 2 (October 2018).
  • Review of Timothy Dobe, Hindu Christian Faqir: Modern Monks, Global Christianity, and Indian Sainthood (Oxford, 2015). History of Religions 57, no. 2 (November 2017), pp. 225-227.
  • Review of Les Affamés (dir. Robin Aubert, 2017), “Toronto International Film Festival Reviews,” Journal of Religion & Film 21, no. 2 (October 2017). 


Religion, Media, and Culture; Cultural History of the Study of Religion; Postcolonial Theory; Religion and Law; Transnational Hinduism; Modern South Asia