Scott, J. Barton

Assistant ProfessorHistorical Studies - History of Religions

Contact Information

MN 4244
Mailing Address: 
3359 Mississauga Road, Maanjiwe nendamowinan, 4th floor
Postal Code: 
L5L 1C6
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Please refer to syllabus and/or contact via email.
J. Barton Scott

J. Barton Scott works on questions of secularism, empire, and the history of the study of religion in colonial South Asia and Victorian Britain. He teaches courses on social and cultural theory, media and material religion, and religion in political thought, especially anticolonial thought. 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). Recent publications include “Translated Liberties: Karsandas Mulji’s Travels in England and the Anthropology of the Victorian Self,” in Modern Intellectual History (2017) and “Only Connect: Three Reflections on the Sociality of Secularism,” in the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry (2019).

Bart’s current book project, Slandering the Sacred: Law 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 ideas about free speech, secular governance, and print publicity. As a whole, the book asks how affect or emotion became part of state efforts to define and govern religion, both within India and beyond.





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