J. Barton Scott

Assistant Professor of Historical Studies and the Study of Religion

University of Toronto

J. Barton Scott is Assistant Professor of Historical Studies and the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto, Canada. He works at the intersection of modern South Asian studies and the cultural history of the study of religion. He has articles published or forthcoming in History of Religions, The Journal of the American Academy of Religion, South Asia, The Journal of Hindu Studies, Postscripts, and Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. His first book, Spiritual Despots: Modern Hinduism and the Genealogies of Self-Rule, is forthcoming with University of Chicago Press as part of the series “South Asia Across the Disciplines”. The book analyzes how the critique of spiritual despotism in colonial India shaped the ideal of the self-ruling subject. Even as reformers decried the spiritual power of priests, they promoted new types of religious discipline by mobilizing Hindu and Protestant ascetic practices and extending them to worldly householders. The resulting concern with practices of self-government remained as important to later nationalist thought as it was to nineteenth-century reform culture.