Pieter Tjitse (Peter) van der Veer

1953 –
cultural anthropology

Curriculum vitae

1953born in Groningen on May 22
gymnasium A Groningen
Indo-Iranian languages and cultures, Groningen University
1986PhD in cultural anthropology, under the supervision of H.U.E. Thoden van Velzen, Utrecht University
associate professor
1992-1994professor of comparative religion, University of Amsterdam
1994- presentUniversity professor at Large, University College, Utrecht University
… – presentdirector of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen

Special activities and positions

  • Director of the International Institute for the Study of Islam, Leiden, 1992-1994
  • Chairman of the Board of the International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden, 1992-1994
  • Visiting positions at a.o. the London School of Economics, the University of Chicago, and University of Michigan
  • Member of the advisory board of a.o. Public Culture, Contributions to Indian Sociology, and Nations and Nationalism
  • Convenor of many conferences



1980 “Karnen voor onsterfelijkheid: structuur en interpretatie van een mythe (amrtamanthana).” Forum der Letteren 21,3: 196-204.
“Reizen naar reinheid en verlossing: pelgrimage in India.” Intermediair 16: 37-43.
1981 & Matthew Schoffeleers, “Religious anthropology.” In: Peter Kloos and Henri Claessen (eds), Current issues in anthropology: the Netherlands, Rotterdam, pp. 215-228.
1982 “Ideologie en verandering.” Antropologische Verkenningen 1: 105-121.
“Naakt geweld en zoete devotie: de veranderende machtskansen van de Ramanandis in Noord-India.” Antropologische Verkenningen 2: 59-84.
1983 “Religie en politiek: de Khalistan-beweging onder de Indiase Sikhs.” Internationale Spectator 30,1: 43-48. search igitur
1984 & D. Kooiman and O. van den Muijzenberg (eds), Conversion, competition and conflict in Asia: essays on the role of religion, Amsterdam: Free University Press.
& P. van Gelder and W. van Wetering (eds), Bonoeman, Rasta’s en andere Surinamers, Amsterdam.
“Structure and anti-structure in Hindu pilgrimage to Ayodhya.” In: K. Ballhatchett and D. Taylor (eds), Changing South Asia: religion and society, Hong Kong-London, pp. 59-67.
1985 “De politieke vertellingen van Salman Rushdie: mythe en geschiedenis.” De Gids 148.
“Brahmans: their purity and their poverty: on the changing values of Brahman priests in Ayodhya.” Contributions to Indian Sociology NS 19,2: 303-321.
1986 Gods on earth: the management of religious meaning and identity in a North Indian pilgrimage centre, s.l. – PhD thesis Utrecht; also appeared London 1988.
& Cors van der Burg, “Pandits, power and profit: religious organization and the construction of identity among the Surinamese Hindus.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 9,4: 514-528.
1987 “God must be liberated: a Hindu liberation movement in Ayodhya.” Modern Asian Studies 21, 2: 283-301.
“India, de illusie van een oude beschaving.” Sociologisch Tijdschrift 14,1: 62-84.
& Caroline Dissel, “Antropologie en de feministische ontwikkelingssociologie.” Sociologische Gids 34,4: 296-308.
“Religie als kunstwerk: de esthetische perceptie van Clifford Geertz.” In: J. Bakker, Y. Kuiper, J. Miedema (eds), Antropologie tussen wetenschap en kunst: essays over Clifford Geertz, Amsterdam: Free University Press, pp. 95-111.
“Communalisme en nationalisme in Zuid-Azie.” Internationale Spectator 31,11: 570-579.
“Taming the ascetic: devotionalism in a Hindu monastic order.” Man NS 22,4: 680-695.
1988 Gods on earth: the management of religious experience and identity in a North Indian pilgrimage centre, London (London School of Economics monographs on social anthropology 59). Also appeared as PhD thesis Utrecht 1986; Indian ed. Delhi 1989.
“’Echte’ en ‘onechte’ brahmanen: de effecten van het Britse kaste-bewustzijn.” Sociologische Gids 35,2.
“Frits Staal in de provincie.” Hollands Maandblad 30,718: 16-25.
“South Asia in Utrecht.” South Asia Newsletter 2: 39-40
1989 “The concept of the ideal Brahman as an indological construct.” In: G. Sontheimer and H. Kulke (eds), Hinduism reconsidered, Delhi, pp. 67-81.
“The power of detachment: disciplines of body and mind in the Ramanandi order.” American Ethnologist 16,3: 40-52.
“Satanic or angelic: the politics of religious and literary inspiration.” Public Culture 2,1: 100-106.
Review of: Daniel Gold, The Lord as Guru; Hindi saints in the Northern Indian tradition, New York 1987. Journal of Asian Studies.
Review of: Richard Burghart (ed.), Hinduism in Great Britain: the perpetuation of religion in an alien cultural milieu, London 1987. Man NS.
1990 “East Indians from the West Indies in the Netherlands.” South Asia Newsletter 5: 19-21.
Review of: John van Maanen, Tales of the field, Chicago, Man NS.
Review of: Sandria Freitag (ed.), Culture and power in Banares, Berkeley. Journal of Asian Studies.
1991 & Steven Vertovec, “Brahmanism abroad: on Caribbean Hinduism as an ethnic religion.” Ethnology 149-166.
“Life as theatre: performing the Ramayana in Ayodhya.” In: M. Thiel-Horstmann (ed.), Contemporary Ramayana traditions, Wiesbaden, pp. 169-184.
“Religious therapies and their valuation among Surinamese Hindustani in the Netherlands.” Oxford University Papers on India, vol. II: The Modern Western Diaspora, Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 36-57.
Review of: James Scott, Domination and the arts of resistance, New Haven, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.
1992 “History and culture in Hindu nationalism.” In: A.W. van den Hoek, D.H.A. Kolff, M.S. Oort (eds), Ritual, state and history in South Asia: essays in honour of J.C. Heesterman, Leiden (Memoirs of the Kern Institute 5), pp. 717-723.
“Ayodhya and Somnath: eternal shrines, contested histories.” In: T. Asad (ed.), “Religion and Politic,” Social Research 59,1: 5-109.
“Invited view: body and gender in Hindu and Muslim nationalist discourse.” Committee on Women in Asian Studies Newsletter 10,2: 2-4.
“Playing or praying: a saint’s day in Surat.” Journal of Asian Studies 51,3: 545-564.
Review of: Pnina Werbner, The migration process, New York. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.
Review of: Michael Carrithers and Caroline Humphreys (eds), The assembly of listeners, Cambridge. The Journal of Asian Studies.
Review of: Olivier Herrenschmidt, Les meilleur dieux sont Hindous, Lausanne. Anthropos.
Review of: Ronald Inden, Imagining India, Oxford. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.
1993 & Carol Breckenridge (eds), Orientalism and the postcolonial predicament: perspectives on South Asia, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
& Carol A. Breckenridge, “Introduction.” In: C. Breckenridge and Peter van der Veer (eds), Orientalism and the postcolonial predicament: perspectives on South Asia, Philadephia, pp. 1-23.
“The foreign hand: orientalist discourse in sociology and communalism.” In: C. Breckenridge and Peter van der Veer (eds), Orientalism and the postcolonial predicament: perspectives on South Asia, Philadelphia, pp. 23-45.
“De bien dangereuses passions: comment les ascètes de l’ordre ramanandi gerent leur sexualité.” In: S. Bouez (ed), Ascèse et renoncement en Inde: ou la solitude bien ordonnée, Paris, pp. 155-166.
“Hinduism.” In: The Oxford companion to world politics, New York: OUP.
“No nations, but classes.” Public Culture 6: 177-183.
“Een echte Indier is hindoe.” Theoretische Geschiedenis 20,4: 402-413.
Review of: Richard Fox (ed.), Rethinking anthropology, University of New Mexico Press. Man NS.
Review of: Lee Siegel, Net of magic, Chicago. American Ethnologist.
1994 Religious nationalism: Hindus and Muslims in South Asia, Berkeley: University of California Press. – Indian edition Delhi 1995.
“Sati and Sanskrit: the move from orientalism to Hinduism.” In: Mieke Bal and Inge Boer (eds), The point of theory, Amsterdam, pp. 161-168.
“Hindu nationalism and the discourse of modernity: the Vishva Hindu Parishad” In: Martin Marty and Scott Appleby (eds), Accounting for fundamentalisms, Chicago: Chicago University Press, pp. 653-669.
“The politics of devotion to Rama.” In: David Lorenzen (ed.), Bhakti religion in North India: community identity and political action, Albany, pp. 288-305.
“Syncretism, multiculturalism and the discourse of tolerance.” In: Charles Stewart and Rosalind Shaw (eds), Syncretism and anti-syncretism, London, pp. 196-212.
Review of: John Kelly, A politics of virtue, Chicago. American Ethnologist.
1995 Editor of: Nation and migration, Philadelphia.
Modern Orientalisme, Amsterdam: Meulenhoff.
“The diasporic imagination.” In: Peter van der Veer (ed), Nation and migration, Philadel-phia, pp. 1-16.
“Proceedings Summer School 1994: popular culture: Africa, Asia & Europe.” In: Jos van der Klei (ed.), Popular culture, Utrecht, pp. 79-80. search igitur
“Radical Hinduism and modernity.” In: The limits of pluralism: proceedings of the Erasmus ascension conference, pp. 83-93.
“The modernity of religion.” Social History 20,3: 365-371.
“The secular production of religion.” Etnofoor 8,2: 5-15.
Review of: S. Gopal (ed.), The anatomy of a confrontation, London. Journal of Asian Studies 54,3: 874.
1996 Editor of: Conversion to modernities: the globalization of Christianity, New York.
“Introduction.” In: Peter van der Veer (ed.), Conversion to modernities, New York, pp. 1-23.
“Riots and rituals: the construction of violence and public space in Hindu nationalism.” In: Paul R. Brass (ed.), Riots and pogroms, New York-London, pp. 154-176.
“Gender and nation in Hindu nationalism.” In: Stein Tonnesson and Hans Antlöv (eds), Asian forms of the nation, Richmond, pp. 131-150.
“The ruined center: religion and mass politics in India.” Journal of International Affairs 50,1: 254-277.
“Religion.” In: Alan Barnard and Jonathan Spencer (eds), Encyclopedia of social and cultural anthropology, London-New York, pp. 482-486.
“Writing violence.” In: David Ludden (ed.), Contesting the nation, Philadelphia, pp. 250-269.
1997 “L’état moral: religion, nation et empire dans la Grande-Bretagne victorienne et l’Inde brittanique.” Geneses 26: 77-103.
“The victim’s tale.” In: Hent de Vries and Samuel Weber (eds), Violence, identity, and self-determination, Stanford.
“The enigma of arrival: hybridity and authenticity in the global space.” In: Pnina Werbner and Tariq Modood (eds), Debating cultural hybridity, London, pp. 90-106.
Review of: Katy Gardner, Global migrants, local lives: travel and transformation in rural Bangladesh, Oxford. American Ethnologist 24: 1.
1998 “Globalisering en de transnationale samenleving” In: Anne Gevers, Uit de zevende, Amsterdam, pp. 271-276.
“The globalization of modernity.” JESHO 41,3: 285-295.
“Religion, secularity and tolerance in India and Europe.” Eastern Anthropologist 50,3/4: 381-395.
“Cultural politics and the state.” Cultural Dynamics 10,3: 281-287.
“Fundamentalism and the secular state.” Contributions to Indian Sociology 32,2: 551-557.
Review of: Thomas Trautmann, Aryans and British India, Berkeley. Journal of Asian Studies, 266-268.
1999 & Hartmut Lehmann (eds), Nation and religion: perspectives on Europe and Asia, Princeton.
& Hartmut Lehmann, “Introduction.” In: Peter van der Veer and Hartmut Lehmann (eds), Nation and religion, Princeton, pp. 3-15.
“The moral state: religion, nation, and empire in Victorian Britain and British India.” In: Peter van der Veer and Hartmut Lehmann (eds), Nation and Religion, Princeton, pp. 15-44.
“Religious mediation.” In: E. Rodriguez Larreta and Candido Mendes (eds), Media and social perception, Rio de Janeiro, pp. 345-356.
“Hindus: a superior race.” Nations and Nationalism 5,3: 419-30.
“Monumental texts: the critical edition of India’s national heritage.” In: Daud Ali, Invoking the past: the uses of history in South Asia, Delhi: Oxford University Press,
“Monumental texts: the critical edition of India’s national heritage.” In: Jackie Assayag (ed.), The Resources of History, Paris-Pondichery, pp. 113-127.
“Political religion in the twenty-first century.” In: T.V. Paul and John A. Hall (eds), International order and the future of world politics, Cambridge, pp. 311-328.
2000 “Religious nationalism in India and global fundamentalism.” In: John Guidry, Michael Kennedy, and Mayer Zald (eds), Globalization of social movements, Ann Arbor, pp. 315-339.
2001 Imperial encounters: religion, nation, and empire, Princeton. – Indian edition Delhi: Permanent Black.
“Nederland bestaat niet meer.” In: Dick Douwes (red.), Naar een Europese Islam? Amsterdam, pp. 117-135.
“Religions of India” and “Communalism.” In: Encyclopaedia of the social and behavioral sciences, Amsterdam.
“Nationalism in India and global fundamentalism.” In: A.K. Bagchi (ed.), Identity, locality and globalization: experiences of India and Indonesia, Delhi: Indian Council of Social Science Research, pp. 155-181.
“Nederland en de Islam.” Amsterdams Sociologisch Tijdschrift 28,4: 513-525.
2002 Islam en het ‘beschaafde’ Westen, Amsterdam.
“The victims tale: memory and forgetting in the story of violence.” In: Thomas Scheffler (ed.), Religion between violence and reconciliation, Beirut-Stuttgart, pp. 229-242.
“Colonial cosmopolitanism.” In: Robin Cohen and Steve Vertovec (eds), Conceiving cosmopolitanism, Oxford, pp. 165-180.
“Religion in South Asia.” Annual Review of Anthropology 31: 173-187.
“Cosmopolitan options” Etnografica VI, 6. pdf
“Transnational religion: Hindu and Muslim movements.” Global Networks 2,2: 95-111.
2003 “Postmodern India.” In: Arvind N. Das and Marcel van der Linden, Work and social change in Asia: essays in honour of Jan Breman, New Delhi, pp. 91-110.
“Religious radicalism in South Asia.” South Asian Journal, 1-6.
2004 & Shoma Munshi (eds), Media, war, and terrorism: responses from the Middle East and Asia, London.
“Introduction” and “War propaganda and the liberal public sphere.” In: Peter van der Veer and S. Munshi (eds), Media, war, and terrorism, London, pp. 1-21.
“Cosmopolitan options.” In: Jonathan Friedman & Shalini Randeria, Worlds on the move, globalization, migration and cultural security, London, pp. 167-179.
“Secrecy and publicity in the South Asian public arena.” In: Armando Salvatore and Dale Eickelman (eds), Public Islam and the common good, Leiden, pp. 29-53.
“South Asian Islam in Britain.” Ethnicities, 136-142. link
“Comment.” Current Anthropology 45,2: 180.
2005 “Afterword: global conversions.” In: Jamie S. Scott and Gareth Griffiths (eds), Mixed messages: materiality, textuality, missions, New York, pp. 221-233.
“Religion, nation, and the public sphere.” In: Gerrit Steunebrink and Evert van der Zweede (eds), Civil society, religion, and the nation, Amsterdam, pp. 243-259.
“Indian IT labor and the nation-state.” In: Thomas Blom Hansen and Finn Stepputat, Sovereign bodies, citizens, migrants, and states in the postcolonial world, Princeton, pp. 267-291.
2006 “Pim Fortuyn, Theo van Gogh, and the politics of tolerance in the Netherlands.” Public Culture, 111-125. – Also published in: Hent de Vries and Lawrence Sullivan, Political Theologies, New York 2007. link
“Conversion and coercion: the politics of sincerity and authenticity.” In: Jan Bremmer, Wout van Bekkum and Arie Molendijk (eds), Cultures of Conversion, Leuven, pp. 1-15.
“The secularity of the state.” In: Masaaki Kimura and Akio Tanabe (eds), The state in India, Delhi, pp. 257-270.
2007 “Global breathing: religious utopias in India and China.” Journal of Anthropological Research 7,3: 315-328.
“The imperial encounter with Asian religions.” Radical History Review, 253-261. link
“Contesting traditions: religion and violence in South Asia.” In: Monique Skidmore and Patricia Lawrence (eds), Women and the contested state, Notre Dame, pp. 7-25.
2008 & Christophe Jaffrelot (eds), Patterns of middle class consumption in India and China, New Delhi.
“Spirituality in modern society.” In: Hent de Vries (ed.), Religion: beyond a concept, New York, pp. 789-798.
“Embodiment, materiality, and power.” Comparative studies in Society and History 50,3: 809-818.
“Does Sanskrit knowledge exist?” Journal of Indian Philosophy 36: 633-641. pdf
“Virtual India: Indian IT labour and the nation-state.” In: Ashwani Saith, M. Vijayabaskar and V. Gayathri (eds), ICTs and Indian social change: diffusion, poverty, governance, Los Angeles, pp. 369-383.
2009 “The religious origins of democracy.” In: Gabriel Motzkin and Yochi Fischer (eds), Religion and democracy in contemporary Europe, Gießen (Lahn), pp. 75-82.
“The comparative sociology of India and China.” Social Anthropology 17,1: 90-108. link
“Pain and power: reflections on ascetic agency.” In: H.L. Seneviratne (ed.), The anthropologist and the native: essays for Gananath Obeyesekere, Florence, pp. 201-216. pdf
“Global breathing: religious utopias in India and China.” In: Thomas J. Csordas (ed.), Transnational transcendence: essays on religion and globalization, Berkeley, pp. 263-279.
“Spirituality in modern society.” Social Research 76,4: 1097-1120. pdf
2010 “Spirituality: East and West.” In: Eranos Yearbook 69: 45-61. pdf
“Body and mind in Qi Gong and yoga: a comparative perspective on India and China.” In: Eranos Yearbook 69: 128-141. pdf
“The value of comparison.” IIAS Newsletter 54 (Summer 2010): 19. pdf
“The visible and the invisible in South Asia.” In: Meerten B. ter Borg and Jan Willem van Henten (eds), Powers: religion as a social and spiritual force, New York, pp. 103-115. pdf
“Religions in India and China today.” In: Eliezer Ben-Rafael and Yitzhak Sternberg (eds), World religions and multiculturalism, Leiden, pp. 257-276.
“Nationalism and Christianity.” In: Daniel Patte (ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity, Cambridge, pp. 855-856.
2011 Editor of: Religious networks in Asia and beyond: book issue encounters, London-New York.
“Secularisering.” In: Paul Schnabel and Peter Giesen (eds), Wat iedereen moet weten van de menswetenschappen: de Gammacanon, Amsterdam, pp. 198-202.
“Spirit.” Material religion: the journal of objects, art and belief 7,1: 124–130. link
“Smash temples, burn books: comparing secularist projects in India and China.” In: Craig Calhoun, Mark Juergensmeyer and Jonathan VanAntwerpen (eds.), Rethinking Secularism, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 270-281. pdf
“包容多样:以比较促进宗教间和谐” (Compassion as a way of enhancing harmony).” in 中国民族报 宗教周刊论坛 (Weekly Forum on Religion, China Minzu News) 6, October 25, 2011. pdf
“Religion and education in a secular age: a comparative perspective.” Religion, Education, and Politics in Modern China 33: 235-245. pdf
“Introduction.” Encounters 4: 9-15. pdf
2012 “Smash temples, burn books.” The World Religious Cultures: a journal of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences 73: 17-26. – Introduction in Chinese by Dr. Dan Smyer Yu (MPI).Abstract pdf
“Spirituality in modern society.” [现代社会中的灵性], Northwestern Journal of Ethnology 75: 115-124. – Translation editor: Dan Smyer Yu; Translator: Liang Yan.Abstract pdf
“Religion, secularism and national development in India and China.” Third World Quarterly 33,4: 719-732. link
“Market and money: a critique of rational choice theory.” Social Compass 59,2: 183-192.
“Culture and religion.” In: M. R. Cobb, C. M. Puchlaski & B. Rumbold (eds), Oxford textbook of spirituality in healthcare, Oxford, pp. 169-176. link
The modern spirit of Asia: the secular and the spiriual in India and China. Princeton: Princeton University Press (also Chinese translation forthcoming 2013).
& Tam Ngo and Dan SmyerYu, “Religion, conflict and peacebuilding in Asia.” In: Scott Appleby, David Little, and Atalia Omer (eds), Oxford handbook on religion, conflict, and peacebuilding. Oxford University Press.
“Religion since 1750.” In: John McNeill and Kenneth Pomeranz (eds), The Cambridge history of the world, Cambridge University Press.
“Is confucianism secular?” In: Akeel Bilgrami (ed.), Secularism outside of Latin Christendom: essays in response to Charles Taylor , Columbia University Press.
“Religions of India and communalism.” International Encyclopedia for Social and Behavioral Sciences, Elsevier.
“Religion and nationalism.” In: John Breuilly (ed.), Oxford handbook on nationalism, Oxford University Press.
“Urban aspirations in Mumbai and Singapore.” In: Irene Becci and Marian Burchardt (eds), Entangled aspirations: religion in urban spaces, Leiden: Brill.