Gujarat Studies Association

GSA is privileged to have the expertise and guidance of Prof. Raymond Williams, Prof. Azim Nanji, Prof. Christopher Shackle, Prof. Itesh Sachdev and Prof. Rachel Dwyer.


Text Box: Prof. Christopher Shackle         SOAS, University of London

Christopher Shackle has been Professor of Modern Languages of South Asia in the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, since 1985. He has also held the post of Pro-Director at SOAS. 


He has worked with Zawahir Moir and written Ismaili Hymns from South Asia: An Introduction to the Ginans, a comprehensive guide to the ritual hymns and devotional literature of the Nizari Ismaili Muslims of Gujarati ancestry.  In addition to studies of various aspects of Urdu Literature, he has published a number of works on the Sikhs and their scriptures, and on the regional languages and literatures of Pakistan.  He is also an expert on Sufism and Islam in South Asia.

Text Box: Prof. Itesh Sachdev           SOAS , University of London


Prof. Sachdev is currently Director of the Centre for Excellence in the Teaching and Learning of Languages of the Wider World. His previous post was as Reader in the Social Psychology of Language and  Groups and the Director for the Centre for Canadian Studies at the  School of Languages, Linguistics & Culture, Birkbeck College, University of London. His research interests include, social psychology of language and inter-group relations; multilingualism and multiculturalism; language and ethnicity;  as well as Canadian studies. He has published on the social psychology of intergroup relations as well as on issues of multilingualism and multiculturalism with diverse sets of participants originating from several parts of the world including Bolivia, Canada, France, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia  and UK.





Text Box: Prof. Rachel Dwyer                       SOAS, University of London


Prof. Dwyer is professor of Indian Studies and Cinema. She took her BA in Sanskrit at SOAS, followed by an MPhil in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology at the University of Oxford. Her PhD research at SOAS was on the Gujarati lyrics of Dayaram (1777-1852). She teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses in literature, cinema, Gujarati and Sanskrit. Her areas of expertise include Gujarati language and literature; Gujarati Vaishnavism; Gujarati diaspora; comparative Indian literature; Indian popular culture; Indian film; Hindi Cinema.


Below are two articles that may be of interest:


2004. 'International Hinduism: the Swaminarayan sect.', in ed(s) eds. K.A Jacobsen, P. Kumar South Asians in the diaspora: histories and religious traditions.,Brill (Netherlands).


2000. The poetics of devotion: the Gujarati lyrics of Dayaram., Curzon (London)





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Text Box: Prof. Azim Nanji                				Stanford


Professor Azim Nanji assumed the role of Director of the Institute of Ismaili Studies in the autumn of 1998. Previously, he was Professor and Chair of the Department of Religion at the University of Florida and has held academic and administrative appointments at various American and Canadian universities.  Professor Nanji has authored, co-authored and edited several books including: The Nizari Ismaili Tradition (1976), The Muslim Almanac (1996), Mapping Islamic Studies (1997) and The Historical Atlas of Islam (with M. Ruthven) (2004).


At present he also serves on several academic and educational committees of the Aga Khan Development Network including Vice-Chair of the Madrasa-based Early Childhood Education Programme in East Africa and the Institute for Muslim Civilisations of the Aga Khan University. Prof. Nanji is currently the senior associate director of the Abbasi at Stanford University, California.

Text Box: Prof. Raymond Brady Williams 	               Wabash College


Raymond Brady Williams is Charles D. and Elizabeth S. LaFollette Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, Wabash College. He is the author of several books, including amongst others:A new face of Hinduism: the Swaminarayan religion. Cambridge University Press, 1984.The South Asian Religious Diaspora in Britain, Canada, and the United States. Editor with Harold Coward and John R. Hinnells. State University of New York Press, 2000.An Introduction to Swaminarayan Hinduism. Cambridge University Press, 2001.Williams on South Asian Religions and Immigration, Ashgate Publications, 2004.

A member of the Association of Disciples for Theological Discussion, he also serves on the board of directors of the American Academy of Religion and is founding editor of the journal Teaching Theology and Religion.