Conflict between Islamic, Hindu, Christian, and scientific traditions, and how antagonism shapes cultural and political debate – fueling Islamophobia and other discrimination – form the basis of religion professor Peter Gottschalk’s work.
He enjoys presenting on these topics and has discussed them on TV, in print, on radio, at public events, and at academic conferences and seminars in the U.S., India, Bangladesh, Britain, Turkey, and other parts of Europe. His latest book is American Heretics: Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and the History of Religious Intolerance (Palgrave), which explores various moments of antagonism against various religious groups in the United States and explores the dynamics of both intolerance and pluralism. A forthcoming revised and expanded edition of Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Sentiment: Picturing Muslims as the Enemy (Rowman and Littlefield), a collaboration between Gottschalk and his former student Gabriel Greenberg. Using political cartoons, this volume demonstrates how Americans have had endemic fears about Islam and Muslims since the nation’s founding through to the age of Trump.
Professor Gottschalk’s work has been reviewed in The Times Literary Supplement and The New York Times, and he has appeared on CNN, CBS, Voice of America, Air America, and National Public Radio, and his work has been published in Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, and the OnFaith website formerly of The Washington Post as well as discussed on C-SPAN, Critical Conversations, and YouTube.
In the Indian context, his books include Religion, Science, and Empire: Classifying Hindus and Muslims in British India (Oxford University Press) on the history of British representations of Indians during the Raj when, he writes, the coalescing “Western” sciences of the last few centuries shaped a British urge to classify all things Indian – including people – in mutually exclusive categories. Also on India, Peter’s first book, Beyond Hindu and Muslim: Multiple Identity in Narratives from Village India (Oxford University Press), ethnographically explores the multiple identities evident in the social memories of residents in some north Indian villages. He demonstrates how Hindus and Muslims do not always understand themselves or each other as such but, through the narratives they tell of their past, often share identities as villagers, Biharis, Indians, and cricket teammates, among others. The book challenges the familiar bifurcation of India and its history into mutually exclusive Hindu and Muslim components.
Professor Gottschalk has also collaborated with Mathew N. Schmalz (College of the Holy Cross) in editing a volume of essays regarding Western engagements with religions on the subcontinent entitled Engaging South Asian Religions: Boundaries, Appropriations, and Resistance (SUNY Press).
Peter Gottschalk earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross, his master’s in South Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his doctorate from the University of Chicago (History of Religions).
Peter has seldom encountered anything with wings that he hasn’t liked.