Dr. David L. Haberman   
Fulbright-Nehru Project Title: "Worship of Govardhan: Making the Impossible Possible"
Field of Study: Study of India
Home Institution in US: Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Host Institution in India: Sri Caitanya Prema Sansthana, Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh  
Start date/Month in India: August 2013
Duration of grant: Nine months

Brief Bio:
Dr. David Haberman is a professor of religious studies at Indiana University. He received his BA (1976) in religious studies from the University of Colorado and his PhD (1984) in history of religions from the University of Chicago. He taught at the University of Arizona and Williams College before joining the faculty at Indiana University in 1993, where he served as departmental chair for five years.

Dr. Haberman is interested in a wide range of South Asian religious traditions, and concentrates on the medieval and modern movements of northern India. Much of his research has focused on the culture of Braj, an active pilgrimage site known for its lively temple festivals, performative traditions and literary creations. More recently he has shifted his research interests to include the ancient city of Banaras, a pilgrimage center and temple town located on the bank of the Ganges River. His approach combines both textual research and anthropological fieldwork. His first publication, Acting as a Way of Salvation: A Study of Raganuga Bhakti Sadhana (Oxford University Press, 1988), is an investigation of religious reality construction based on a close examination of a meditation technique devised by the theoreticians of Braj. He has published a book on the circular pilgrimage around Braj, Journey Through the Twelve Forests: An Encounter with Krishna (Oxford, 1994), which won the American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence the year it came out. He completed an annotated translation of a sixteenth-century Sanskrit text, The Bhaktirasamrtasindhu of Rupa Gosvamin (Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, 2003), which presents the religious experience of bhakti in terms of classical Indian dramatic theory.

His passion these days is for the field of religion and ecology; he is involved in developing this emerging field and is currently on the advisory board of the Forum on Religion and Ecology based at the Yale University School for Forestry and Environmental Studies. As a student of the religious cultures of India, Dr. Haberman is interested in investigating the effects the current environmental degradation is having on the traditional religious culture which views the immanent world of nature as permeated with divine presence; he is also interested in learning how this traditional theology is being employed by Indian environmental activists to resist environmental degradation. His books, River of Love in an Age of Pollution: The Yamuna River of Northern India (University of California Press, 2006) and People Trees: Worship of Trees in Northern India (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013) explore these subjects.

Dr. Haberman’s Fulbright project is to study the worship of Mount Govardhan, the most distinguishing feature of the sacred landscape of Braj, a region in northern India associated with Krishna, and to conduct a detailed ethnographic and textual study of the ideas and practices associated with this natural form of divinity.