University of Pittsburgh
three small photographs depicting various religious icons

Department of Religious Studies


Fred W. Clothey

Professor Emeritus
PhD, University of Chicago, 1968

2604 Cathedral of Learning

Fred. W. Clothey is a leader in the creation of the field of ritual studies, a pioneer of ethnographic fieldwork and documentation of religious practice in India, and cofounder and longtime coeditor of the Journal of Ritual Studies (1986-1998). His research interests include the study of myth, symbol and ritual, the role of religion in politics, identity-formation and resurgent nationalisms, and the character of religion in contemporary South Asia and among expatriated South Asians.

Selected Publications

Ritualizing on the Boundaries: Continuity and Innovation in the Tamil Diaspora, University of South Carolina Press, 2007

Religion in India: A Historical Introduction, Series in Comparative Religion, Routledge, 2007

Quiescence and Passion: The Vision of Arunakiri, Tamil Mystic, Austin & Winfield, 1996

Experiencing Siva: Encounters with a Hindu Deity, Manohar, 1984 [coeditor with Bruce J. Long]

Rhythm and Intent: Ritual Studies from South India, Blackie & Son, 1983

Images of Man: Religion and Historical Progress in South Asia, New Era, 1982 [editor]

The Many Faces of Murukan: The History and Meaning of a South Indian, Mouton, 1978, Coronet Books, 2005


Journey of Faith: Serbian Orthodox Americans in Pittsburgh, 1992

Pilgrimage to Pittsburgh, 1990

Consecration of a Temple, 1979, 1990

Pankuni Uttiram: A Festival of Marriage, 1974*

Skanda-Sasti: A Festival of Conquest, 1973*

Yakam: A Fire Ritual in South Asia, 1973*

* Reissued as The Festival Experience of South India, 1992

Selected Honors and Awards

Distinguished Asianist Award, Association for Asian Studies-Mid-Atlantic Region, 2005

Fulbright Fellowship, 1991, 1998

Pitcairn-Crabbe Grant, 1997-2000

American Institute of Indian Studies Fellowship, 1966-1967, 1981-1982, 1990, 1994

Kodenkandeth Foundation Grant, 1993-1996

Exxon Foundation Fellowship, 1986

Fulbright-Hays Fellowship, 1978, 1982

Sri Venkateswara Temple Grant, 1983-1988, 1993-1995

Public Committee for the Humanities in Pennsylvania Grant, 1978, 1987

Arcadia Foundation Grant, 1979

Overseas Experience

Fred Clothey has spent some sixteen years in India and has lived and worked in Malaysia and Singapore (1991) and the Czech Republic (1999).

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