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Michael S. Allen

Associate Professor


  • PhD, Harvard University
  • MTS, Harvard Divinity School
  • BA, University of South Carolina

Research Interests

Indian Philosophy, South Asian Religions, Religion and Ecology

Michael S. Allen works on philosophy, religion, and ecology in South Asia, drawing on both Sanskrit and early Hindi sources. He specializes in the intellectual history of Vedānta, with wider interests in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions. He is currently working on a book titled The Most Influential Book in India: The Ocean of Inquiry and the History of Advaita Vedanta, focusing on the magnum opus of the North Indian monk Niścaldās (ca. 1791 - 1863). He is also working on a project examining the relationship between theory and practice in classical Indian philosophy, with an eye to applying the insights of Indian philosophers to contemporary environmental concerns: how does one bridge the gap between merely theoretical knowledge and a deeper, transformative knowledge? In both his teaching and research, Allen is committed to exploring ways in which South Asian perspectives, taken seriously on their own terms, can inform contemporary understandings of human beings and our place in the world.

Allen previously taught in the Harvard College Writing Program and in the Religion Department at Hampden-Sydney College. He is currently a Mellon Fellow at the Institute for the Humanities and Global Cultures, and co-chairs the Indian and Chinese Religions Compared unit at the American Academy of Religion. He has published in the Journal of Hindu Studies, the International Journal of Hindu Studies, the Journal of Vaishnava Studies, and Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy.


  • RELG 1040: Introduction to Eastern Religious Traditions
  • RELH 2090: Introduction to Hinduism
  • RELH 3105: Hinduism and Ecology
  • RELH 5450: Hindu-Buddhist Debates
  • RELH 5559: The Rise of Vedanta


For selected publications, see