Luke Whitmore

Assistant Professor


Ph.D. — West and South Asian Religions, Emory University
M.T.S. — World Religions, Harvard Divinity School
B.A. — Classical Languages (Greek and Latin), Haverford College
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)


Luke Whitmore received his M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School in 1999 and his Ph.D. in West and South Asian Religions from the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University in 2010.  He also studied for two years at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.  Broadly, his research and teaching interests include South Asian and Himalayan religions, Shaivism, Judaism, theory and method in religious studies, pilgrimage, myth, visual culture, network theory, phenomenological anthropology, and the study of place and space.  His research focuses on the Hindu pilgrimage place of Kedarnath, and the mountainous region of Garhwal (located in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand) in which it is found.  He is currently writing a book about the different ways in which people experience the place of Kedarnath today.

Select Publications



“In the Mountains of Radical Juxtaposition: Kedarnath at the Beginning of a New Millennium”. Chapter for peer-reviewed edited volume entitled Religion and Modernity in the Himalaya. Forthcoming (Routledge)

“Conversations about Changes in Ritual Practice at the Himalaya Hindu Shrine of Kedarnath." Chapter for edited volume of proceedings from the 2009 meeting of the Conference on the Study of Religions in India. Forthcoming (SUNY)

“In the Aftermath of the ‘Himalayan Tsunami”, in Religion Dispatches. July 2013

‘God’s Gateway: Identity and Meaning in a Hindu Pilgrimage Place by James Lochtefeld.’ Review for Oxford Journal of Hindu Studies. Vol. 5, No. 3, Sept. 2012.

"The Challenges of Representing Shiva: Image, Place and Divine Presence in the Himalayan Hindu Shrine of Kedarnath" in Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief. Volume 8, Number 2, June 2012.

‘God of Justice: Ritual Healing and Social Justice in the Central Himalayas by William S. Sax.' Review for the International Journal of Hindu Studies. December 2010.

"Reflections on Intersections: An Introduction to the Ethnography and Theology Issue of Practical Matters." Co-authored with Lerone Martin. Issue may be accessed here: June 2010.


Recent Conference Presentations



“Mountain, Water, Rock, God: Shiva’s Abode of Kedarnath in the Twenty-First Century.” Institute for Research in the Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Madison. December 2014.

Natural Disaster in the Land of the Gods: Preliminary Observations on Post-June 2013 Uttarakhand. South Asia Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison. November 2014.

“Ritual and the Fragile Power of the Himalayan Landscape”. University of Wisconsin-Madison Annual Conference on South Asia. October 2014.

“Touching Power: The Popular Faces of Kedarnath-Centered Esoteric Practice.” American Academy of Religion annual conference. November 2013.

“The Decline of Walking: What it Says about Tirtha-Yatra in the Twenty-First Century.” American Academy of Religion annual conference. November 2013.

“’Dance the Angry God of the Politicians’: Re-imagining the Poetics of Possession in Toronto.” American Academy of Religion annual conference. November 2012.

“Where Frogs Become Shivas: Kedarakhanda and the Power of Region”. Annual Conference on South Asia at University of Wisconsin-Madison. October 2012.

“Many Facets, One Power: Shiva’s Abode of Kedarnath at the Beginning of a New Millennium.” American Academy of Religion annual conference. November 2011.


Professional Service

Associate Editor, Journal of Indo-Judaic Studies



Steering committee (Space, Place, and Religion unit, American Academy of Religion.) November 2013-present.


Contact Information


Office: CCC 417

Phone: 715.346.4244

Fax: 715.346.4215

Courses Taught

Religion 101

Religions of Asia

Religion 202

Introduction of the Study of Religion

Religion 321

Researching Religion

Religion 333

Women and Goddesses in India

Religion 340


Religion 341

Religions of India