Email Address
Kirner-Johnson 145

Abhishek S. Amar specializes in the archaeological history of South Asian religions. He is working on a monograph that examines the issues of expansion, sustenance and religious transformation of Buddhism at the site of Buddha’s enlightenment. He directs a digital research project, Sacred Centers in India, which examines material, culture and texts to unravel the histories of the Hindu and Buddhist cities of Gaya and Bodhgaya, respectively. Amar received his doctorate in history from SOAS, University of London, and then got a fellowship from Käte Hamburger Kolleg at Ruhr University, Germany.

Recent Courses Taught

Sacred in South Asia
Indian Buddhism
Imagining Religions
Islam and Modernity in South Asia
Dying, Death and Afterlife
Conflict and Coexistence: Hindus and Muslims in South Asia
Competition and Coexistence: Exploring Inter-Religious Dynamics in South Asia
Encountering Hinduism: Sacrifice, Soul and Image


The Class of 1966 Career Development Award, Hamilton College, 2015
The John R. Hatch Class of 1925 Excellence in Teaching Award, Hamilton College, 2013

Selected Publications and Projects

  • Digital Humanities Research Project: Sacred Centers in India
  • ‘The Buddhaksetra of Bodhgaya: Sangha, Exchanges and Trade-networks,” in Trading Religions: Religious Formation, Transformation and Cross-Cultural Exchanges between East and West, eds., V. Rabens and P. Wick (Leiden: Brill Publications, Dynamics in the History of Religions Series 3, 2013).
  • Cross-disciplinary Biography of a Contested Buddhist Site, edited jointly with David Geary (Oxford University, UK), and Matthew R. Sayers (Lebanon Valley College, USA), London: Routledge Publication, 2012.
  • “Bodhgaya and Gaya: Buddhist Responses to the Hindu Challenges in Early India,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. 22.1 (March, 2012), 155-185.
  • “Integrating Texts and Material Culture: Methodological Approaches to the Study of Pre-modern Religions,” Review Article, Material Religion, vol.8.4, (December, 2012), 528-529.
  • “Sacred Bodh Gaya: The Buddhaksetra of Gotama Buddha,” in Cross-disciplinary Perspectives on a Contested Buddhist Site: Bodhgaya Jataka, eds., D. Geary, M.R. Sayers and A.S. Amar (London: Routledge Publications, South Asian Religion Series, 2012).
  • “An Archaeological Study of Pilgrimage and Ritual at Sacred Bodhgaya,” Pragdhara- A Journal of Uttar Pradesh state Archaeology 19 (2011): 37-46.
  • “Contextualizing Bodhgaya: A Study of Settlements and Monastic Sites in the Bodhgaya Region,” in South Asian Archaeology 2007: Proceedings of the 19th Meeting of the European Association of South Asian Archaeology in Ravenna, Italy, July 2007, vol. 2, eds. P. Callieri and Luca Colliva (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2010): 9-18.

College Service

  • Member, Asian Studies Program
  • Member, Digital Humanities Initiative Advisory Committee
  • Hamilton faculty representative, New York Independent College Consortium for Study in India

Professional Affiliations

American Academy of Religion
Association for Asian Studies
European Association of South Asian Archaeology

Professional Experience

  • Research fellow at the Kate Hamburger Collegiums’ project titled ‘Dynamics in the History of Religions,’ Ruhr University
  • Peer-reviewer for Modern Asian Studies Journal, Cambridge University Press
  • Consultant for a Bihar State Government and Archaeological Survey of India funded project for the Archaeological Survey of Bihar state, based at the K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., University of London
M.Phil., Jawaharlal Nehru University
M.A., Jawaharlal Nehru University
B.A. (Honors), Delhi University

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