Diana Eck Biography
Diana Eck is Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University where she is chair of the Religion Department. Her academic work has a dual focus - India and America - and in both cases she is interested in the challenges of religious pluralism in a multi-religious society. Her work on India includes studies of popular religion and pilgrimage including Banaras: City of Light, Darsan: Seeing the Divine Image in India, and India: A Sacred Geography.
Since 1991, she has headed the Pluralism, a student and faculty think-tank that explores and interprets the religious dimensions of America's new immigration. The Pluralism Project looks especially at the growth of Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jain communities in the United States and the new issues of religious pluralism and American civil society. The Project's award-winning CD-ROM, On Common Ground: World Religions in America, was published in 1997. Diana Eck's book A New Religious America: How A "Christian Country" Has Become the World's Most Religiously Diverse Nation was published in 2001. In recognition of her ground-breaking work on America's fast-changing religious landscape, she received the National Humanities Medal from President Clinton and the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1998. As a native of Montana, she received the Montana Governor's Humanities Award in 2003. In 2005-06 she served as president of the American Academy of Religion.
In addition to her academic work in the University, Diana Eck has worked closely with churches on issues of inter-religious relations, including her own United Methodist Church and the World Council of Churches. She is currently chair of the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches. Her book Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey From Bozeman to Banaras is in the area of Christian theology and interfaith relations. It won the Grawemeyer Book Award in 1995 and the Melcher Lifetime Achievement Award from the Unitarian Universalist Association in 2003.
At Harvard University, Professor Eck and her spouse, the Rev. Dr. Dorothy Austin are Masters of Lowell House, one of the twelve undergraduate residence colleges.
This biography was last updated on 05/19/2009.
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