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Joseph Prabhu

Office: E&T A421
Phone: (323) 343-4177
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I have been teaching at CSULA since 1978, although I have also in that time been a visiting professor at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, Harvard, Occidental College, Boston University and universities in India and Germany. My interests are quite broad, spanning metaphysics and ethics to comparative religion and social and political theory. At the moment (2012) I am working on three books, in various stages of completion: Liberating Gandhi: Community, Empire and a Culture of Peace, Human Rights in Cross-Cultural Perspective and Hegel, India and the Dark Face of Modernity. Broadly speaking, my interests are in bringing philosophical and spiritual perspectives to bear on ethical and political issues. My approach is both interdisciplinary and cross-cultural. I used to co-edit the journal ReVision, a quarterly dealing with issues of philosophy, spirituality and psychology, and am active in peace, human rights and inter-religious movements, local, national and international. I have been a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University and at the Martin Marty Center of the University of Chicago.

In terms of professional responsibilities, I was the past President of the Society of Asian and Comparative Philosophy (2008-2010) Member, Board of Trustees, Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions, and the Program Chair for the Melbourne Parliament, 2009, the Program Chair of the Philosophy of Religion section of the American Academy of Religion, and the local (Los Angeles) co-Chair of the Southern California Committee for a Parliament of the World's Religions (SSCPWR).


Teaching Interests

My teaching reflects my broader interests. Here at CSULA, I have for thirty-four years taught an introduction to philosophy course concentrating on human values and views about reality and knowledge. At a more advanced level, I teach courses on Indian/Asian philosophy, 19 and 20C European philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of religion, and social and political theory. My goals in teaching are threefold: 1. to actually do philosophy in the classroom, so that students learn how to think for themselves, 2. to provide students with both worldviews and detailed arguments, so that they are exposed to the excitement and rigor of the subject, and 3. to show the practical relevance of such thinking to their personal lives and the world at large. As a philosopher I try to get myself and my students to believe what is true, to do what is right, and to love what is beautiful.

I was for my efforts awarded the Outstanding Professor Award of CSULA, 2004-2005.


Research Interests

My research interests are closely tied up with my teaching and publications. In addition to the three projects mentioned above, I also have been asked to do a book, based on my lectures, tentatively called Globalization and the Encounter of Religions, dealing with religions in their socio-cultural contexts, and the conflicts and possibilities for cooperation within and between them in areas of civil society, cosmopolitanism, human rights, economic organization, and peace and justice. Having been trained in three disciplines (philosophy, religion and economics) and three cultures (Indian, German and North American), I hope to provide a broad perspective on these topics.



Panikkar as Modern Spiritual Master, forthcoming, Orbis Books, New York, 2012.
Indian Ethics: Justice, Law, and Applied Ethics, Vol. 2, co-edited with P. Bilimoria, forthcoming, Springer Press, 2012.
Indian Ethics: Classical Traditions and Contemporary Challenges, Vol 1, co-edited with P. Bilimoria, Ashgate Press, 2007.
The Intercultural Challenge of Raimon Panikkar, ed. Joseph Prabhu, Orbis Books, New York, 1996.

Works in Progress
Liberating Gandhi: Community, Empire, and a Culture of Peace
Human Rights in Cross-Cultural Perspective
Hegel, India, and the Dark Face of Modernity
Encyclopedia of Indian Christianity, 2 vols., ed. Joseph Prabhu

Selected Articles 2004-2012 (*For a complete list, see my CV.)
• Indian and Comparative Philosophy
“Modernity in South Asian Perspective,” in Heidelberg Encyclopedia on South Asia: Key Topics, Gita Dharampal-Frick and Monica Kirloskar, eds., Heidelberg: South Asian Institute, forthcoming 2012.
Encyclopedia of India, Stanley Wolpert, ed. Scribner’s/MacMillan, 2005. Four articles on Samkara, Ramanuja, Upanishadic Philosophy, and Early Indian Educational Philosophy, 2006.
“The Trajectories of Hindu Ethics,” in The Blackwell Companion to Religious Ethics, William Schweiker, ed. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Company, 2005.
• Hegelian Studies
“Hegel and the Non-European ‘Other’ in Post-Colonial Philosophy of Religion, P. Bilimoria, ed. Man in India, 2010.
• Panikkar
“Bede Griffiths and Raimon Panikkar on the Trinity,” in Bede Griffiths: A Centenary Celebration, Thomas Mateus and Joseph Wong, eds., Forthcoming, Paulist Press, New York, 2011.
“Introduction to Rhythm of Being by Raimon Panikkar, The Gifford Lectures, given in Edinburgh in 1989. Orbis Books, 2010, xv-xxiii.
“Raimon Panikkar’s Advaitic Pluralism,” in Festschrift for Raimon Panikkar on his 90th Birthday, Kala Acharya, ed., Jaca Books, Venice and Somaiya Publishing, Mumbai, 2008.
“Panikkar’s Cosmotheandric Intuition,” in The Cross-Cultural Achievement of Ramon Panikkar, Ignasi Boada, ed. Barcelona: UNESCO, 2004.
• Human Rights
“Human Rights and Intercultural Conversation,” in Religions After 9/11, Arvind Sharma and Madhu Khanna, eds. Delhi: Jamia Milia University, forthcoming, 2012.
“Human Rights in Cross-Cultural Perspective,” Proceedings of the United Nations Conference on Human Rights and Traditional Cultures, U.N Publication, Geneva, 2011.
• Gandhi
“Gandhi and the Indian Ethical Tradition,” Proceedings of the Osnabrueck International Peace Conference, Stephan Schlensog, ed., 2012.
“Gandhi’s Philosophy of Economics,” in Gandhi and George Grant, Arati Barua, ed., Oxford University Press, Delhi, 2009.
“Gandhi’s Ethical Philosophy,” in The Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi for the Twenty-First Century, Douglas Allen, ed. Rowman and Littlefield, 2008.
“Gandhi’s Religious Ethics as Touchstone, “ in Festschrift for Bettina Baeumer, Indira Gandhi Center for the Arts, New Delhi, 2005.
• Postcolonialism
“Philosophy in an Age of Postcolonialism,” Australian Journal of Religion, forthcoming Winter, 2012.
“Cross-Cultural Hermeneutics After Hegel,” in Proceedings of the International Conference on Modernity,Critique and Humanism, Roberto Cantu and Bidhan Roy, eds. forthcoming 2012.
• Philosophy of Religion
“Conversion in an Ecumenical Age,” in Proceedings of the Claremont Graduate University Philosophy of Religion Colloquium, Ingolf Dalferth, ed., forthcoming, 2012.
• Peace Studies
“Peacemaking from Practice to Theory,” in S. Nan, Z. Mampilly & A. Bartoli, eds., Encyclopedia of Peace and Conflict Resolution Vol 1, Praeger, Amsterdam, 2012.
“The Clash or the Dialogue of Civilizations?” in Gary Kessler, ed., Voices of Wisdom, 5th ed., Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2004, pp. 14-15


Educational Background

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Last Update: 6/7/2012