Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies, Harvard Divinity School
Diana Eck's academic work has a dual focus—India and America. Her work on India focuses on popular
religion, especially temples and places of pilgrimage, called tirthas. Her books include Banaras: City of Light and
Darsan: Seeing the Divine Image in India. Her current book project, "India: A Sacred Geography," to be published in 2011,
is on networks of pilgrimage in India.
Her work on the United States focuses especially on the challenges
of religious pluralism in a multireligious society. Since 1991,
she has headed the Pluralism Project,
which explores and interprets the religious dimensions of America's new immigration; the growth of Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh,
Jain, and Zoroastrian communities in the United States; and the new issues of religious pluralism and American civil society.
The Pluralism Project's award-winning CD-ROM, On Common Ground: World Religions in America, was published in 1997; her book
A New Religious America: How a "Christian Country" Has Become the World's Most Religiously Diverse
Nation was published in 2001. Her book Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey From Bozeman to Banaras
is in the area of
Christian theology and interfaith dialogue. It won the Grawemeyer Book
Award in 1995, and a 10th-anniversary edition was published in 2003.
Eck received the National Humanities Award from President Clinton
and the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1998, the Montana
Governor's Humanities Award in 2003, and the Melcher Lifetime
Achievement Award from the Unitarian Universalist Association in 2003.
In 2005-06 she served as president of the American Academy of
Religion. Eck has worked closely with churches on issues of
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.
In 2009 Eck delievered the Gifford Lectures at the University of
Edinburgh, a series of six lectures titled "The Age of Pluralism."