Steven M. Vose

Professor Steven M. Vose
Assistant Professor • Bhagwan Suparshvanatha Endowed Professorship in Jain Studies

Office: Student Commons Building, Room 3116 


Mailing address: 
CU Denver History Department 
Campus Box 182 
P.O. Box 173364 
Denver, CO 80217-3364 

Physical Location: 
1201 Larimer Street 
Room 3102 
Denver, CO 80204 

Spring 2024 Office Hours: 11:00 - 12:15 pm on Tuesdays & Thursdays; and by appointment, please email me.

Cultural and Religious History of South Asia, South Asian Religious Traditions (Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam), History of Nonviolence, Religious and Ethno-Nationalism, Indian Ocean 


Ph.D., South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 2013 

M.T.S., Harvard University Divinity School, Cambridge, 2006 

B.A., Religious Studies, St. Lawrence University, Canton (NY), 2001 (Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) 

I hold the Bhagwan Suparshvanatha Endowed Professorship in Jain Studies. This professorship supports research and courses for undergraduates and graduate students on the history, philosophies, art, and culture of Jains and Jainism, a small but influential religious community originating in India ca. 5th-6th c. BCE. It also supports courses and programs aligned with Jain values, such as nonviolence, conflict resolution, social justice, human rights, sustainability, environmentalism, and animal rights at CU Denver.  


As a historian of South Asia, I research the politics, religion, and culture of the late medieval or Islamicate era (ca. 1200-1700) to the present. I examine the ways religious communities forge their relationships with political powers, focusing especially on the mercantile caste communities from western India (Gujarat, Rajasthan) who have practiced Jainism. I also research how neoliberalism and social media are fostering religious and ethno-nationalist politics in South Asia today, and explore their dimensions and implications for democracy in the region. 

My first book, Reimagining Jainism in Islamic India: Jain Intellectual Culture in the Delhi Sultanate (Routledge, forthcoming), focuses on Jain intellectual connections with the first major Islamicate empire in South Asia. I examine how traditional forms of monastic intellectual training (including Sanskrit and Prakrit grammar, belles lettres compositions, and religious and philosophical debate) facilitated relations between Jains and the Khalji and Tughluq sultans. These intellectually-minded monastic leaders also developed a new genre of narrative literature, the prabandha, in which they reconfigured the way Jains thought about their traditions and communities, connecting sacred geography and community properity to the new imperium. Reimagining Jainism won the Edward C. Dimock, Jr. Book Prize in the Indian Humanities from the American Institute of Indian Studies. 

My current book project, Globalizing Jainism, examines a contemporary Jain religious organization popular in diaspora communities in North America and the UK to understand how Jainism is, once again, being reimagined in the present moment. It focuses on the development and reification of the term “Jainism” from the late colonial era and traces the implications of disembedding religious ideas from the communities who practice them on the development of Jain attempts to assert certain “essential values” as central to what it means to “be Jain.” With the liberalization of the Indian economy in 1991 and the increasing influence of diaspora Jains on religious and cultural practices on Jain communities in India, this study examines the implications of diaspora interests and values on the development of new religious organizations that connect “spirituality” and charitable service to the current BJP government’s vision of India’s rise to economic prosperity and global leadership.   My theory interests as a historian include memory and oral history, the intersections of literary theory and historiography theory, and the integration of art, architecture, manuscripts, and other forms of material culture as evidence in historical interpretation.  

“Normalizing Nationalism through Social Media in Transnational Jain Communities,” The Immanent Frame (Nov. 30, 2022).


“Jain Memory of the Tughluq Sultans: Alternative Sources for the Historiography of Sultanate India,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 32, 1 (Jan. 2022), pp. 115-139. 

“Teaching Jainism Reimagined for the Survey Course and Beyond: Lived Religions Approaches,” Religious Studies Review 44, 4 (Dec. 2018), pp. 403-411. 

“Jain Uses of Citrakāvya and Multiple-Language Hymns in Late Medieval India: Situating the Laghukāvya Hymns of Jinaprabhasūri in the ‘Assembly of Poets’,” International Journal of Hindu Studies 20, 3 (Dec. 2016), pp. 309-337. 

HIST/RLST/ETST/INST/PHIL 3003/5003: From Buddha to #BlackLivesMatter: The Past and Future of Nonviolence

HIST/RLST/ETST/INST/CHIN 4002/5002: Race, Gender, and Religious Nationalisms in Asia and the U.S.

RLST 2660: World Religions (GT Pathways, Core)

RLST/PHIL 3410: Asian Philosophies & Religions