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Dr. James Hastings

Associate Professor, History
History & Political Science

Contact Information

Office Phone
Burris 16-a


Ph.D, South Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison 2002
M.A., South Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison 1993
B.A., Comparative Literature, Reed College 1974



After college, I was a jack-of-all-trades, working as a postal worker, waiter, private detective, and professional chef before heading for graduate school. Having traveled to India several times and become enamored of its culture, I decided to engage in formal graduate study focused on the religions of India in order to share my passion with others. Ultimately, I ended up teaching about the history and culture of not just India, but of much of Asia as well. My lesson: it's never too late to pursue your passion. 


Employed Since


  • Hindu and Jain monastic traditions
  • The historiography of Southeast Asia
  • Asian foodways


  • “Sensory Experiences as Elements of Asian Studies Field Trips” in Education About Asia, Vol. 19, no. 1 (Spring 2014): 44-47
  • “Bikaner” and “Rajasthan” in India Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Republic edited by Arnold P. Kaminsky and Roger D. Long (Greenwood Publishing, 2011)
  • “Renouncing Renunciation: Viraha Bhakti, Veer Bhakti and the Rajput Ethos among Dadupanthi Nagas, circa 1660-1860 CE” in Incompatible Visions: South Asian Religions in History and Culture edited by James Blumenthal (Madison: University of Wisconsin – Center for South Asia, 2006)
  • “Poets, Warriors and Brothers: The Shifting Identities of Rajput Dadupanthis, circa 1660-1860 CE” in Culture, Communities and Change edited by Varsha Joshi (Jaipur: Rawat Publications and Institute of Rajasthan Studies, 2002)


  • Why Jainism: Incorporating Jainism into the Undergraduate Curriculum
    ASIANetwork Annual Conference, San Diego, April 2019
  • India at 70: A Review of its Progress and Possibilities
    World Affairs Council of Charlotte, June 2017
  • Identity & Revival in a Jain Pilgrimage Center
    ASIANetwork Annual Conference, St. Louis, April 2015
  • What Every Student Needs to Know about India: Approaches to Teaching India as an Element of World History Teaching about India Conference, UNC-Asheville, September 2013
  • Incense, Spices and Stinky Tofu: Sensory Experiences as Elements of Asian Studies Field Trips
    Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting, San Diego, April 2013
  • On the Margins: Southeast Asia in the World History Curriculum
    World History Association Symposium on Southeast Asia, Siem Reap, Cambodia, January 2012
  • Marching to Drumbeats: Processions and the Delineation of Jain Identity in a South Indian Pilgrim Center
    American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, San Francisco, November 2011
  • Glory Days: The “Renaissance” of a Digambar Jain Pilgrimage Complex
    Annual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin-Madison, October 2009 [panel chair]
  • Tradition and Modernity in the Jain Bhattaraka Traditions of Karnataka
    American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, San Diego, November 2007
  • Devotional Religious Movements in Medieval Rajasthani History
    Invited lecture, Jain Vishwa Bharati Institute and University, Ladnun (Rajasthan), India July 2006



  • Japan Foundation Fellowship for Japan Studies Workshop at Belmont University, 2014
  • Freeman Foundation Fellowship, Japan Studies Association’s Summer Institute for Infusing Japan Studies into the Undergraduate Curriculum, Honolulu, 2013
  • WINGS Grant to attend World History Association Symposium on Southeast Asia in Cambodia, 2012
  • Wingate University Spivey Instructorship, 2011-2012
  • NEH Fellowship for Summer Institute at East West Center, Hawaii on The Dynamics of Cultural Unity and Diversity in Southeast Asia, 2011
  • Wingate University Friends of the Library Faculty Award, 2010
  • WINGS Grant for Faculty Research in India, Summer 2009
  • Fellowship, International Summer School for Jain Studies in India, Summer 2006
  • American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) Junior Research Fellowship, 1997-98
  • American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) Hindi Language Fellowship in Varanasi (India), 1996-97

Courses I Teach

Courses I Teach
  • GPS/HIST 320
  • HIST 315: Modern East Asia
  • HIST 321: Culture and History of Japan
  • HIST 323: Southeast Asia: Crossroads of Cultures
  • W'International: Singapore & Malaysia
  • W'International: Cambodia
  • W'International: Taiwan

Interesting Fact About Me

Interesting Fact About Me
  • I once climbed to the top of the Grand Teton, 13,775 feet.
  • In college, I had interesting encounters with Allen Ginsberg and Andy Warhol
  • In 2009, the Jain pilgrimage town of Shravanabelagola, India held a day in my honor.

What I Love About Wingate

What I Love About Wingate

Working with highly motivated students and helping those who need some motivation.