Wesleyan portrait of Peter S. Gottschalk

Peter S. Gottschalk

Professor of Religion

171 Church Street,

Academic Secretary

Professor, Global South Asian Studies

Professor, Education Studies

Professor, Science and Technology Studies

Professor, History


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BA College of the Holy Cross
MA University of Wisconsin at Madison
PHD University of Chicago

Peter S. Gottschalk

Peter Gottschalk's research concentrates on the dynamics of cultural interpretation and conflict at the intersections of Muslim, Hindu, Christian, secular, and scientific traditions in India, Britain, and the United States. He is interested particularly in understanding how assumptions of mutual antagonism form between groups despite evidence of religious confluence, and how emotion, comparison, and categories work in how we know the world. 

He has explored these themes in South Asia—with a focus on Bihar—in Religion, Science, and Empire: Classifying Hindus and Muslims in British India (2012) and Beyond Hindu and Muslim: Multiple Identity in Narratives from Village India (2000). He has also co-edited Engaging South Asian Religions: Boundaries, Appropriations, and Resistance (2011). In regard to the United States, he has authored American Heretics: Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and the History of Religious Intolerance (2013) and co-authored Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Sentiment: Picturing Muslims as the Enemy (2018).

Peter Gottschalk's interest in religious and cultural confluence, coexistence, and conflict derives from many sources.  Raised in the United States by immigrant parents and receiving various forms of liberal education, he grew up with a sharpening awareness of forms of exclusion around him and in his family's place of origin.  Meanwhile, a deepening interest in theories of hermeneutics and cross-cultural interpretation that began during his undergraduate education at the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA) made the study of religious traditions all the more compelling due to their tendency to create communities of interpretation quite separate from the communities that neighbor them.  At the University of Chicago, Peter completed a Ph.D., continuing his graduate studies in religion and South Asia that began with his work for a Master's Degree at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

SPRING 2024: 

Zoom drop-in hours: Tuesday 2-3 pm

Office drop-in hours: Wednesday 2 -3 pm, Religion (171 Church Street) Room 103

Meetings also by appointment



Spring 2024
RELI 221 - 01
Islam and Muslim Cultures

RELI 398 - 01
Majors Colloquium

Fall 2024
FILM 318 - 01
Awesome Cinema

RELI 209F - 01
Religion, Science, & Empire