Thomas Hansen is the Reliance-Dhirubhai Ambani Professor in South Asian Studies and Professor in Anthropology. He is also the Director of Stanford’s Center for South Asian Studies where he is charged with building a substantial new program. He has many and broad interests spanning South Asia and Southern Africa, several cities and multiple theoretical and disciplinary interests from political theory and continental philosophy to psychoanalysis, comparative religion and contemporary urbanism.
Much of Professor Hansen’s fieldwork was conducted during the tumultuous and tense years in the early 1990s when conflicts between Hindu militants and Muslims defined national agendas and produced frequent violent clashes in the streets. Out of this work came two books: The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India (Princeton 1999), which explores the larger phenomenon of Hindu nationalism in the light of the dynamics of India’s democratic experience, and Wages of Violence: Naming and Identity in Postcolonial Bombay (Princeton 2001) which explores the historical processes and contemporary conflicts that led to the rise of violent socioreligious conflict and the renaming of the city in 2005.