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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Religious Studies

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Faculty & Staff

Dheepa Sundaram

  • Dheepa Sundaram

    Dheepa Sundaram

Assistant Professor
Sturm Hall, Room 487F
Phone: 303-871-2888


PhD, University of Illinois in Comparative Literature (2014)
MA, University of Illinois in Comparative Literature (2010)


South Asian Media and Performance, Gender, Caste and Performance in South Asia Sanskrit and Tamil Poetics, Literature and Performance Digital Hinduism, Hindu Rituals, Practices and Traditions

Current Research/Teaching Interests

Dr. Sundaram teaches courses in South Asian ritual, performance, and literature, as well as in the religious traditions associated with the Indian subcontinent.  Regular offerings include a survey of Modern Hindu practices, Yoga in theory and practice, and an advanced seminar in the performance traditions of India. Additionally, Dr. Sundaram is developing new course offerings: "Women as the Gateway to Hell: Gender and Performance in South Asia" and "Surfing for Salvation: Religion in the Virtual Space" for the 2019/2020 school year. Dr. Sundaram's current research focuses on commercial exchange of Hindu religious rituals online and digital religious practices on social media platforms. She is currently working on book titled Globalizing Darśan: Virtual Soteriology and the Making of Hindu Brand. A forthcoming article titled "Instagram your Durga Puja!: As Social Media Experience of Durga Puja" will be coming out in the Summer 2019 in the International Journal of Hindu Studies.


Dheepa Sundaram is an Assistant Professor of Hinduism and Hindu Studies at the University of Denver beginning in the Autumn of 2018. She holds undergraduate degrees in Comparative Literature and Religious Studies from Indiana University (2000) and a MA (2010) and Ph.D. in Comparative and World Literatures from the University of Illinois (2014) with a focus on Sanskrit and Tamil performance traditions and intersections of ritual, poetics, and politics in modern Tamil drama. Her teaching and research interests include Hindu ritual and praxis in digital contexts, Sanskrit language/aesthetics/drama, South Asian religious traditions/mythologies/literatures, South Indian performance and ritual traditions, and Postcolonial and Cultural studies. During her postdoctoral work at Columbia University, she worked on developing the SARIT database of Sanskrit texts funded by an NEH grant and now housed at the University of Heidelberg. Recently, she was awarded a Mellon fellowship to attend the Digital Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Victoria and fellowship and honorarium through the Wabash College Early Career Teaching Workshop in Theology and Religion to develop an interdisciplinary teaching project. Dr. Sundaram's current book project Globalizing Darśan: Virtual Soteriology and Hindu Branding explores the lucrative world of Hinduism online and considering the ways in which the saleability of Hinduism impact the growth of ethno-nationalist ideologies within Indian socio-political arenas. Additionally, Dr. Sundaram is member of the American Academy of Religion, American Comparative Literature Association, and the Center for Media and Religion.


Selected forthcoming publications include: "Instagram your Durga Puja" A Social Media Experience of Durga Puja" in the Internation Journal of Hindu Studies (forthcoming Summer 2019); The Puranas: A Reader Edited by Dheepa Sundaram and Deven Patel (University of Pennsylvania) (forthcoming Spring 2019) and "Devadasis as Aesthetic Travelers and Political Performers: Performative Anticolonial Activism in Colonial Tamil State" slated for publication in an edited volume which is forthcoming in Spring of 2020.