Prof. Smriti Srinivas

Smriti Srinivas is Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. Srinivas’ research interests include cities and urban cultures, religion, the body, South Asia within a comparative context and Indian Ocean worlds. Her most recent work, Devotional Spaces of a Global Saint: Shirdi Sai Baba’s Presence (2022), is a co-edited volume with Neelima Jeychandran and Allen Roberts, and focuses on the presence and contemporaneity of Shirdi Sai Baba (d.1918), who has a vast following in postcolonial South Asia and an ever-growing global diaspora. The book expands the boundaries of the study of Shirdi Sai Baba and makes important contributions to South Asia Studies, Anthropology, Religious Studies, Global Studies, Urban Studies, Indian Ocean Studies, Inter-Asian Studies, Visual and Media Studies, and Cultural Geography.

She currently serves on the advisory board of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Studies and the editorial board of Contemporary South Asia. She isSeries Editor, Routledge Series on the Indian Ocean and Trans-Asia:

More information is available at her institutional website here.

Selected Publications



  • (2022) “Beyond the Rim: Centering Cities in Indian Ocean Worlds.” Verge: Studies in Global Asias, 8.1: Indian Ocean Studies, Afro-Asian Affinities, pp. 3-11. 
  • (2021) “Timelines and Lifelines: Landscape Practices and Religious Refabulations from South Asia” In Istvan Keul, ed. Spaces of Religion in Urban South Asia. London/New York: Routledge, pp. 128-143.
  • (2019) “Gardens, Cities and Timescapes in South Asia.” In Keith Jacobs and Jeff Malpas, edited Philosophy and the City. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 133-145.
  • (2019) “The Challenge of Urban Space.” In Sanjay Srivastava, Yasmeen Arif, and Janaki Abraham, edited Critical Themes in Indian Sociology. New Delhi: Sage Publishers, pp. 402-418.
  • (2018) Spirited Topographies: Religion and Urban Place-Making. Edited roundtable (with Mary Hancock) for Journal for the American Academy of Religion,
  • (2018) “Ordinary Cities and Milieus of Innovation.” (With Mary Hancock). In Mary Hancock and Smriti Srinivas, edited Roundtable on Spirited Topographies: Religion and Urban Place-Making, Journal of the American Academy of Religion,
  • (2018) “Highways for Healing: Contemporaneous ‘Temples’ and Religious Movements in an Indian City” In Mary Hancock and Smriti Srinivas, edited Roundtable on Spirited Topographies: Religion and Urban Place-Making, Journal of the American Academy of Religion,
  • (2016) “Roadside Shrines, Storefront Saints, and Twenty-First Century Lifestyles: The Cultural and Spatial Thresholds of Indian Urbanism.” In Place/No Place: Spatial Aspects of Urban Asian Religiosity, Joanne Waghorne, ed. Singapore: Asia Research Institute-Springer Asia Series, pp: 131-147.
  • (2014) Sathya Sai Baba and the repertoire of yoga. In Gurus of Modern YogaEllen Goldberg and Mark Singleton (Eds.), Oxford/NY: Oxford University Press, pp. 261-279.
  • (2012) Urban forms of religious practice. In Vasudha Dalmia and Rashmi Sadana (Eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Modern Indian Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 67-79.
  • (2008) with Mary Hancock. Spaces of modernity: Religion and the urban in Asia and Africa. In Mary Hancock and Smriti Srinivas (Eds.) Symposium on Religion and the Formation of Modern Urban Space in Asia and Africa, pp. 617-709. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Vol. 32 (3): 617-630.
  • (2005) with James Heitzman. Warrior goddess versus bipedal cow: Sport, space, performance and planning in an Indian city. In James Mills (Ed.) Subaltern Sports: Politics and Sport in South Asia. London: Anthem Press: 139-171.
  • (2002) Cities of the past and cities of the future: Theorizing the Indian metropolis of Bangalore. In John Eade and Christopher Mele (Eds.) Understanding the City: Contemporary and Future Perspectives. Oxford: Blackwell: 247-277.
  • (2001) The advent of the avatar: The urban following of Sathya Sai Baba and its construction of tradition. In Vasudha Dalmia, Angelika Malinar, and Martin Christof (Eds.) Charisma and Canon: Essays on the Religious History of the Indian Subcontinent. Delhi: Oxford University Press: 293-309.

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