Prabhavati Reddy

Prabhavati Reddy
Professorial Lecturer
2106 G St. NW
Department of Religion
Washington, District Of Columbia
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

Hinduism, Art History, Women's Studies

Dr. Prabhavati Reddy is adjunct professor of Hinduism and Indian religions. Professor Reddy joined the GWU faculty in 2007. She was an Andrew Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at Northwestern University where she taught courses in Hinduism and Indian religions from 2001-03.   

Reddy is interested in the historical development of Hindu traditions in classical and modern periods with reference to constructive theological frameworks, religious authority and identity, shifting patterns of religions in response to sociological and political processes.  Her forthcoming book - to be published by Routledge Press as a part of their renowned Hinduism series – explores the phenomenon of pilgrimage as a religious practice and experience and examines Srisailam, a renowned south Indian pilgrimage site of Shiva and Goddess Durga. In doing so, it investigates two dimensions: the worldview of a place that is of utmost sanctity for Hindu pilgrims and its historical evolution from medieval to modern times.

Her next two books focus on the topics of Indian art history and Women’s studies. The art project involves the study of visual culture of South Indian society based on 2,400 narrative reliefs carved on the gigantic Prakara enclosure of Srisailam temple campus. A three dimensional study of Prakara art focuses on the phenomena of divine through the concepts of transcendence and immanence, implied cultural ideologies of different social groups, and important tenets of Hindu pilgrimage culture presented on visual plane.

The Women’s studies project will explore different aspects of a Flower goddess Bathukamma and with reference to rich oral tradition of folk songs, dance performances, annual festivals, and worship practices within the broader context of Hindu goddess traditions. In broadest sense, this work reconstructs a cultural history of Telugu women and their struggles in a largely agrarian society and particularly in reference to how Bathukamma was/is perceived as renewal of life and hope in the lives of Telangana women.


Ph.D   South Asian Studies (formerly Sanskrit and Indian Studies), Harvard University

M.A.   Asian Studies, The University of Texas, Austin

M.A and M.Phil   Ancient Indian History & Archaeology, Osmania University

B.A.   History and Political Science, Osmania University



Hindu Pilgrimage: Shifting Patterns of Worldview of Srisailam in South India,       
Routledge Hinduism Series (forthcoming March 2014)

The Prakara Art of Srisailam, Visual Culture of Medieval South Indian Society and Religion (completion in 2014)

Bathukamma: Unheard Voices of Telugu Women from Telangana in South India

(completion in 2015)


“Who has Privileged Authority and Who has Acquired Authority to Speak for Hinduism in America?”  In Deepak Sarma, Ed., Authority and Its Challenges in Hindu Texts, Translations, and Transnational Communities, (Virginia: Deepak Heritage Books, 2009), pp. 92-105.

“The Narrative Art of Srisailam Prakara, A Visual Purana,” Artibus Asiae LXVIII: 1(2008): 57-99.         

“Vishnu’s Universe in Ritual Space: The Abhisheka Consecration of Penn Hills’ Sri Venkatesvara,” Journal of Ritual Studies 20:2 (2006): 1-18, figures and plates.