Diana L. Eck

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Diana L. Eck (born 1945 in Bozeman, Montana) is a religious scholar who is Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University, as well as a Master of Lowell House and the Director of The Pluralism Project at Harvard. Among other works, she is the author of Banaras, City of Light, Darsan: Seeing the Divine Image in India, Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras, and A New Religious America: How a Christian Country Became the World's Most Religiously Diverse Nation. At Harvard, she is in the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, the Committee on the Study of Religion, and is also a member of the Faculty of Divinity. She has been reappointed the chair for the Committee on the Study of Religion, a position which she held from 1990 to 1998.


Raised as a Christian Methodist in Montana, Eck later embraced Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist beliefs about spirituality and now she describes her religious ideals as "interfaith" infrastructures.[1] She has been connected with the World Council of Churches, and Harvard Divinity School.

Interest in other religions[edit]

Eck was Eck received her B.A. in Religious Studies from Smith College in 1967, and her M.A. in South Asian History from The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 1968. In 1976 she received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in the Comparative Study of Religion.

Since 1991, Diana Eck has also turned her attention to the United States and has been heading a research team at Harvard University to explore the new religious diversity of the United States and its meaning for the American pluralist experiment. The Pluralism Project has developed an affiliation with many other colleges and universities across the country and around the world. In 1994, Diana Eck and the Pluralism Project published "World Religions in Boston, A Guide to Communities and Resources" which introduces the many religious traditions and communities in Boston, Massachusetts - from Native Americans, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, to Zoroastrians. In 1997, Diana Eck and the Pluralism Project published an educational multimedia CD Rom, "On Common Ground: World Religions in America" (Columbia University Press). This CD Rom received awards from Media & Methods, EdPress, and Educom.

In 2001, her book A New Religious America was published. It deals with the new religious diversity in the United States. Eck is married to the Reverend Dorothy Austin.[citation needed]

First LGBT Master at Harvard[edit]

In 1998, Eck and Dorothy Austin became the first same-sex couple to be masters of Lowell House,[2] one of the twelve undergraduate residences at Harvard.


1995 Eck was the recipient of the University of Louisville and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary Grawemeyer Award in Religion.[3]

In 1996, Prof. Eck was appointed to a U.S. State Department Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad, a twenty-member commission charged with advising the Secretary of State on enhancing and protecting religious freedom in the overall context of human rights.

In 1998, President Bill Clinton and the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded her the National Humanities Medal for her work on religious pluralism in the United States.

In 2002, Diana Eck received the Martin Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion from the American Academy of Religion

In 2003, Diana Eck received the Montana Humanities Award from the Governor of Montana

In 2007, Professor Eck was made a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts of the USA

In 2013, Diana Eck was elected an Honorary Fellow by the Governing Body on the recommendation of the Academic Board of her alma mater, SOAS, University of London


  • J. Krishnamurti: The Pathless Way (1968). International Center for Integrative Studies, 14 pages.
  • Darsan: Seeing the Divine Image in India (1981). Columbia University Press 1998 paperback: ISBN 0-231-11265-3.
  • Banaras, City of Light (1982). Columbia University Press 1998 paperback: ISBN 0-231-11447-8.
  • Speaking of Faith: Global Perspectives on Women, Religion, and Social Change (written with Devaki Jain) (1987).
  • The Manyness of God (1987). St. Lawrence University, 16 p.
  • Devotion Divine: Bhakti Traditions from the Regions of India, essays to honor French Indologist Charlotte Vaudeville (edited with Francoise Mallison) (1991). John Benjamins Pub. Co., ISBN 90-6980-045-4.
  • Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras (1993). Beacon Press, 2nd edition 2003: ISBN 0-8070-7301-6. Won the Unitarian Universalist Melcher Award (1994) and the Grawemeyer Book Award (1995).
  • On Common Ground: World Religions In America (1997). Columbia Univ Press. multimedia presentation on CD ROM 2nd edition (2001): ISBN 0-231-12664-6.
  • New Religious America: How A "Christian Country" Has Become The World's Most Religiously Diverse Nation (2001). HarperSanFrancisco, 2002 paperback: ISBN 0-06-062159-1.
  • India: A Sacred Geography. Crown Publishing Group, 2012. ISBN 0-385-53191-5.


  1. ^ Kahn, Mattie. 2011. Ten Questions with Diana L. Eck. The Harvard Crimson
  2. ^ Eck, Austin Named New Lowell Masters, The Harvard Crimson, March 13, 1998, accessed November 10, 2007.
  3. ^ "2005- Diana L. Eck". 

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