Robert Eric Frykenberg

Emeritus Professor


Curriculum Vitae (pdf)


Born (1930) and reared in India, trained in America and Britain (Ph.D., London [SOAS], 1961), he came to Wisconsin in 1962. Founded SAMP (South Asia Microfilm Project) in 1963. Chairman, Department of South Asian Studies and Director of South Asia Studies Center from 1970 to 1973. Founded annual Wisconsin Conference on South Asian Studies in 1972, an international event that attracts over five-hundred participants. Directed Pew RAPs (Research Advancement Project (1994-1999); and served on board of Pew Research Enablement Project (New Haven CT:1993-1999). As visiting fellow of All Soul’s College, delivered Radhakrishnan Memorial Lectures at Oxford University in 1998 (Trinity Term): “India’s Raj: Indigenous Ingredients in the Construction of the Imperial System.” Emeritus status began in 1998. Murdoch University International Scholar for 2009 (Lectures, October-November).


Ph.D., University of London (1961)
M.A., University of Minnesota (1953)
B.A., Bethel College, MN (1951)

Selected Publications

  • Christianity in India: Beginnings to the Present (0UP, 2008).
  • Pandita Ramabai’s America: A Translation from Marathi of her “Conditions of Life in the United States, 1889” (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), in collaboration Philip Engblom & Shitija Gomes.
  • Tirunelveli’s Evangelical Christians: Two Centuries of Family Vamsâvali Traditions (Bangalore: SAIACS, 2003), with D. & S Packiamuthu and Chris Barrigar.
  • Christians and Missionaries in India: Cross-Cultural Communication since 1500 (London: RoutledgeCurzon; and Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003).
  • Christians, Cultural Interactions and India=s Religious Traditions (London: RoutledgeCurzon; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), with Judith M. Brown.
  • History and Belief: The Foundations of Historical Understanding (Grand Rapids: Eerdmanns, 1996) delved into philosophical issues and provided a framework for work on the history of religious movements in India.
  • Delhi Through the Ages (New Delhi, Oxford 1986, 1993).
  • Land Tenure and Peasant in South Asia (Madison, New Delhi: 1977, 1981).
  • Land Control and Social Structure in Indian History (Madison 1969; New Delhi 1978).
  • Guntur District, 1788-1848: A History of Local Influence and Central Authority (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965).

Among over sixty articles, chapters, and essays are items pertaining to the history of Christianity, Hinduism and Christian Missions, such as:

  • “On Roads and Riots in Tinnevelly: Radical Change and Ideology in Madras Presidency During the 19th Century,” South Asia, IV, 2 (December, 1982), 34‑52.
  • “Modern Education in South India, 1784‑1854: Its Roots and Its Role as a Vehicle of Integration under Company Raj”, The American Historical Review 91, 1 (February, 1986), 37-65.
  • “The Concept of ‘Majority’ as a Devilish Force in the Politics of Modern India,” Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, XXV: 3 (November, 1987), 267-274.
  • “The Emergence of Modern ‘Hinduism’ As a Concept and As an Institution: A Reappraisal With Special Reference to South India,” Hinduism Reconsidered (Heidelberg: 1989), 1-29, edited by Gunther Sontheimer and Hermann Kulke (reissued in New Delhi: Manohar Books, 1997), 82-107.
  • “Constructions of Hinduism At the Nexus of History and Religion,” Journal of Interdisciplin­ary History, XXIII: 3 (Winter 1993), 523-550.
  • “Hindu Fundamentalism and the Structural Stability of India,” Fundamental­isms and the State: Remaking Polities, Economies, and Militance (Chicago: 1993), 233-55; and “Fundamental­isms in South Asia: Ideologies and Institutions in Historical Perspective,” Accounting for Fundamentalisms: The Dynamic Character of Movements (Chicago: 1994), 589-614, edited by Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby.
  • “India: An Historical Overview,” The World History of Christianity (London: Cassell, 1999).
  • “Christian Missions and the Raj,” Missions and Empire (Oxford: OUP, 2005), edited by Norman Etherington.
  • “Christians and Religious Traditions under the Indian Empire, 1815-1914,’ Cambridge History of Christianity, Vol 8 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), edited by Sheridan Gilley and Brian Stanley


  • ACLS-SSRC (four)
  • Carnegie
  • Ford
  • Fulbright
  • Guggenheim
  • Senior NEH
  • Rockefeller
  • UW-Humanities Institute

History Courses Taught

  • History 443 – History of India: The Age of Empires
  • History 444 – History of Modern India: The Age of Gandhi
  • History 757/857 – Pro-seminars & Research Seminars in Indian History
  • History 753 – Pro-Seminars in Comparative World History