Robert Eric Frykenberg

Position title: Emeritus Professor


Phone: 608.230.3533

Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Roert E. Frykenburg headshot


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

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

  • India’s History, India’s Raj: Essays in Historical Understanding (New Delhi: Primus Books, 2023), Pp. xiii, 729.  ISBN: 978-93-91144-44-9 (Hardback)  ISBN: 978-93-91144-52-4
  • “’The Lutheran Aggression Controversy’: Caste and Class Conflict of Christians in 19th Century South India,” Chapter 14, Ecumenism and Independency in World Christianity: Historical Studies in Honour of Brian Stanley (Leiden/Boston: Koninklijke Brill NV, 2020). Edited by Alexander Chow & Emma Wild-Wood.
  • “The Sacred in Modern Hindu Politics: Historical Processes Underlying Hinduism and Hindutva,” Hinduism in India: Vol. 2. Modern and Contemporary Movements (Delhi, London, :Sage Publications 2018)
  • “Secularism, Statecraft and the State in India: An Historical and Interpretive Overview,” In Quest of the Historian’s Craft: Essays in Honour of Professor B. B. Chaudhuri. Volume II: The Polity, Society, and Culture (Delhi: Manohar, 2017 [ISBN: 978-93-5098-179-5], Part II, Ch. 19, pp. 515-41. Edited by Arun Bandopadhay and Sanjukta Das Gupta
  • “Hindutva as a Political Religion: An Historical Perspective,” The Sacred in Twentieth-Century Politics: Essays in Honour of Professor Stanley G. Payne (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan [Macmillan], 2008),pp. 178-220. Edited by Robert Mallett, John Tortorice and Roger Griffin.
  • “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
  • “Christian Missions and the Raj,” Missions and Empire (Oxford: OUP, 2005), edited by Norman Etherington.
  • “India: An Historical Overview,” The World History of Christianity (London: Cassell, 1999).
  • “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.
  • “Constructions of Hinduism At the Nexus of History and Religion,” Journal of Interdisciplin­ary History, XXIII: 3 (Winter 1993), 523-550.
  • “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.
  • “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.
  • “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.
  • “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.


  • 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