Areas of Specialization: Religions of India, Indian Judaism, History of Religions, Spirituality
Office: DM 305A
Narrative Curriculum Vita
NATHAN KATZ is Distinguished Professor in the School of International and Public Affairs, the Bhagwan Mahavir Professor of Jain Studies, Director of Jewish Studies and Academic Director of the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, and founder and director emeritus of the innovative Program in the Study of Spirituality, at Florida International University in Miami. He is the author of fifteen books and more than one hundred scholarly and popular articles. He has won four Fulbright awards for research and teaching in South Asia, where he has lived for more than seven years. The Florida Humanities Council an unprecedented has named him a “Master Teacher” twelve times, and in 1994 his classroom excellence was recognized with a Florida State University System Teaching Incentive Program award. In 1999 he won the President’s Award for Achievement and Excellence, the most prestigious distinction awarded by FIU. His Who Are the Jews of India? was a Finalist for the 2000 National Jewish Book Award in Sephardic Studies and also earned the 2004 Vak Devi Saraswati Saman Award from India. Dr. Katz came to FIU in 1994, where he developed and chaired a Program in Jewish Studies. In 1995 he became the founding chair of the Department of Religious Studies. At FIU, he has also been very active in developing both the Jewish Studies and Asian Studies Programs. He was responsible for the visits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to FIU in 1999, 2004 and 2010, as well as honorary doctorate awards to Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz and Professor Hans Küng. He was Kaufman Professor of Entrepreneurship in the College of Business Administration and lectures in the Medicine and Society curriculum at the Hebert Wertheim College of Medicine. Dr. Katz came to FIU after ten years at the University of South Florida in Tampa, where he was Professor and Graduate Program Director of Religious Studies, Director of the South Asian Studies Program, Director of the Judaic Studies Program, and Vice-Chair of the University Graduate Council. He was named USF’s Scholar-of-the-Year in 1990. He had previously served on the faculties of Williams College in Massachusetts and Naropa University in Colorado Before earning his Ph.D. with distinction at Temple University, he spent two years with the U.S. Information Agency in Kabul, Afghanistan. More recently, he was Visiting Scholar in the Centre for Historical Studies, jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and Visiting Scholar at the David Hartman Institute, Jerusalem. Dr Katz’s research spans the religious traditions of South Asia and focuses on Indo-Judaic Studies. He has written more than a dozen books about Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism. His books include The Last Jews of Cochin: Jewish Identity in Hindu India (co-autor, 1993), Ethnic Conflict in Buddhist Societies: Sri Lanka, Thailand and Burma (co-author, 1988), and Buddhist Images of Human Perfection (1982). Dr. Katz is editor of an academic journal devoted to exploring the interactions and affinities between Indian and Jewish civilizations, Indo-Judaic Studies. He has been a pioneer in establishing dialogues between Jews and Hindus and Buddhists, on international and local levels. In 1990 he was invited to participate in the historic Tibetan-Jewish dialogue, hosted by the Dalai Lama at his palace in Dharamsala, India. He was a featured character in Rodger Kamenetz’s bestseller, The Jew in the Lotus, and he made an appearance in the film of the same title. He was engaged with a series of “Hindu-Jewish Summits,” 2007-2012, and has spoken about the Jain and Jewish communities in North America for JAINA. He organized a program series on “Muslim-Jewish Relations” at JMOF-FIU in 2013. He has lectured at universities and other academic institutions around the world, including Oxford Univ., Southern Methodist Univ., Manhattan College, Univ. of Vienna, Hebrew Univ., Yakar Institute (Jerusalem), Benares Hindu Univ., Chulalongkorn Univ. (Bangkok), Peradeniya Univ. (Sri Lanka), Univ.of Strasburg, Harvard, Columbia, Penn State, Univ. of Washington, Amherst College, the Royal Nepal Academy, Jawaharlal Nehru Univ. (India), College of William and Mary, Trinity College, Univ. of Florida, Judah L. Magnes Museum (Berkeley), Newark Museum, Tampa Museum of Art, Univ. of Kansas, Univ. of Pittsburgh, Univ. of Saskatchewan, Institut Monumenta Serica (Germany), the East-West Center (Honolulu), Univ. of Denver, Univ. of Cincinnati, Florida Atlantic University, Univ. of Miami, and the Univ. of California at Santa Barbara. He is currently leading a multi-year, international research project on the impact of “New Age” spiritualties, especially those of Indian origin, on the American Jewish community and on the State of Israel. The project is housed at the Van Leer Institute-Jerusalem and FIU.