Michael Allen works on religion, philosophy, and ecology in South Asia, drawing on both Sanskrit and vernacular sources. He specializes in Advaita Vedanta, with wider interests in other Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions. He is currently working on a project examining the relationship between theory and practice in classical Indian philosophy, with an eye to applying the insights of Indian philosophers to contemporary environmental concerns. In his work, Allen poses the question, how does one bridge the gap between merely theoretical knowledge and a deeper, transformative knowledge?
Allen is participating in a three-year international research project on the history of Vedanta, with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. His work has been published in the Journal of Hindu Studies, the International Journal of Hindu Studies, the Journal of Vaishnava Studies, and Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy.
Allen received his Ph.D. in the study of religion from Harvard University (2013). Before coming to the University of Virginia, he was a preceptor in the Harvard College Writing Program (2012–14) and an AssistantProfessor of Religion at Hampden-Sydney College (2014–16). Allen will be a Mellon Fellow at UVA’s Institute for the Humanities and Global Cultures, working on the environmental humanities and teaching courses on classical Hinduism, Hindu-Buddhist debates, and Hinduism and ecology.