Dr. Walter Andersen

Walter Andersen was born in New York City and did his graduate work at the University of Chicago where he received his doctorate, writing a dissertation on religious politics under the supervision of Professors Lloyd I. Rudolph and Susanne H. Rudolph. This dissertation, based on extensive field work in India, was turned into a book, the Brotherhood in Saffron. He was a teaching intern at the University of Chicago, on the Political Science faculty at the College of Wooster where he also administered a junior year abroad program for the Great Lakes Colleges Association and also taught at the University of Georgia. He worked as a staff assistant for a Democrat member of Congress from Ohio before joining the US State Department.

He served overseas in South Asia, including as special assistant to the US Ambassador to India, William Clarke, as well as in Washington, D.C., where he worked as Asia person in the Policy Planning Bureau that reports directly to the Secretary of State and he retired in 2004 as head of the Office of Research for South Asia. Following that, he joined the faculty at the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University where he became Director of its South Asians Studies Program. Since 2010, he has also taught graduate International Relations seminars at Tongji University in Shanghai under a contract with China’s Ministry of Education. He has written extensively on religious politics and is now doing preliminary research on a book that will analyze the intersection of law and religion in India. His most recent book, The RSS: a View to the Inside, won the TATA award as the best non-fiction book on an Indian subject published in 2018.