Douglas Allen Biography

Douglas Allen served as Professor of Philosophy at the University of Maine, USA, for 46 years (1974-2020) and became Professor Emeritus of Philosophy in September 2020. He served as Chairperson of the Department of Philosophy (1979-1982, 1998- 2003). He served as President of the international Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, 2001-2004, and is the Editor of the Lexington Books Series of Studies in Comparative Philosophy and Religion. Author and editor of 18 books and more than 150 book chapters and scholarly journal articles, he has been the recipient of Fulbright (1963-64, 2009-10) and Smithsonian (1992) grants to India, the Maine Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award, and the Distinguished Maine Professor Award (given to the outstanding professor in teaching, research, and service).

Douglas Allen is often recognized as one of the world’s leading scholars in the phenomenology of religion and the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. He knew Mircea Eliade very well and has authored four books on Eliade and the phenomenology of religion, including Structure and Creativity in Religion: Mircea Eliade and New Directions (Mouton, 1978) and Myth and Religion in Mircea Eliade (Routledge, 2002).

While continuing to publish book chapters and articles every year on myth, symbolism, the phenomenology of religion, and other topics, Allen’s major focus in recent decades has been on the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi (violence and nonviolence, war and peace, terrorism, truth, Vedanta, Hind Swaraj and the Bhagavad-Gita, marginality, technology, economic and environmental sustainability). He has authored and edited six Gandhi-informed books, including The Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi for the Twenty-First Century (Lexington Books, 2008), Mahatma Gandhi (Reaktion Books, 2011), Gandhi after 9/11: Creative Nonviolence and Sustainability (Oxford University Press, 2019), and Special Issue on the Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi (American Philosophical Association, 2022).

Douglas allen being escorted
Entering the Women’s College of Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, to give a lecture.

Significant journal articles and book chapters during 2019-2021 include the following: “Mahatma Gandhi’s Philosophy of Nonviolence and Truth: The Key Values and Concepts for Gandhi 150 and the Future,” The Acorn: Philosophical Studies in Pacifism and Nonviolence, vol. 19, no. 1 (Spring 2019): 1-14; “Philosophy and Practice: A Gandhi-informed Approach,” in Gandhi and the Contemporary World, ed. by Sanjeev Kumar (New Delhi: Routledge,  2020), pp. 27-43; “Understanding Religion: Interpretation and Explanation,” in Explaining, Interpreting, and Theorizing Religion and Myth: Contributions in Honor of Robert A. Segal. Series: Supplements to Method & Theory in the Study of Religion: 16, ed. by Nickolas P. Roubekas and Thomas Ryba (Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2020), pp. 42-69; “Philosophies of Becoming: Mythic Constructions, the Buddha’s Philosophy, and Gandhi’s Philosophy,” in The Time is Now: Essays on the Philosophy of Becoming, ed. by Mihaela Gligor (Bucharest: Zeta Books, 2020), pp. 23-61.

Significant journal articles and book chapters during 2022 include the following: “Is There a Future for the Philosophy of Religion?” Philosophy of Religion Website, Boston University, Feb. 2022 (; “The Moral, Philosophical, and Spiritual Basis of Gandhi’s Transformative Nonviolence,” in Gandhi’s Global Legacy, ed. by Veena Howard (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2022); “Is Gandhi a Vedantist?” in Vedantic Lens to Address Contemporary Intellectual Challenges, ed, by Sukalyan Sengupta, Bal Ram Singh, and R.P. Singh (New Delhi: D.K. Printworld Ltd., 2022); “Is Gandhi’s Approach to Philosophy, Truth, and Nonviolence Really ‘Philosophical’?” Special Issue on the Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi (American Philosophical Association, 2022); “Issues of War and Peace: Is Religion More of the Problem and What Are Mahatma Gandhi’s Insights?” Religions (Nov. 2022); “Author Speaks|With Douglas Allen|Gandhi After 9/11 (based on youtube interview by Prof. Dev Pathak and Sneha Alexander of the University of Delhi), Nov. 2022.

portrait of Douglas allen
In India with Nandi the bull.

A peace and justice scholar-activist, Doug Allen has been active in the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam/Indochina Antiwar Movement, the Anti-Apartheid Movement, and many other struggles resisting violence, war, class exploitation, imperialism, racial and gender oppression, and environmental destruction. He was a founder and has been an active member of the Maine Peace Action Committee (1974-present) and served as Education Coordinator of the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine (1988-2017). He has been the recipient of the “Hands of Peace Award” in Maine and the “Scroll of Peace International Award for Peace Research” in India.

For Douglas Allen’s publications, teaching, service, and honors, see his CV posted on his website.

Douglas Allen
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy
6 Charles Street, Orono, Maine 04473 USA
tel: 207.866.7782, 207.944.8405 (cell), fax: 207.581.2928

CVs and downloadable biography

portrait of Douglas allen
Maine Distinguished Professor Award plaque in University of Maine Fogler Library, May 2000.
Douglas allen in winter
In Brasov, Romania, after giving a lecture at Brasov Transilvania University, Oct. 2003.
panel of faculty
On Presidential Panel, with Karl Potter, Gerry Larson, and Henry Rosemont Jr., former Presidents of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, Asilomar, California, May 2003.