Peter van der Veer is Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity at Göttingen. He taught Anthropology at the Free University in Amsterdam, at Utrecht University and at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1992 he was appointed as Professor of Comparative Religion and Founding Director of the Research Center in Religion and Society in the Social Science Faculty of the University of Amsterdam. He served as Dean of the Social Science Faculty and as Dean of the Amsterdam School for Social Science Research at Amsterdam, and as Director of the International Institute for the Study of Islam and Chairman of the Board of the International Institute for Asian Studies, both in Leiden. In 1994 he was appointed as University Professor at Large at Utrecht University, a position he continues to hold.
Van der Veer works on religion and nationalism in Asia and Europe. He has just finished a monograph on the comparative study of religion and nationalism in India and China, entitled The Modern Spirit of Asia. The Spiritual and the Secular in China and India (Princeton University Press, 2013) Among his other major publications are Gods on Earth (LSE Monographs, 1988), Religious Nationalism (University of California Press, 1994), and Imperial Encounters (Princeton University Press, 2001). Most recently he edited the Handbook of Religion and the Asian City. Aspiration and Urbanization in the Twenty-First Century (University of California Press). Professor van der Veer serves on the Advisory Board of China in Comparative Perspective, Political Theology, and the Journal of Religious and Political Practice. He has just started a new journal: Cultural Diversity in China.