He was a visiting fellow at the Australian National University in 1982, a Visiting Fellow at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, in 2007 and visiting Professor at the United Theological College, Bangalore from 2009 to 2011.
Born in Victoria, Australia, he is a graduate of the University of Melbourne and of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, where he obtained his Ph.D.
His publications (including six monographs, three edited volumes and more than forty journal articles or chapters in books) focus primarily, though not exclusively, on religious and social developments in colonial India. His books include Missionaries, Rebellion and Proto-Nationalism. James Long of Bengal: 1814-87 (1998); Religious Conversion Movements in South Asia: Continuities and Change (edited ,1997);Popular Religion, Elites and Reform: Hook-Swinging and Its Prohibition in Colonial India, 1800-1894 (1995) and Social Protest in India: British Protestant Missionaries and Social Reform, 1850-1900 (!979). His most recent work, Imagined Hinduism. British Protestant Missionary Constructions of Hinduism, 1793-1900, was published by Sage, Delhi in 2006.
He is currently general editor of A Handbook of Hinduism in Asia also to be published by Sage Delhi.