Edited Volume on Religious Nationalism in South Asia

Avishek Ray's picture
Call for Publications
July 8, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Nationalism History / Studies, South Asian History / Studies

The importance of religion in contemporary debates ranging from nationalism to its place in the public sphere is exceedingly being felt. Nations -- referred to as imagined communities (c.f. Anderson) -- speak to the profound need for both legitimacy and belonging(ness), often articulated through one’s religious vis-a-vis ethnic identities in the modern world. This volume will explore this issue by focusing on the relationships between religion, geo-politics and the articulation of nationalism in the context of South Asia. While examining the manner in which religion and nationalism interact, this volume will reflect on a series of pressing questions: how do religious nationalism and spatialization of the nation-state, both as an idea and polity, enable the territorialization of religion? How do people envision their nation in terms of religious identities and symbolic sacralization? How do discourses on religion, more so in the curious case of South Asia, (re)invent and (re)configure ‘traditions’ that feed into the ethos of nationalism? How did religious categories originating from the Western frameworks of references travel and were domesticated in South Asia to give rise to, as Edward Said insists, a diverse range of discursive meanings, contingencies and implications? How does the ‘religious’ interact with the ‘political’, or for that matter, the ‘secular’, also taken to be a ‘Western’ concept adopted and adapted in South Asia (c.f. Ashis Nandy, Rajeev Bhargava)?

This project is therefore beset by the task to understand the modality vis-à-vis modularity in the conceptual apparatus of nationalism, and examine how it latches onto religion in the context of South Asia. This nexus, particularly after the global emergence of the right-wing neoliberal regimes in recent times, signals the myriad possibilities of of how the categories -- religion, politics, democracy, secularism etc. -- overlap. Consequently, we invite essays that probe into this interstitial space from a wide variety of perspectives and disciplines. We especially welcome work that reflects critically and creatively on the multiplicities, methodologies, and mappings of the ‘religious’ -- its textual circulation, cultural exchanges, uneven dialogues, compelling analogies, conceptual affinities --, better still, when approached from a comparative perspective (South Asia against elsewhere). We’re particularly keen on including papers with focus beyond India (given the Indo-centrism of South Asian Studies).

A reputed academic press has expressed preliminary interest in publishing the volume. Prospective contributors may send a 250-word abstract, a 3-4 page writing sample and a 5-10 line bio-note as a single word or PDF attachment to the editors: Prof. Ishita Banerjee-Dube (El Colegio de México | ibanerje@colmex.mx) and Dr. Avishek Ray (National Institute of Technology Silchar | avishek.avishek@gmail.com), by 8 July 2018. The editors will revert with a decision by 22 July 2018. The writing sample need not be a stand-alone piece, neither on any allied topic. It could be lifted from any of your existing works. Put ‘Abstract: Religious Nationalism_[Your Surname]’ in the subject-head of your email. In the body of your email, please remember to mention a reasonably specific time frame within which you would be able to produce the complete draft of a 7000-word manuscript, in case your abstract is selected.  

Contact Info: 

1. Prof. Ishita Banerjee-Dube | El Colegio de México | ibanerje@colmex.mx

2. Dr. Avishek Ray | National Institute of Technology Silchar | avishek.avishek@gmail.com)