CFP Multi-religious Entanglements in Peninsular India

Deepra Dandekar's picture
Call for Papers
January 31, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Humanities, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Southeast Asian History / Studies, South Asian History / Studies


Call for Papers for a Special Issue of Nidān (July 2020)

Multi-religious Entanglements in Peninsular India

The bi-annual, peer-reviewed and open access Journal Nidān: International Journal for Indian Studies, published from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban is pleased to announce a special issue on Multi-religious Entanglements in Peninsular India, to be published in July 2020. We elicit 8000 to 10,000 word-long original research articles from scholars of different disciplinary backgrounds, using a variety of methodological approaches or a combination thereof, including anthropological, sociological, historical methods and literary analysis. Those interested in contributing, please email an abstract of up to 500 words with author institutional details to Professor Ines G. Županov ( and Deepra Dandekar ( by September 15th, 2019. Submissions for the special issue will, however, have to be made by November 30th, 2019.

In this special issue, we explore how religious conversion and coexistence are concepts at the forefront of contemporary political debates within the subcontinent. While political actors remain busy with wielding distinctions between indigenous and foreign that result in exclusion and assimilation politics, our special issue explores a longue durée history of practices and concepts about a thriving religious plurality in one of the most travelled maritime regions of the world: the Indian Ocean and Peninsular India. Peninsular India has acted as a crucial link in unifying world economy and maritime culture, constituting a theatrical arena of encounters that resulted in the circulation of religious actors, objects and ideas from the Mediterranean. While this circulation informed both West Asian Messianic religions and Indian religious traditions and philosophical systems, we are particularly interested in how this led to the emergence of multi-religious community formation in the region that impacted the political dynamics of Peninsular India. While the development of refurbished local cults and the flowering of multilingual literary forms were only some of the consequences of the early modern political and cultural innovations directly linked to plural socio-religious mobility, created in the multi-religious context of the pre-colonial period, the hardening of communal boundaries with colonial rule only quickened the creation of “fixed” social and religious categories of caste and religion. In this process of categorization, Peninsular religious and philosophical thought impacted by Abrahamic religion (Christian, Muslim, Jews) slipped through the British colonial knowledge grid into a category that produced these religions as ‘non-Indian’ and hence, conceptually unworthy of ‘area studies’. While a whole range of pre-colonial knowledge forms were left invisible and discarded, the final assault on multi-religiosity came from the 19th century revivalist efforts of socio-religious reformers who tried to eliminate inter- and intra-religious networks in the name of ancient history, immobile orthodoxy and new ideologically constructed religious nationalisms.

For this special issue, we thus elicit original articles that address the exact entanglement, multiplicity and plurality in Peninsular India that shared a coastline with Indian Ocean networks, through empirical and interdisciplinary research.

Contact Info: 

Deepra Dandekar

Researcher, Center for the History of Emotions

Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin

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