PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA
November 23-26, 2019

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Hinduism Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit was established in 1997 with the mission of providing a forum within the AAR for the academic study of Hinduism as a distinctive world religious tradition including, but not limited to the geographical region of South Asia. The Unit seeks to foster research on all periods and registers of Hindu texts and practices through the presentation of new data, critical analysis, and interpretative strategies, based on textual, sociohistorical, ethnographic, philosophical, theological, and theoretical studies. We are particularly interested in forging connections between the study of Hinduism and other areas of religious studies, and we welcome proposals from scholars in the field that can provide such connections.

Call for Papers: 

The Hinduism Unit invites contributions on the following topics suggested at the 2019 Annual Meeting as well as on other topics consistent with the Unit’s Statement of Purpose. Proposals of complete papers sessions and roundtable sessions are especially welcome, as are proposals that specify creative and efficient uses of the ninety-minute sessions that likely will make up most of the Unit’s programming for the 2020 Annual Meeting. For further information about potential sessions on the topics already suggested, please e-mail the points of contact for each topic listed below:

New Books in the Study of Hinduism (Harshita Kamath, harshita.kamath@emory.edu)
This is the first instantiation of what will be an annually recurring Hinduism Unit panel dedicated to a discussion of recently published works (within last approx. 3 years) in the field. Specific format of the panel is TBD. Please contact us if you would like to propose your own recently published book for a place on this year’s new books panel, if you would like to recommend a particular book (not your own) to be on the panel, and/or if would like to volunteer to speak about a recent publication, including the reasons why it is worthy of commentary and discussion.

Queer Hinduism/LGBT Hinduism in North America and Beyond (Tanisha Ramachandran, ramacht@wfu.edu)
The North American Hinduism and Hinduism unit (co-sponsored session) seek papers that address LGTB+ issues as they are embraced, rejected, condemned, and/or celebrated in Hinduism. Potential topics for papers include: LGTB+ acceptance/rejection in Hindu texts and practice, queer theory and the study of Hinduism, homonationalism and pink washing, LGTB+ rituals, Hinduism and homonormativity, transgressing/upholding gender boundaries and norms.

Alternative Histories of Hinduism (Karen Pechilis, kpechili@drew.edu)
Soliciting proposals from scholars working on materials that disrupt a master narrative about Hinduism. Critical areas could include any of the following: gender, caste, colonialism, visual culture, performing arts, ethnography, digital culture, and more. Proposals should include a brief description of the how and why of disruption, and its significance for research and/or teaching about Hinduism. It is intended that this paper panel would be accessible to a wider audience.

White Nationalism, Hindu Nationalism: An Exercise in Comparison (Patton Burchett, peburchett@wm.edu)
There are clear parallels between white nationalism in the United States and Europe and the Hindu nationalism of present-day India, including fascinating—if troubling—similarities between Donald Trump and Narendra Modi, more specifically. We seek proposals for a panel aimed at conducting a sustained comparison—drawing out similarities, differences, and lessons to be learned—between these two brands of ethnic and religious nationalism, with attention to the specific cultural histories and shared global forces (neoliberalism, immigration, climate change, etc.) driving each.

Women and Blood: Sabari Mala, Gender, and the Law (George Pati, george.pati@valpo.edu)
In Kerala, permitting women of menstruating age to enter the Sabarimala temple has created conundrum and controversy involving women, gender, and law. This panel seeks proposals employing various methods exploring what is at stake in the Sabarimala issue involving women, gender, and law. In discussing the Sabarimala issue this panel offers insight into religious boundaries and restrictions based on gender.

Hinduism and Economy in Pre-Modern India (Deonnie Moodie, dmoodie@ou.edu)
At the most recent AAR meeting, one panel co-sponsored by the Hinduism and Religion and Economy groups considered how Hinduism and economic forms co-produce one another in modern India from both historic and ethnographic perspectives. This year, we seek submissions for a panel on the intertwining of religion and economy in South Asia in premodern periods. In particular, we are interested in proposals that query the distinction between the categories of religion and economy, demonstrating if and/or how ideas and practices we might today describe as "religious" and "economic" have historically been inseparable (or not).

Hindu Templescapes beyond India (Tracy Pintchman, tpintch@luc.edu)
Borrowing from Arjun Appadurai’s notion of “-scapes” as a framework for exploring global flows, this session will explore the ways that Hindu temples outside of India reconfigure and Hinduize “foreign” spaces. How have global flows shaped configurations of Hindu place and belonging in such spaces?

Hinduism and “Spirituality”: Neoliberalism, Orientalism, Race, & Cultural Appropriation in Discourses of Spirituality (Patton Burchett, peburchett@wm.edu)
We solicit proposals for a panel exploring appropriations of Hinduism in New Age and SBNR (Spiritual But Not Religious) circles, as well as critical examinations of the language of “spirituality” among modern Hindus (whether reformers, gurus, or everyday practitioners). In particular, we are interested in proposals that investigate how Hinduism in/as “spirituality” intersects with issues of race, cultural appropriation, identity politics, and global consumer capitalism.

Hinduism in the World Religions Classroom: Pedagogical Techniques and Strategies (Deonnie Moodie, dmoodie@ou.edu)
How does one introduce Hinduism in a World Religions or Comparative Religions class in ways that are both accurate and nuanced? What are editorial decisions scholars make in teaching about Hinduism in 5 weeks, 2 weeks, or even 2 days? We seek proposals for a panel that provides both conceptual frameworks and concrete texts, activities, and projects that address these questions.

Global Hinduism Beyond the “Diaspora” (Tracy Pintchman, tpintch@luc.edu)
Given the rich diversity of phenomena to which the phrase applies, “Diaspora Hinduism” has become, to use the words of Hegel, something akin to “the night in which all cows are black.” The ubiquity of the “diaspora” frame effaces the uniqueness and creativity that mark many Hindu and Hindu-influenced spaces and communities outside of India. What new, more nuanced frames of analysis might we invoke to think about the broad range of Hindu practices and institutions that exist outside the traditional Hindu ‘homeland’ of India?

The Study of Hinduism in the 21st Century: Innovative Theoretical & Methodological Approaches (Patton Burchett, peburchett@wm.edu)
We seek proposals for a panel showcasing new and innovative theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of Hinduism. Proposed papers should offer a concrete demonstration/application of the particular theory and/or method being worked with, while also speaking to how and why this specific methodology or body of theory can shed new light on our understanding of Hinduism, broadly construed.

The Hinduization of Space in India: The Ayodhya Decision and Beyond (Archana Venkatesan, avenkatesan@ucdavis.edu) and Knut Jacobsen, Knut.Jacobsen@uib.no)

WhatsApp Hinduism – Explorations in Digital Hinduism (Joel Bordeaux, bordeauxjoel@gmail.com)

Hinduism, Embodiment, and Emotion (Diana Dimitrova, diana.dimitrova@umontreal.ca)

Representations of Hinduism in Theater and Film (Diana Dimitrova, diana.dimitrova@umontreal.ca)

Method: 
PAPERS
Process: 
Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
Comments: 
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Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee