You are here

North American Hinduism Unit

Call for Proposals

While we accept paper proposals, we strongly encourage full panel (paper or roundtable) proposals with a coherent theme. If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact Shana Sippy and/or Dheepa Sundaram

1) Responses to Indian Politics in North America. Contact: Shana Sippy,
The North American Hinduism unit seeks papers that address diasporic reactions to contemporary Indian politics. Potential topics include but are not limited to recent court rulings and political rhetoric concerning Jammu and Kashmir, Babri Masjid/Ramjanambhumi Supreme Court Decision, the Sabarimala verdict, Penal code 377, and the Citizen Amendment Bill.

2) Dalit Identities and Caste in North America. Contacts: Sailaja Krishnamurti, & Shana Sippy,
The North American Hinduism unit seeks papers that attend to Dalit identities and the complex relationship between caste and Hinduism in North America.

3) Hinduism in American Politics. Contact: Tanisha Ramachandran,
The North American Hinduism Unit seeks papers that examine the role of Hindus and Hinduism in American politics. Suggested topics include the election of Kamala Harris, Tulsi Gabbard and expressions of Hinduism; the nominations of Hindu Americans to judicial roles, enacted rituals and recognition of Hindu festivals and rituals in the political sphere, and the role of organized Hindu groups in political campaigns.

4) Yoga and Whiteness. Contact: Dheepa Sundaram,
The North American Hinduism Unit seeks papers for a round table on yoga and whiteness. Generally speaking, this roundtable will foster a discussion on how modern yoga culture in the US fails to interrogate whiteness amidst concerns of authenticity and cultural appropriation. The discussion will address how authenticity politics and assertions of cultural appropriation need to be contextualized through discussions of racism and colonialism while paying attention brahmanical power and Hindu Nationalism.

5) Beyond Apu: The Emergence of Hindu Characters on American TV. Contact: Prea Persuad,
The North American Hinduism Unit seeks papers that analyze the representation and depiction of Hinduism and Hindus in/on TV shows such as “Never Ever Have I,” “Indian Match Making” and “American Karma.” Hinduism and Popular Culture.

  1. ) Mytho-Political in Contemporary North American Political and Global Contexts. Examination of the ways in which Hindu narratives are deployed in various political arenas Contacts: Moumita Sen, & Shana Sippy,

7.) Hindu Temple Building, Ritual Practices, and Caste in North America. Contact: Amy Allocco,

Statement of Purpose

This Unit was established in 2006 for the purpose of drawing greater scholarly attention to Hinduisms outside of South Asia. Though it will focus on North America, the Unit also welcomes relevant research on Hinduisms in other non-Indian contexts. The Unit has three main goals:

• To study and describe Hinduisms in North America and related diaspora contexts
• To develop a more sophisticated understanding of what distinguishes these Hinduisms from those in South Asia
• To nurture thoughtful debate on the methodologies unique to and appropriate for their study


Steering Committee Members




We encourage people to contact the Chairs advance of submitting proposals if you have any questions or need assistance. We also welcome the possibility of co-sponsored sessions.

Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members

Review Process Comments

The number of proposals submitted to our Unit has admittedly declined over the past five years, reaching a high in 2015 of 15 proposals, and a low of 5 in 2016. However, according to steering committee members who served between 2014-2018, the quality of proposals received was quite high. In 2019, with our new steering committee and chairs, we saw a small increase in the number of proposals, receiving one for a full roundtable and twelve other paper proposals. We rejected 5 papers submitted for a joint session with the African Diaspora Religions Unit because the proposals did not reflect the rigor and nuance with respect to Hindu traditions that we wish to see in our sessions. We are excited about the possibility of co-sponsoring with them, seeing this as a fruitful alliance and subject for scholarly inquiry; we hope to pursue co-sponsorship with them in the future. We do not believe that the small number of proposals is indicative of the Unit’s relevance or interest for Academy members. Rather, we believe that the decline in numbers was indicative of poor networking, outreach, and publicity with respect to the Call for Papers. This is something we are actively working to improve going forward. We have established a Facebook page for Scholars of North American Hinduism, created a twitter account and started a listserve of interested scholars. We believe that all of this will help to generate higher numbers of high-quality proposals.