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North American Hinduism Unit

Call for Proposals

The North American Hinduism Unit explores the practice of Hindu traditions in the Americas and transnationally. For the 2020 Annual Meeting, we invite proposals on the topics listed below. In addition, we welcome individual paper submissions on any topic related to North American Hinduisms but strongly encourage full panel proposals that note connections between individual papers around a common theme, set of questions, methods of inquiry or theories. If you are interested in any of the topics listed here, please contact the point person listed below. If you have questions about panels more generally, please feel free to contact the Unit Chairs.

1) Queer Hinduism/LGBT Hinduism in North America and Beyond (co-sponsored with Hinduism unit). contact: Tanisha Ramachandran, ramacht@wfu.edu
The North American Hinduism and Hinduism units (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.

2) Digital Hinduism in North America. Contact: Dheepa Sundaram, Dheepa.Sundaram@du.edu and Tanisha Ramachandran, ramacht@wfu.edu
The North American Hinduism unit seeks papers that address how digital media in North America has affected and influenced practices and depictions of Hinduism in the diaspora. Potential topics include but are not limited to virtual Hindu rituals and practices, identity and group formation in virtual communities, mediated nationalism, and representation of Hinduism in media/social media.

3) Responses to Indian Politics in North America. Contact: Shana Sippy, shana.sippy@centre.edu
The North American Hinduism unit sees papers that address diasporic reactions to cotemporary 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 Sabrimala verdict, Penal code 377, and the Citizen Amendment Bill.

4) Dalit Identities and Caste in North America. Contacts: Sailaja Krishnamurti, Sailaja.Krishnamurti@smu.ca & Shana Sippy, shana.sippy@centre.edu
The North American Hinduism unit seeks papers that attend to Dalit identities and the complex relationship between caste and Hinduism in North America.

5) Book Panel . Contacts: Khyati Joshi, khyati@fdu.edu and shana.sippy@centre.edu
The North American Hinduism units invites proposed panels discussing new books related to North American Hinduism.

6) Language & Linguistic Innovation in North American Hinduisms.Contacts: Varun Khanna, vkhanna1@swarthmore.edu & Shana Sippy, shana.sippy@centre.edu
The North American Hinduism Unit seeks papers that attend to the ways in which South Asian languages are performed, preserved, transmitted, negotiated, and/or innovated in North American Hindu contexts.

7) Hinduism in American Politics. Contacts: Himanee Gupta-Carlson, himanee.gupta-carlson@esc.edu & Tanisha Ramachandran, ramacht@wfu.edu
The North American Hinduism Unit seeks papers that examine the role of Hindus and Hinduism in American politics. Suggested topics include; 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.

8) Hindu Identity and Nationalism in North America. Contact: Alex Rocklin, alex.k.rocklin@gmail.com & Shana Sippy, shana.sippy@centre.edu
The North American Hinduism Unite seeks papers that take a nuanced approach to the relationship between Hindu identity and nationalism in North America. We are not only seeking papers that look at Hindu or Indian Nationalism, but also those that consider the relationship between Hindus and forms of American nationalism (as well as other nationalisms) and forms of white supremacy. We welcome papers that draw on ethnographic research, as well as those that consider alternative forms of media and their role in the circulation of nationalist ideologies. Panelists might consider the various effects of and roles that nationalism plays in shaping contemporary communities.

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

Chairs

  • Tanisha Ramachandran, Wake Forest University
    Member Since: 2019
  • Shana Sippy, Centre College/Carleton College
    Member Since: 2019

Steering Committee Members

Method

PAPERS
Other

Other

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.