The way people encounter ideas of Hinduism online is often shaped by global discourses of religion, pervasive Orientalism and (post)colonial scholarship. This book addresses a gap in the scholarly debate around defining Hinduism by demonstrating the role of online discourses in generating and projecting images of Hindu religion and culture.
This study surveys a wide range of propaganda, websites and social media in which definitions of Hinduism are debated. In particular, it focuses on the role of Hindu nationalism in the presentation and management of Hinduism in the electronic public sphere. Hindu nationalist parties and individuals are highly invested in discussions and presentations of Hinduism online, and actively shape discourses through a variety of strategies. Analysing Hindu nationalist propaganda, cyber activist movements and social media presence, as well as exploring methodological strategies that are useful to the field of religion and media in general, the book concludes by showing how these discourses function in the wider Hindu diaspora.
Building on religion and media research by highlighting mechanical and hermeneutic issues of the Internet and how it affects how we encounter Hinduism online, this book will be of significant interest to scholars of religious studies, Hindu studies and digital media.
Table of Contents
Introduction: "Hinduism is…?"
1 Managing Hinduism in the electronic public sphere
2 Analyzing and reading the Web as text
3 One way conversations: webpages and portals
4 Two way conversations: social media
5 Hindutva and "hate speech" in the electronic public sphere
6 Hindutva vs hashtag feminism
7 The saffron effect: transnationalism and diaspora
Juli L. Gittinger is a Lecturer in South Asian Religions and Islam at Georgia College, USA. Her research interests include Hindu nationalism, Islam in pop culture and virtual methodologies. She has written multiple articles on these subjects and has contributed chapters in forthcoming edited volumes.
"This book offers the reader ways to rethink the analyzing and interpreting of information on the internet. The analytical presentation of Hinduism and Hindu Nationalism Online enables one to form an understanding of the associations and linkages to be made from the apparently disjointed material available on the web. Through this work, Gittinger begins a new discourse on digital hermeneutics. She discusses, in detail, the methods and techniques to analyze the images, hyperlinks, and text on a website."
- Swami Narasimhananda, Reading Religion