Religion and Modernity in the Himalaya: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Religion and Modernity in the Himalaya

1st Edition

Edited by Megan Adamson Sijapati, Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz


192 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2016-03-14
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Religion has long been a powerful cultural, social, and political force in the Himalaya. Increased economic and cultural flows, growth in tourism, and new forms of governance and media, however, have brought significant changes to the religious traditions of the region in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

This book presents detailed case studies of lived religion in the Himalaya in this context of rapid change to offer intra-regional perspectives on the ways in which lived religions are being re-configured or re-imagined. Based on original fieldwork, this book documents understudied forms of religion in the region and presents unique perspectives on the phenomenon and experience of religion, discussing why, when, and where practices, discourses, and the category of religion itself, are engaged by varying communities in the region. It yields fruitful insights into both the religious traditions and lived human experiences of Himalayan peoples in the modern era.

Presenting new research and perspectives on the Himalayan region, this book should be of interest to students and scholars of South Asian Studies, Religious Studies, and Modernity.


"[This book] skillfully addresses the interplay between religion and Himalayan modernity—or rather modernities, since this means different things in different settings."

James G. Lochtefeld, Carthage College, US, Himalaya

"The book should be a valuable reference for academics, experts and students of Asian Culture, South Asian Studies and Himalayan Religion Studies, especially, Buddhism and Hinduism."

Patricia Ordóñez de Pablos, The University of Oviedo

"…this excellent volume will encourage new and experienced audiences to make connections among its essays and to question what it means to be religious in the Himalaya today."

International Journal of Hindu Studies, Michael Baltutis, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Modern Religiosities, Religious Modernities: Views from the Himalaya Megan Adamson Sijapati Part I: Space, Place, and Material Modernities 2. In the Mountains of Radical Juxtaposition: Kedarnath at the Beginning of a New Millennium Luke Whitmore 3. T-Pop and the Lama: Buddhist "Rites Out of Place" in Tibetan Monastery-Produced VCDs Holly Gayley 4. Pocketing the Himalaya: Sacred Souvenirs of the Chār Dhām Pilgrimage Andrea Pinkney Part II: Gods and Place: Migration, Deities, and Identities 5. From Text to Internet, Aniconic to Statuesque: Modern Textual and Performative Innovations in a Nepali Goddess Tradition Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz 6. Adulterous Dotiyal or Protector of the Oppressed? Modernity and the Reframing of Ganganath’s itihas in Uttarakhand Radhika Govindrajan Part III: Education, Governance, Official Discourses and Religion 7. Redefining Monastic Education: The Case of Khachoe Ghakyil Ling Nunnery in the Kathmandu Valley Nadine Plachta 8. Schooling Virtue: Education for "Spiritual Development" in Northern Pakistan Katherine J.L. Miller 9. At the Boundary of Modernity: Religion, Technocracy, and Waste Management in Bhutan Elizabeth Allison

About the Editors

Megan Adamson Sijapati, PhD,is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Co-Chair of Globalization Studies at Gettysburg College, in Pennsylvania, USA. She is the author of Islamic Revival in Nepal: Religion and a New Nation (Routledge, 2011).

Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz, PhD,is Assistant Professor of Hinduism in the Department of Religion at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. She is the Reviews Editor for Himalaya, journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies.

About the Series

Routledge Contemporary South Asia Series

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Religion, Politics & State
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General