Religion tends to flourish when technological developments create new possibilities for communication and representation, and simultaneously change as a consequence of these developments.
This book explores intersections between religion and technology in India, at the present and in the colonial past, and how various forms of techno-religious intersections transform and open up for new religious practices, discourses, communities, and institutions. With focus on Indian contexts and religions, it discusses various empirical and theoretical aspects of how technological innovations create, alter, and negotiate religious spaces, practices and authorities. The book provides rich and multifaceted empirical examples of different ways in which technological practices relate to meanings, ideas, and practices of religions. The techno-religious intersections generate several questions about authority and power, the politics and poetics of identity, community and place, and how religious agency, information, and experience are mediated, commodified, and adjusted to new demands of societies. The chapters explore the Hindu, Jain, and Sikh traditions in relation to new technological developments and media, such as photography, new means of visualization, TV serials, mobile phones, and online communication.
The book will be of interest to academics studying modern and contemporary India and South Asia, and especially the role of religion and technology.
Table of Contents
Introduction, Knut A. Jacobsen and Kristina Myrvold 1. Vishwakarma: God of Technology, Kirin Narayan and Kenneth M. George 2. Saffron Glasses: Indian Nationalism and the Enchantment of Technology, Robert M. Geraci 3. Visualizing Sikh Warriors, Royalties, and Rebels: Photography in Colonial Punjab, Kristina Myrvold 4. From the Great Goddess to Everywoman: Western Naturalism and the Durga murti in West Bengal, Moumita Sen 5. Indian TV Soaps and Gender Roles: Hindu Widows in Historical Texts and Contemporary TV Serials, Xenia Zeiler 6. Modern Technology and Its Impact on Religious Performances in Rural Himachal Pradesh: Personal Remembrances and Observations, Brigitte Luchesi 7. Pilgrimage Rituals and Technological Change: Alterations in the Shraddha Ritual at Kapilashram in the Town of Siddhpur in Gujarat, Knut A. Jacobsen 8. Changing Hindutva by Technology: A Case Study of Hindutva Abhiyan and the Use of Social Media, Hindol Sengupta 9. Promoting Punjabi Deras’ Ideologies Online: A Case of Dera Sacha Sauda, Anna Bochkovskaya 10. Digital Derasars in Diaspora: A Critical Examination of Jain Ritual Online, Tine Vekemans and Iris Vandevelde
Knut A. Jacobsen is professor in the study of religions at the University of Bergen, Norway. His research focuses on Yoga, Sāṃkhya, and Hindu conceptions and rituals of space and time. He is the editor in chief of the six volumes Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism (2009-2015). His most recent book published by Routledge is Yoga in Modern Hinduism: Hariharānanda Āraṇya and Sāṃkhyayoga (2018).
Kristina Myrvold is Associate Professor of the study of religions at Linnaeus University, Sweden. Her research interests focus on Sikh practices, migration, scriptures, and print history in Punjab. She has published numerous articles and edited several books on India and the Sikhs and currently works on project on religious miniature scriptures.