Shared Idioms, Sacred Symbols, and the Articulation of Identities in South Asia

Edited by Kelly Pemberton, Michael Nijhawan

© 2009 – Routledge

254 pages

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Paperback: 9781138868328
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About the Book

How do text, performance, and rhetoric simultaneously reflect and challenge notions of distinct community and religious identities? This volume examines evidence of shared idioms of sanctity within a larger framework of religious nationalism, literary productions, and communalism in South Asia. Contributors to this volume are particularly interested in how alternative forms of belonging and religious imaginations in South Asia are articulated in the light of normative, authoritative, and exclusive claims upon the representation of identities. Building upon new and extensive historiographical and ethnographical data, the book challenges clear-cut categorizations of group identity and points to the complex historical and contemporary relationships between different groups, organizations, in part by investigating the discursive formations that are often subsumed under binary distinctions of dominant/subaltern, Hindu/Muslim or orthodox/heterodox. In this respect, the book offers a theoretical contribution beyond South Asia Studies by highlighting a need for a new interdisciplinary effort in rethinking notions of identity, ethnicity, and religion.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Towards an Integrative Hermeneutics in the Study of Identity Kelly Pemberton & Michael Nijhawan Part I: Landscapes of Translation: Linguistics, History, and Culture in Focus Chapter 1: A House Overturned: A Classical Urdu Lament in Braj Bhasha Amy Bard & Valerie Ritter Chapter 2: The Politics of Non-Duality: Unravelling the Hermeneutics of Modern Sikh Theology Arvind Mandair Chapter 3: Who are the Vellalas? 20th Century Constructions and Contestations of Tamil Identity in Maraimalai Adigal (1876-1950) Srilata Raman Chapter 4: Can a Muslim be an Indian and not a Traitor or Terrorist? Huma Dar Chapter 5: Variants of Cultural Nationalism in Pakistan: a Reading of Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Jamil Jalibi, and Fahmida Riaz Amina Yaqin Part II: Landscapes of Ritual Performance: Ritual, Agency, and Memory in Focus Chapter 6: Ambivalent Encounters: The Making of Dhadi as a Sikh Performative Practice Michael Nijhawan Chapter 7: Ritual, Reform, and Economies of Meaning at a South Asian Sufi Shrine Kelly Pemberton Chapter 8: Gendered Ritual and the Shaping of Shi`ah Identity Diane D’Souza Chapter 9: History, Memory, and Other Matters of Life and Death Christian Lee Novetzke

About the Editors

Kelly Pemberton is assistant professor of religion and women’s studies at George Washington University. Research interests include mysticism and Islamic movements in South Asia and the Middle East. Her work has been published in academic journals, encyclopedias, and edited volumes, and will appear in her forthcoming book on women mystics.

Michael Nijhawan is assistant professor in sociology at York University, Toronto. He has authored Dhadi Darbar. Religion, Violence, and the Performance of Sikh History, and he is completing the documentary film Musafer – Sikhi is Traveling.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Religion

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Eastern
RELIGION / History