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Modalities of Conversion in India


Piers Vitebsky, Peter Berger, Sarbeswar Sahoo, Geoffrey A. Oddie, Ashok Kumar M., Fernande W. Pool, Frank Heidemann, Iliyana Angelova, Vibha Joshi, Arun W. Jones, Rajalakshmi Nadadur Kannan, Aparecida Vilaça
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  • Date Published: October 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108490504

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About the Authors
  • Dynamics of conversion and religious change more generally are extremely complex, yet it is crucial for contemporary societies to understand them. This volume contributes to this understanding by focussing on the processes and modalities of conversion within, between and across various religious traditions (Hinduism, Islamic Reformism, Christianity, indigenous religions) from a multi-disciplinary perspective, including anthropology, sociology, religious studies, history and theology. While the book deals with Indian case studies, the introduction, preface (by Piers Vitebsky) and afterword (by Aparecida Vilaça) also offer a comparative perspective linking the Indian situation to contexts of conversion in other parts of the world. The introduction not only provides an overview of important research on conversion in India, it also intends to advance the general theoretical reflection on conversion, considers analytical tools for further research and discusses the work of important theorists such as Pierre Bourdieu, Joel Robbins and Marshall Sahlins who are not generally referred to in debates on conversion in India.

    • Offers insights into the dynamics of religious change beyond the restricting confines of particular religious traditions
    • Discusses relevant theories and analytical tools that can inspire and help researchers in their study of conversion and cultural change
    • Includes different disciplines and thus provides each scholar concerned with the questions of conversion insights into questions of neighboring disciplines
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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108490504
    • length: 306 pages
    • dimensions: 236 x 157 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface Piers Vitebsky
    Introduction. Godroads: modalities of conversion in India Peter Berger and Sarbeswar Sahoo
    1. The rise, growth and significance of Sudra conversion movements in the Methodist mission, Hyderabad, 1925–1947 Geoffrey A. Oddie
    2. Communism and the cross: a caste-class trajectory of religious conversion in South India Ashok Kumar M.
    3. Religious conversion as ethical transformation: a study of Islamic reformism in rural West Bengal Fernande W. Pool
    4. Conversion versus unity: the Basel Mission among Badagas on the Nilgiri Plateau, 1845–1915 Frank Heidemann
    5. Identity change and the construction of difference: colonial and post-colonial conversions among the Sumi Naga of Nagaland, Northeast India Iliyana Angelova
    6. Conversion to Christianity and healing: the Naga of North East India Vibha Joshi
    7. Reshaping the American evangelical conversion narrative in nineteenth century North India Arun W. Jones
    8. Cultural transformations through performance arts in the early twentieth century South India Rajalakshmi Nadadur Kannan
    9. Conversion and Hindu-Christian conflict in Odisha and Rajasthan Sarbeswar Sahoo
    10. Rupture and resilience: dynamics between a Hindu reform movement and an Indigenous religion in Highland Odisha Peter Berger
    Afterword. India seen from Amazonia Aparecida Vilaça
    Notes on contributors

  • Editors

    Peter Berger, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, The Netherlands
    Peter Berger (Ph.D. 2004) has been conducting research among indigenous highland communities of Odisha since 1996, working on topics such as cosmology, ritual, social structure and food. The present book is the result of an increasing interest in understanding cultural and religious change that has developed over the last ten years. His books include Feeding, Sharing and Devouring: Ritual and Society in Highland Odisha, India (2015), and he coedited Ultimate Ambiguities: Investigating Death and Liminality (2016), The Modern Anthropology of India (2013) and The Anthropology of Values (2010).

    Sarbeswar Sahoo, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
    Sarbeswar Sahoo (Ph.D. 2010) teaches sociology in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. He was Charles Wallace Fellow at Queen's University Belfast and Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at Max Weber Kolleg, Universität Erfurt, Germany, Germany. Sahoo received his Ph.D. from National University of Singapore. His books include Civil Society and Democratization in India: Institutions, Ideologies and Interests (2013) and Pentecostalism and Politics of Conversion in India (Cambridge, 2018).


    Piers Vitebsky, Peter Berger, Sarbeswar Sahoo, Geoffrey A. Oddie, Ashok Kumar M., Fernande W. Pool, Frank Heidemann, Iliyana Angelova, Vibha Joshi, Arun W. Jones, Rajalakshmi Nadadur Kannan, Aparecida Vilaça

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