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RELG 150: South Asian Religious Cultures (HC)

Religion 150: South Asian Religious Cultures (Martinez) Spring 2015

Finding Journal Articles

Journal articles provide in depth scholarly information.  They are vetted and improved by peer review.  They are usually fairly short in length and focused on discussing one specific issue.  The following indexes are good places to find journal articles about religion.

Use the Find It button           in these indexes to find out if the journal articles are available in the Tri-College libraries. If the journal is not listed in Tripod, use the Find It request form or the Interlibrary Loan Request Form on Tripod to have a copy of the article sent to you from another library.

    Discipline-Specific Indexes

These indexes are particularly good for accessing the scholarly literature of a particular discipline, i.e., articles written by religion scholars, historians, anthropologists, or other .kinds of researchers.

Examples of Journal Articles

These articles found in ATLA Religion Database demonstrate a range of topics concerning South Asian religions.

"The Animal Sublime: Rethinking the Sikh Mystical Body."  By Balbinder Singh Bhogal. Journal of the American Academy o fReligion Vol. 80, No. 4 (2012): 856-908.

Abstract: During the reform movements instigated under British colonialism (1870-1920), Sikh identity and tradition were re-framed according to various foreign hierarchies of ascentء transcendence, and separation. Undergirding this colonial discourse lay the distinction between animality and humanity, such that the reformation split the animal body from the rational mind in the creation of Sikh-ism as an ludic mímete of a Christian-type monotheism. This hierarchical “verticality” overlooked foe temporal and horizontal tenor of Sikh scripture wherein the body is the site of socio-religious praxis. It is argued that the hermeneutic task now demands a recovery of the suppressed “^ntheistic” or horizontal dimension in Sikh scripture. In such a task, an uncanny resemblance arises between how European philosophers describe the animal’s difference (from foe human) and how foe Silfo Gurüs describe foe saint’s difference (from foe human), such that the Sikh’s embracing of the world could be more aptly described as an animal sublime. The figure of the animal thus seiwes as an intriguing node about which foe uniqueness of foe Silfo mystical body can be re-read, while at foe same time revealing an unblinking critique of the modern Western subject. By speaking in a postcolonial, postorientalist, and posthumanist voice, foe Sikh mystical body resonates with and probes further foe subversive voices internal to modern Western discourse (here depicted primariiy by Friedrich Nietzsche’s Übermensch). While the Gurü Granth Sahib’s particular mysticism does not deny the importance of thinking and reason per se, it nevertheless offers a clear critique of the modern. Western, humanist, male subject whose ultimate authority rests in rational logic. The Sikh Gurüs’ focus on an experiential knowledge that arises from a “sublime animal” body offers a provocative image for Western sensibility to contemplate—even as it recalls its own subversive voices. The provocation arises primarily because the animal body signals an alternative (and largely forgotten or repressed) epistemology.

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"Exploring the Diversity of Religion: The Geo-political Dimensions of Fieldwork and and Identity in the North East of India."  By Arkotong Longkumer. Fieldwork in Religion VOL.4, No. 1 (May 2009): 46-66.         

Abstract:  This article considers the importance of "religion" and "identity" in the process of fieldwork in the North Cachar Hills, Assam, India.The political sensitivities in the region provided a difficult context in which to do fieldwork. This is chiefly because of the various armed insurrections, which have arisen as a consequence of the complicated remnants of British colonialism (1834-1947), and the subsequent post-independence challenge of nation building in India. This article raises important methodological questions concerning fieldwork and the relational grounding of the fieldworker relative to the inside/outside positions. It reflects on these issues by discussing the Heraka, a Zeme Naga religious movement. Their ambiguity and "in-between" character accommodates both the "neo-Hindu" version of a nation or Hindutva (Hinduness) and the larger Naga (primarily Christian) assertion of their own cultural and religious autonomy. The Heraka provides an alternative route into ideas of nationhood, religious belonging and cultural identity.

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"'Twisting the wrist': Teaching South Asian Religions in the Contemporary Academy"  By Jacqueline Suthren Hirst and John Zavos.  Relgion Compass Vol. 6, No. 2 (2012): 125-135.

Abstract:  Research into South Asian religious traditions has developed rapidly over the past two decades or so, contributing to and reflecting both a critical reflexive turn in the discipline of Religious Studies, and the growing influence of Postcolonial theory in the Humanities and Social Sciences. In this article, we explore the implications of these developments for teaching about South Asian religious traditions in the contemporary academy. We argue that a particular challenge is presented by the persistent influence of the world religions paradigm in Higher Education teaching environments, notwithstanding the emergence of new research agendas. We review the approach taken towards concepts of ‘religion’ and ‘religions’ in a series of recently published volumes directed at students of South Asian religious traditions, and ask how these approaches are reflected in the organisation and pedagogic concerns of these volumes. We then go on to suggest particular strategies for approaching teaching about South Asian religious traditions, emphasising the importance of multiple ways of contextualising data, and encouraging critical reflection on this multiplicity. We use the metaphor of the kaleidoscope to explain this approach, encouraging students to ‘twist the wrist’ in order to view case studies in different contexts, and so build up nuanced, critically aware pictures of the diverse traditions they are studying.

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