Though Hindu nationalists posit the existence of a monolithic ethnoreligious majority in India, their efforts to propagate this imagined community require both the obfuscation of caste conflict and amplification of religious difference. Inverting Hindutva sociology, Bahujan movements seek to realise a majority anchored in the shared experience of dispossession, a majority constituted by religious minorities and the caste oppressed.
The stakes of these competing visions of belonging have rarely been as evident as in the current political moment. Yet too often representations of the relations between disprivileged castes and religious minorities are overdetermined by the frameworks imposed on them by Hindu nationalism and, to an extent, resistance to it.
Recent studies suggest, however, that the shape of social life outside the Hindu elite may be quite unlike the images projected by national-level politics. What forms of community might emerge if we attend to collective practice in the neighbourhoods where Dalits, ‘backward’ castes, Muslims and Christians—categories that often overlap or merge in practice—live and labor? In what ways do the caste identifications of Muslim or Sikh groups differentially shape their experiences of minoritisation? How does integration with—or remoteness from—Muslim or Christian associational life impact how Dalits encounter and contend with everyday casteism?
In what ways do everyday Dalit and Bahujan critiques of savarna supremacy converge and diverge with critiques of Hindu dominance put forward by religious minorities? By addressing these and related questions, this interdisciplinary workshop seeks to advance the study of social life, community-making and minoritisation beyond national-level politics and totalising and reified conceptions of majority identity.
How to apply
If you wish to participate, you need to be affiliated with a Nordic university. Please then send an extended abstract (400-500 words), in which you describe your proposed paper, to ted [dot] svensson [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se by 10 February 2023.
There are eleven confirmed participants and the workshop will be able to accommodate three more. SASNET will cover travel expenses and one hotel night for the successful applicants. If you are travelling from outside of Sweden, we will cover two hotel nights.