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  • International Symposium „Ritual, Caste, and Colonial Discourse in South India“

    4.- 6. September 2008

    Hosted by

    SFB 619 A6: „The Discourse of Non-Brahmanical Rituals and Their Transformation Within the South Indian History of Religions Since the 18th Century“

    DFG-Project „Religion, Caste, and Nation: Discourses of Identity and Power in Telugu Journals of the Late 19th and Early 20th Century“


    In Cooperation with:

    South India Study Group

    Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg (IWH)


    Conference Venue

    Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg (IWH)

    Hauptstrasse 242

    D-69117 Heidelberg


    Rituals and caste were a main focus for cultural and religious transformation processes in colonial South Indian society. Ritual criticism and discussions on rituals and caste were embedded in discourses of a wider scope, often mirroring social conflicts and challenging political and religious authority. Thus they provided dynamic resources for social, cultural and religious negotiations of identity within the colonial society. Also as closely related theoretical concepts, "ritual" and "caste" make up the place for such central colonial processes of discursive negotiation in the 19th and early 20th century. Aims of the conference shall be to work out how sources hint at the making of socially accepted comprehensions of these terms, and to reflect their discursive power. Of importance will be the analysis of new forms of expression and new media (such as western forms of literature and journals) in South Indian vernacular languages, and how they contributed to such processes. The kind of identities proposed or constituted in the sources and the way they are labelled or framed shall be reflected and discussed.



    Download Conference Flyer as PDF [...]

    Thursday, 4. September 2008

    17.30 Registration

    18.00 Conference Welcome

    Defining the Colonial Discourse: Theoretical Problems and Approaches

    18.15-19.15 Andreas Nehring: "Theories of Performance and Colonial Discourse in India"

    19.15-19.30 Break

    19.30-20.30 Michael Bergunder: "Western Esotericism and Ritual Discourse in South India: Postcolonial Perspectives"


    Friday, 5. September 2008

    Ritual, Caste, and Religion I: The Emergence and Hybridity of Tamil Identity in Colonial South India

    9.00-10.00 Chris Fuller: "Modernity and Traditionalism among Tamil Brahmans from the Nineteenth to the Twenty-first Centuries "

    10.00-11.00 Mary Hancock: "Christian Missionization and the Making of Modern Hindu Domesticity and Ritual"

    11.00-11.30 Break

    11.30-12.30 Ravindiran Vaitheespara: "Forging a Tamil Caste: Maraimalai Adigal and the Discourse on Ritual and Caste in Colonial Tamil Nadu"

    12.30-14.00 Lunch Break

    14.00-15.00 A. R. Venkatachalapathy: "More Kshatriya Than Thou!’ Caste and Ritual Ranking in Late Colonial Tamilnadu"

    15.00-16.00 Ulrike Schröder: "History and Ritual: The Emergence of Nadar Identity in Tirunelveli"

    16.00-16.30 Break

    16.30-17.30 Peter Schalk: "Rituals and Caste Among Jaffna Tamils in 19th Century Sri Lanka"

    17.30-18.30 Torsten Tschacher: "'Witnessing Fun' and 'Seeing Nuisance': South Indian Muslims and the Imagination of Ritual in Colonial Southeast Asia"


    Saturday, 6. September 2008

    Ritual, Caste, and Religion II: Category Formation and Telugu Identity in Colonial South India

    09.00-10.00 V. Narayana Rao: "Cinnaya Suri and C.P. Brown: The Making of Modern Telugu"

    10.00-11.00 Chris Chekuri: "Colonial Modernity and the Production of a Precolonial Past"

    11.00-11.30 Break

    11.30 – 12.30 Vakhulabharanam Rajagopal: "Hindu Revivalism or Cultural Nationalism? Anti-Reform Discourse in Colonial Andhra"

    12.30-14.00 Lunch Break

    14.00-15.00 Gnana Aloysius: "Dilemmas of Subaltern Self-Identification as Articulated in the Columns of Tamilan"

    15.00-16.00 Heiko Frese: "Category Formation in 19th Century Telugu Journals"

    16.00-16.30 Break

    16.30-18.00 Meeting of the South India Study Group


    Papers by:

    Gnana Aloysius (University of Hyderabad)

    Michael Bergunder (University of Heidelberg)

    Chris Chekuri (San Francisco State University)

    Heiko Frese (University of Heidelberg)

    Chris Fuller (London School of Economics)

    Mary Hancock (University of California)

    V. Narayana Rao (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

    Andreas Nehring (University of Erlangen-Nürnberg)

    Vakulabharanam Rajagopal (University of Hyderabad)

    Peter Schalk (University of Uppsala)

    Ulrike Schröder (University of Heidelberg)

    Torsten Tschacher (University of Heidelberg)

    Ravindiran Vaitheespara (University of Manitoba)

    A. R. Venkatachalapathy (Madras Institute of Development Studies)


    Please complete the registration form and send the completed form – latest by August 22, 2008 –  to:

    Ulrike Schröder
    Kisselgasse 1
    69117 Heidelberg

    Phone: +49-(0)6221-54 33 08
    Fax: +49-(0)6221-54 32 90

    Download Registration Form as PDF [...]


    Conference participation is free of charge.