Cristianismo na História da Índia e Ásia meridional



The history of Christianity in India as well as South Asia in general, has long
been the domain of a few ‘religious’ experts. This historiography largely
focused on the origin and nature of mission societies, the personnel that were
involved and the numbers
that had converted. Such histories were far more centered upon the mission
body, rather than the host societies to which they were sent. Moreover, they
tended to portray conversion as a rupture or a radical break from local
culture, rather than as a process shaped or steered by local factors. Such a
historiography often portrayed Christians and Christianity as belonging to a
self-contained world, largely out of touch with local cultural contexts.

More recently, the writing of Christian history in India has sought to keep up
with the broader trends of historical writing. The focus has shifted away from
the European metropole to regional cultures – from the mission body to the
community of converts, and connections thereof and therefrom.  Along with this
new orientation came a greater emphasis on continuities rather than change,
heterogeneity in practice rather than monolithic perceptions of the faith
community.  Scholars are also examining the internal hierarchies, constraints
and systems of control in which mission societies operated.  This has led to
new insights into the role of gender in missionary movements and the stories of
converts.  Such shifts have enabled the study of Christianity to be more
inter-disciplinary, rather than strictly historical.

The conference seeks to bring together scholars and researchers who have worked
on such themes to take stock of the present state of research, as well as to
explore new areas/themes of historical writing so the much neglected study of
Christianity in India may be broadened. We hope that contributors will not only
bring in new themes and areas of research to the conference, but will also
contribute to new ways of looking at old themes. A multi-disciplinary approach
will be most welcome.

In the past, the Catholic and Protestant histories of Christianity in India
were clearly demarcated. The conference seeks to bridge that gap by accepting
papers about all denominations. As Christianity has had a long history in the
sub-continent, papers from all periods, including the contemporary will be
accepted. Contributions about other countries in South Asia are also welcome.

The conference will focus on the following themes. However, other themes may
also be considered.

·      Biographies of Converts
·      Christianity and issues of identity – social and political
·      The experience of Christianity – social, spiritual and phenomenological
·      Localising Christianity – issues of agency and local interventions;
ideas of ‘folk’ or popular Christianity
·      Analysing missionary ‘knowledge production’–grammars, translations,
literary texts, letters, paintings, photographs, etc.
·      Women and gendered narratives in the Church
·      Christian art in India/South Asia
·      Dialogues and interactions among Christian missionaries, teachers, etc.,
the Indian intelligentsia and colonial ethnographers; comparisons of
ethnographic material produced
·      Interactions between various missions including the problem of choice
vis-à-vis denominations among potential converts
·      Missionaries and peasant movements; Missionaries and projects for social
reconstruction –industrial training, criminal tribes settlements, juvenile
homes, peasant co-operatives, experimental farms etc
·      Missionary reflections of their life, work etc. from a post-colonial

We welcome abstracts for papers (300-400 words) in one of the areas listed
above or related fields. Abstracts must be sent by e-mail to Dr. Joy Pachuau
before 1st July 2010 at The organizing committee will select
the papers to be presented by 1st August 2010. Completed papers of about 8000
words will be expected on or before 1st December 2010. The Conference will be
held from 2nd to 4th Feb., 2011 at the Centre for Historical Studies, JNU, New

Prof. Tanika Sarkar
Dr. Pius Malekandathil
Dr. Joy Pachuau
Centre for Historical Studies,
JNU, New Delhi

Dr. Paul Hancock
Dr. Mayjee Philip
Institute for Religion and
Society in Asia, Oxford



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