New Book on “Religion and the City in India” edited by Supriya Chaudhuri

Our former fellow Supriya Chaudhuri has edited a volume on “Religion and the City in India” (Routledge) as well as contributing an introduction and chapter on “The Making of a City: Religion and Society in the Chandimangal of Early Modern Bengal” . The book was published on 20 August and contains contirbutions by former fellows Ranjeeta Dutta on “Temple, Urban Landscape and the Production of Space: Srirangam in the Early Modern Tamil Region” and Pralay Kanungo on “Religion, Heritage and Identity: The Contested Heritage-scape of Varanasi”.

This book offers fresh theoretical, methodological and empirical analyses of the relation between religion and the city in the South Asian context”.

Uniting the historical with the contemporary by looking at the medieval and early modern links between religious faith and urban settlement, the book brings together a series of focused studies of the mixed and multiple practices and spatial negotiations of religion in the South Asian city. It looks at the various ways in which contemporary religious practice affects urban everyday life, commerce, craft, infrastructure, cultural forms, art, music and architecture. Chapters draw upon original empirical study and research to analyze the foundational, structural, material and cultural connections between religious practice and urban formations or flows. The book argues that Indian cities are not ‘postsecular’ in the sense that the term is currently used in the modern West, but that there has been, rather, a deep, even foundational link between religion and urbanism, producing different versions of urban modernity. Questions of caste, gender, community, intersectional entanglements, physical proximity, private or public ritual, processions and prayer, economic and political factors, material objects, and changes in the built environment, are all taken into consideration, and the book offers an interdisciplinary analysis of different historical periods, different cities, and different types of religious practice.

Filling a gap in the literature by discussing a diversity of settings and faiths, the book will be of interest to scholars to South Asian history, sociology, literary analysis, urban studies and cultural studies.

For further information, see the Routledge website.


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