10 Dec Changing Representations of Hindu Identity: Culture and Ethnicity in the Indian International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Claire Robison (Religious Studies, UCSB)
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 / 5:00 pm
IHC Research Seminar Room, 6056 HSSB
The Indian International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is assuming an increasingly central role in India’s Hindu public sphere, wielding vast economic assets, political influence, and, more recently, a posh identity endorsed by corporate business leaders and Hindi film stars. This lecture will present the fruits of an ethnographic study of a contemporary ISKCON community in Mumbai, the Chowpatty temple community. It will explore the complex multiculturalism at play in a temple community of 7000+ members from diverse Indian backgrounds who have accepted a Jewish-American-born guru as their religious leader. The Chowpatty community utilizes diverse forms of media to construct its image as a contemporary representative of Hindu traditions for various Mumbai publics. The lecture will examine the community’s use of print media, dramatic performances, and public festivals, centering on issues of culture, ethnicity, and globalization in the contemporary articulation of Hindu traditions.
Claire Robison is a doctoral candidate specializing in South Asian religions and cultures in the Department of Religious Studies at UCSB. Her dissertation project combines ethnography, the study of material culture, and historical-textual research to examine the development of the Chowpatty community in Mumbai.
Sponsored by the IHC’s South Asian Religions and Cultures Research Focus Group.