Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

Hindutva Futures and the Making of "India"

in partnership with the South Asia Center & Dept. of Anthropology

Arkotong Longkumer
Senior Lecturer in Modern Asia, University of Edinburgh
Thursday, February 23, 2023 - 12:00
A Virtual CASI Seminar via Zoom — 12 noon EST | 10:30pm IST

About the Seminar:
It is widely acknowledged that the presence and power of the Hindu-right are here to stay in contemporary India. Even in the Northeast of India, often viewed as a recalcitrant periphery from the gaze of the Indian state, the diffusion of Hindu-right ideology has found fertile ground. Its activities are not only limited to party politics—with many of the Northeastern states now under the political orbit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—but its presence is also in cultural and social spheres, where once the distinctness of one’s identity was proudly asserted and now appears increasingly compromised. What are the implications and challenges and, indeed, what are Hindutva futures in this vastly complex and tempestuous region called the "Northeast?" This seminar will demonstrate the overarching ideas of Hindu-right ideology, and how it might apply in the Northeast, which has resisted—historically and in contemporary times—many forms of Indic identity. Prof. Longkumer will discuss this primarily through the media of maps and their argument for a "Greater India" with Indic traces.

About the Speaker:
Arkotong Longkumer is a Senior Lecturer in Modern Asia at the University of Edinburgh, UK. He is the author of The Greater India Experiment: Hindutva and the Northeast (Stanford University Press 2020; Indian edition, Navayana 2022), which was long-listed for the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay New India Foundation Book Prize 2021. He is also the author of The Poetry of Resistance: The Heraka Movement of Northeast India (NESRC, 2016) and co-author of an Open Access book, Indigenous Religion(s): Local Grounds, Global Networks (Routledge 2020). He co-edited a special issue on Neo-Hindutva published by Contemporary South Asia (2018). He was the Principal Investigator on a 3-year funded project by the Leverhulme Trust on Gurus and Media, and from November 2022, he is the Principal Investigator on a 4-year project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Decolonising the Museum: Digital Repatriation of the Gaidinliu Collection from the UK to India.