Winter School on Performing Religion: Theory and Practice

Date and Time: 
Mon, 17/02/2020 - 9:00am to Fri, 21/02/2020 - 6:00pm
09:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

Call for Proposals

Religious practices have manifold forms, functions, histories and meanings. They make and break communities, they may reassure as much as incite anxiety, they change rapidly or may be extremely resilient, they may be oriented to individual salvation or the establishment of political power. Many more such contrasting attributes of religious action could be listed all of which are to be found in India today with her highly diverse religious landscape, as they have existed in the past.

This Winter School (17-21 February 2020) wants to deal with religious practices in their diversity. Thus, we are concerned with rituals in the strict sense, but also with performances of other kinds, related to secular ideologies, “civil religion”, politics, heritage or media.

With this winter school we want to invite students to reflect on religious practices in India (and possibly elsewhere) and engage in a close dialogue with other students and teachers from India and abroad. The teachers from anthropology, sociology and other disciplines will on the one hand introduce students to their particular research fields and on the other hand provide them with selected theoretical approaches that are useful in analysing and thinking about Performing Religion. Topics of the sessions will thus be, among others:

• Words and silences: how can we know what people believe or feel? (with Indian and Siberian cases)
• Religion, yoga and the body
• Understanding ritual symbolism
• Studying rituals as transformative events
• Firewalking in the Nilgiris: the ritual creation of "atmosphere"
• Ritual, Religion and Politics

Next to the academic field in the study of religious practices we also want to involve societal perspectives, such as activists or community leaders who do not do research on religious practices but rather perform and organize them. Students will in turn present past, ongoing or planned research on religious practices.

Organizing Institutions:
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (India)
University of Groningen (The Netherlands)
Frobenius Institute, Goethe University of Frankfurt (Germany)

Arjun Ghosh, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (New Delhi)
Frank Heidemann, Ludwig Maximillian University Munich (Germany)
Peter Berger, University of Groningen (The Netherlands)
Piers Vitebsky, University of Cambridge (UK)
Roland Hardenberg, Goethe University Frankfurt (Germany)
Sarbeswar Sahoo, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (New Delhi)
Sharanya Nayak, Social Worker and Activist (Koraput, Odisha)
Thanuja Mummidi, Pondicherry University (Pondichery)
Tuhina Ganguly, Shiv Nadar University (Delhi)

Venue and Dates:
The Winter School will be held at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi during 17-21 February 2020.

Who Can Apply?
The winter school is meant for students who have completed their MA/M.Phil degrees in the humanities or/and social sciences (or will do so in the near future), who have an interest in these topics and think about engaging in PhD research in this field in the future. Early PhD students may also apply, but priority will be given to MA/M.Phil students.

How to Apply?
Please send us a copy of your CV and a one page write up/research proposal on what your research is about or what you planning to work on in future PhD research. Please clearly state your research question(s) in the proposal. Please send the documents to:

When is the Last Date to send Application?
The Last Date for sending your application is 15 December 2019.

Participation Fees:
Indian Students: INR 2000 (Two Thousand Rupees only)
Foreign Students: Euro 100 (One Hundred Euro only)

There is no participation fee for students from the following partnering Institutions (University of Groningen; University of Frankfurt; University of Munich). For Indian students, we may consider waiving fees in some cases.

Once your proposal is accepted, you will be required to transfer the fees to an account at IIT Delhi within a week. Failing to do so will mean that you are not interested in participating in the winter school and your place will be given to another student.

The Winter School will not cover the cost of your travel and accommodation. You will need to book/arrange your own travel and accommodation in Delhi during the period of the Winter School.

What will you receive?
The Winter School will provide you:
• Soft copies of the course material and program
• Participation/completion certificate signed by representatives of the partnering institutions
• Lunch, tea and snacks for during the winter school
• Some stationaries (optional)

Dr Sarbeswar Sahoo
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
Hauz Khas, New Delhi, 110016