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|Title:||Putting Indian christianities into context: Biographies of christian conversion in a leprosy colony|
|Keywords:||Christianity;Leprosy;South India;Long-term ethnographic|
|Publisher:||Cambridge University Press|
|Citation:||Modern Asian Studies, 48(4): 1134 - 1159, (July 2014)|
|Abstract:||Gandhian and Hindutva-inspired discourses around conversions to Christianity in India over-simplify the historical nexus of relations between missionaries, converts and the colonial state. Challenging the view that conversions were ever only about material gain, this paper draws on long-term ethnographic fieldwork with leprosy-affected people in South India to consider the role that conversion has also played in establishing alternative, often positively construed, identities for those who came to live in leprosy colonies from the mid twentieth century onwards. The paper draws out the distinctive values associated with a Christian identity in India, exploring local Christianities as sets of practices through which, for example, a positive sense of belonging might be established for those otherwise excluded, rather than being centred upon personal faith and theology per se. Biographical accounts are drawn upon to document and analyse some of the on-the-ground realities, and the different implications - depending on one's wider social positioning - of converting from Hinduism to Christianity in South India. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014.|
|Appears in Collections:||Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Research Papers|
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