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Community and Religion in the Making of Middle-Class Moralities in South India and Sri Lanka

11.06.2015 | 16:00 c.t. - 18:00

Teil der Ringvorlesung "Middle-classness in Asia" am Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


Abstract zur Vorlesung:

Religiously-inspired forms of morality and attendant articulations of community have been identified as important elements in the process of middle-class formation in southern India. The interplay between religion, community, and middle-class morality in the region has perhaps been most visible in the reformulation of Tamil Brahman identities over the course of the twentieth century, leading some observers to label contemporary Tamil Brahmans as a quintessentially “middle-class caste” (Fuller and Narasimhan 2014). Yet Brahmans are not the only section of South Indian society that has undergone noticeable transformations and shifts in the formulation of moral values as a result of the development and consolidation of the middle classes in last few decades. This lecture will probe some of these transformations by focusing on one particular religious community that has figured only rarely in the often Hindu-centric debates on the middle classes in South Asia, namely, Tamil-speaking Muslims. Despite being described already by colonial observers in terms often associated with middle-classness today, the dominant view of South Asian Muslims as a ‘backward’ community has generally deflected attention from this transnational business community. Drawing on examples from Tamil Muslim contexts in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Malaysia, this lecture seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the intersection between religion, community, and middle-class moralities in the region during the last century.

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Zeit & Ort

11.06.2015 | 16:00 c.t. - 18:00

Friedrichstraße 191, room 5009