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Digital Hinduism

This edited volume seeks to build a scholarly discourse about how Hinduism is being defined, reformed, and rearticulated in the digital era and how these changes are impacting the way Hindus view their own religious identities. It seeks to interrogate how digital Hinduism has been shaped in response to the dominant framing of the religion, which has often relied on postcolonial narratives devoid of context and an overemphasis on the geopolitics of the Indian subcontinent post-partition. From this perspective, this volume challenges previous frameworks of how Hinduism has been studied, particularly in the West, where Marxist and Orientalist approaches are often ill-fitting paradigms to understanding Hinduism. This volume engages with and critiques some of these approaches while also enriching existing models of research within media studies, ethnography, cultural studies, and religion.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Digital Paths to the Divine? New Media, Hinduism, and the Transformation of Dharmic Discourse and Practice, Murali Balaji Part I Chapter 1: The Significance of Non-Participatory Digital Religion: The Saiva Siddhanta Church and the Development of a Global Hinduism, Heinz Scheifinger Chapter 2: The Formation of Online Religious Identities: A Case Study of the Internet-Hindu in India's Cyberspace, Denzil Chetty Chapter 3: From Newsgroups to #hashtags: Mapping Pattern of Online Hindu Religious Practices, K.S. Arul Selvan Part II Chapter 4: Mirabai Sings on YouTube: The Transmission of a Poet-Saint in the Age of Digital Devotion, Lakshmi Chandrashekar Subramanian Chapter 5: Creating Spaces for Progressive Voices in Hinduism: My Experience with the Queer Hindu Blogosphere, Shikhandi Part III Chapter 6: Dharma Deen Alliance: Cyber Resistance and Building Online Hindu-Muslim Unity, Ravi Grover Chapter 7: #Hinduphobia: Hate Speech, Bigotry, and Oppression of Hindus through the Internet, Sachi Edwards Chapter 8: Digital Divide, Diasporic Identity, and a Spiritual Upgrade, Charu Uppal Chapter 9: Digitalizing the Diasporic Subaltern: How Caribbean Hinduism Is Preserved through the Web, Murali Balaji Conclusion: Digital Dilemmas and New Paradigms in Digital Dharma, Murali Balaji

About the Author

Murali Balaji is director of education and curriculum reform for the Hindu American Foundation (HAF).


Like any other living and vibrant tradition, Hinduism continues to adapt to changing circumstances and contexts, including the rise of the internet. This important volume-a fine addition to the Explorations in Indic Traditions series-gives a sense of the diverse ways in which Hinduism is present in cyberspace. From advocacy for Hindu rights to the expression of progressive Hindu perspectives to such traditional activities as puja carried out online, this book chronicles the rise of internet Hinduism and does so in a clear and engaging fashion.--Jeffery D. Long, Elizabethtown College This book is a rich collection of diverse voices that deepen our understanding of Hindu traditions in this fluid era of globalization and digitalization, including, but moving beyond, the Indian subcontinent. Each essay opens a new window to the complex ways in which this global tradition is transforming and being transformed by media. It is a much needed addition to a new field in the study of religion.--Anantanand Rambachan, St. Olaf College Hinduism has long been viewed as a timeless religion, but the reality is that it has always been shaped by its historical, cultural, and political context. As Hinduism encounters modernity, its technological landscape has shifted dramatically, thereby transforming the way that Hinduism is conceptualized and consumed across generations and continents. A critical and timely volume, Digital Hinduism is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the future of Hinduism.--Varun Soni, Dean of Religious Life, University of Southern California

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