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Hindustan is a Dream: Urdu Poetry and the Political Theology of Intimacy

Eggers Hall, 341

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The Moynihan Institute’s South Asia Center presents a talk by Anand Taneja of Vanderbilt University.

In a time of dominant Hindu nationalism and rising Islamophobia in India, Urdu poetry is the medium in which an alternative political theology finds popular articulation, questioning the “normative horizon” of the nation-state. The political theology being articulated through Urdu poetry is one that is concerned not with the state, but with the constitution of the self through a network of thick relations to locality. The vision articulated by this alternate political theology — which draws on both long-standing Indo-Islamic traditions and the lived experience of Indian democracy — calls for a radical reimagining of intimate relations as the basis of belonging and the forming of political community.

Anand Vivek Taneja is an associate professor of religious studies at Vanderbilt University. He is an alumnus of Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Columbia University, where he completed a Ph.D. in anthropology. He is the author of the award-winning book "Jinnealogy: Time, Islam, and Ecological Thought in the Medieval Ruins of Delhi" (Stanford University Press, 2017).

This event is co-sponsored by the Departments of Religion and Anthropology.


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MAX-South Asia Center, MAX-Anthropology, CAS-Department of Religion, MAX-Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs


Matt Baxter


Contact Matt Baxter to request accommodations