Piers Vitebsky to Discuss Christian and Hindu Styles of Reform Among The Sora of Tribal Odisha 

Piers VitebskyOn Tuesday November 15th, the South Asia Center is pleased to host Piers Vitebsky to discuss Christian and Hindu Styles of Reform Among the Sora of Tribal Odisha. Piers Vitebsky is the Assistant Director of Research, Retired at Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge. The lecture will take place in 205A Maxwell Hall at 12:00PM.

Just one generation ago, the Sora tribe in India believed that their lives were determined by the spirits of the dead, with whom they negotiated their wellbeing in dialogues held through shamans in trance. Today, almost all young Sora have become evangelical Christians or fundamentalist Hindus. For some, this shift is a liberation as they turn from the spirits of a remote jungle to literacy, employment and democratic politics; others despair for fear of being forgotten after death. How did the old way of life, which meant so much so recently, fail so suddenly? What is the appeal of these new religions?