Hinduism and the Internet: A Selected Annotated Bibliography

By Chopra, Rohit | Communication Research Trends, March 2012 | Go to article overview

Hinduism and the Internet: A Selected Annotated Bibliography


Chopra, Rohit, Communication Research Trends


Nesbitt, Eleanor. (2006). Locating British Hindus' sacred space. Contemporary South Asia, 15 (2), 195-208.

Nesbitt's study, though not centered on the Internet, examines British Hindu notions of sacred space. She looks at the significance of religious shrines in domestic spaces, arguing that, in addition to public places of worship, these are also important sites of religious practice. Pilgrimage to sites and the imperative of building temples have increasingly become prominent among Hindus in the UK, though Nesbitt notes ambivalence on the part of some British Hindus about going to temples. In the context of this larger discussion, Nesbitt points out that British Hindus incorporate cyberspace within the broad ambit of sacred space. Through websites, British Hindus can either participate in online pujas or rituals of worship or can place orders for worship on their behalf in specified Indian temples. These developments also entail shifts of authority from traditional religious authorities like priests to the programmers and engineers who maintain these sites.

Kurien, Prema A. (2006). Multiculturalism and "American" religion: The case of Hindu Indian Americans. Social Forces, 85(2), 723-741.

Kurien examines the institutional formation and public presence of Hindu Indian American organizations in terms of American policies related to multiculturalism and religion. Her examination is based on a detailed analysis of online forums and spaces dedicated to Hindu, and more generally, Indian, matters. She identifies the importance of the Internet in this domain for Hindu Americans since the year 2000. The article centers on the dynamics of self-definition among Hindu Americans, exploring their activist strategies. It shows the contestations between Hindu Americans and, broadly, mainstream American society as represented by media or business over definitions of Hindu identity, as well as contestations between different Hindu American groups over such definitions. The events and cases chronicled and assessed by Kurien in the course of her analysis show the centrality of the Internet as a site for mobilizing Hindu Americans, for discussing key matters of importance for Hindu American identity, for voicing and articulating protests and generating visibility about Hindu American causes.

Scheifinger, Heinz. (2009). Conceptualising Hinduism. Asia Research Institute Working Paper Series 110, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore. Retrieved February 17, 2012 from http://ssrn.com/abstrac t=1468282

Scheifinger analyzes online images of Hinduism within a broader discussion of the conceptual problems involved in defining the practice and phenomenon of Hinduism. Working through issues of definition and terminology through an engagement with scholars of Hinduism, and noting the heterogeneity of Hinduism which complicate the use of any term, he posits, however, that the term "Hinduism" is viable as a category. Scheifinger then proceeds to analyze online representations of Hinduism through the optic of Jean Baudrillard's theory of simulacra. …

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