A TALK ON 'Is it God speaking? Identity and Agency of Deities in the Western Himalaya' By
Asaf Sharabi, Senior Lecturer, School of Behavioral Sciences, Peres Academic Center, Israel. September 6, 2019. 3 PM. Seminar Hall.
In many ethnographies, deities reflect social structures, represent power relations, or serve as a resource for individuals.
However, believers usually do not doubt the existence of deities and their agency: that is, their ability act and initiate change.
The gap between these points of view narrows in the religious experiences in the Indian Himalayas. There, the local population,
who communicate with local deities via mediums, face an epistemological problem: how to be certain that they are, indeed, talking
with their gods. Furthermore, the believers are aware that they play a role in the decisions of the gods. These two aspects of the
religious experience are expressed in the gradual transition of the gods from a Pahāṛī to a pan-Hindu identity, an indication of the
way in which the agency of the gods is being challenged and is subject to negotiation by the locals.
Asaf Sharabi obtained his doctorate in social anthropology in 2010 from Bar Ilan University’s Sociology and Anthropology Department.
In his doctoral thesis he explored the encounter between religion and contemporary modernity, focusing on the question of how the
religious revival can be interpreted, in light of predictions about the weakening of religion in modern times. This question was
examined in the context of the Teshuva movement in Israel.
In 2013, he undertook an ethnographic study in the Western Himalayas, a study in which he is intermittently engaged to this day.
His field of research is located on the border of two states in India - Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The research focuses
on the religious experience and changing theological perceptions relating to the image of local gods. His research focuses on the
various ways in which religious streams are formed (and consolidated) in the face of other social and cultural phenomena, such as
modern perceptions of religiosity or the rationalization of reality.
Main Research Interests: Cultural Anthropology; Anthropology and Sociology of Religion; Anthropology of Modernity; Medical and
Psychological Anthropology; Ritual Healing; Social Performance; Identity and Agency; Himalayan Society; Israeli Society
FALL SCHOOL IN LANGUAGE
IIT Gandhi Nagar in partnership with Department of Anthropology, Delhi University will be hosting
a Fall School covering the basics of Linguistics and Linguistic Anthropology for PG students.Anthropological Linguistics
Host Institution: Indian Institute of Technology
Coordinating Institution: Indian Institute of Technology
Dates: 07-Oct-2019 - 11-Oct-2019
Location: Gandhinagar, India
Focus: Linguistics is a discipline devoted to understanding the nature and function of ‘Language’ through scientific methods.
Language is however an interdisciplinary phenomenon which has been an object of study in older and contemporary fields like Philosophy,
Literature, Psychology, Neuroscience, Sociology, Anthropology and Computer Science. Students,
researchers and practitioners in these fields often deal with language without the practical skills, theoretical tools
and knowledge required to systematically study it. The Fall School in Language is a boot-camp in Linguistics which will
enable them to do so. This school is also suitable for interpreters, language teachers, copy-editors, proof-readers, advertisers,
journalists and lawyers who can professionally benefit from a systematic understanding of language.
Minimum Education Level: Undergraduate
The school comprises an assortment of lectures, hands-on training sessions, field-trip and a workshop.
Building Blocks of Language (6 lectures)
These lectures acquaint the participants with nature’s engineering behind language.
The modular and hierarchical organization of linguistic form is introduced.
Language, Culture and Society (6 lectures)
These lectures introduce participants to various aspects of the two-way relationship
between language and culture. Fundamental topics in Linguistic Anthropology are covered.
Analyzing Grammar (4 hands-on training sessions)
In these 4 sessions the participants are trained to analyze the grammar of a lesser-known
language by engaging a native speaker and applying knowledge from Building Blocks of Language lectures.
On the penultimate day, participants visit the old city of Ahmedabad and work on a topic of their choice
in consultation with the instructors. They will present their work the following day.
Research Workshop (Half-day)
The course instructors present their research to familiarize the participants with the methods and
current hot topics in various areas of Linguistics
The school concludes with its participants presenting their analyses from Analyzing Grammar sessions and research from Fieldtrip.
The cost of the Fall School is ₹5310 which includes accommodation and food for five days and travel for the field trip.
Dates to Remember:
1st September: Last day for applying
7th September: Application results
15th September: Last day for fees payment
6th October: Arrival in Gandhinagar
7th-11th October: Fall School
Dr. NISHAANT CHOKSI, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar
Dr. CHAKRAVERTI MAHAJAN, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Delhi University
Discipline of Linguistics
Ling & Literature
Language Families: Sino-Tibetan
Tuition: Rs. 5310
Tuition Explanation: includes accommodation and food for five days and travel for the field trip.
Financial Aid: Applications accepted until
We might be able to offer a limited number of travel bursaries of Rs.1000.
Financial Aid Instructions:
Please specify in the application if you would like to avail one.
Registration: 06-Aug-2019 to 01-Sep-2019
Contact Person: Vikalp Kumar
Apply by Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
E-mail the application materials (CV and a letter of intent) to email@example.com by
1st September 2019. Shortlisted applicants will be contacted by 7th September 2019 with further instructions for
completing the application process. The deadline to pay the fees is 15th September 2019.