Show simple item record

dc.contributor.authorPohran, Nadya Anastasia
dc.date.accessioned2020-02-19T13:13:00Z
dc.date.available2020-02-19T13:13:00Z
dc.date.issued2020-05-16
dc.date.submitted2020-02-03
dc.identifier.urihttps://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/302388
dc.description.abstractIn 1930 the American Methodist missionary E. Stanley Jones, along with two other individuals, founded Sat Tal Christian Ashram (STA) in the foothills of northern India. Using motifs of what was later to be termed ‘inculturation’, Jones envisioned STA as a place that was both “truly Christian and truly Indian” and actively sought to model and impart a Christ-centered spirituality that was not bound to Westernised institutional Christianity. Based on 10 months of ethnographic fieldwork, I present a social history of STA, highlighting pre-1947, 1991-present, and 2003-present as crucial timeframes which reveal distinct aspects of the intrapersonal tensions and interpersonal negotiations that play out in the ethnographic terrain of STA. The particular qualitative data which my informants shared with me was granted, I argue, on account of the ways I consciously positioned myself as both an academic researcher and a genuine spiritual seeker. Thus, Chapter 1 interrogates the standard practice of ‘methodological bracketing’ during ethnographic fieldwork, and instead offers Belief-Inclusive Research as a possible and potentially worthwhile research stance for anthropologists of religion. Chapter 2 sketches the necessary historical and political contexts to situate Jones’s model of STA in light of the commonly-held assumption within Indian public spheres that Christianity is exclusively a religion of foreigners. Chapter 3 provides biographical materials about Jones and summarises some of the influences, both personal-theological and socio-political, which inspired him to create STA. Through outlining some of the key spiritual visions he had for STA, we see that Jones associated Indianness with a very particular strand of Hinduism—one heavily-inflected by Brahmanical idioms and Advaita Vedanta philosophies. Chapter 4 contextualises and summarises a crucial shift that occurred at STA in 1991: a ‘School of Evangelism’ (SoE) was formed which attracted individuals from low-caste backgrounds who had recently converted from Hinduism. I explore this shift in light of the ashram that Jones had originally conceptualised, and I then demonstrate some of the ways that the SoE can be understood as a disjuncture. Chapter 5 explores some of the relational dynamics between STA and a group which I refer to as ‘World Amrita’ (WA), which started coming to STA in 2003. I consider WA’s presence through the lens of ‘multiple religious belonging’ and reflect on the relational dynamics between STA and WA in light of Jones’s expressed desire for all individuals to be welcomed at the ashram, regardless of faith affiliation. Ultimately, I present STA, along with all of its smaller facets which this thesis has explored and contextualised within broader sociopolitical and historical frameworks, as a microcosm through which we can gain further insights about the at-times complicated processes of inviting and integrating others into our midst.
dc.description.sponsorshipSocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Cambridge International Trust, the Teape Trust, the Spalding Trust
dc.language.isoen
dc.rightsAll rights reserved
dc.rightsAll Rights Reserveden
dc.rights.urihttps://www.rioxx.net/licenses/all-rights-reserved/en
dc.subjectanthropology of Christianity
dc.subjectIndian Christianity
dc.subjectinterreligious relations
dc.subjectanthropology of religion
dc.subjectHindu-Christian studies
dc.subjectethnography
dc.subjectIndian studies
dc.subjectmultiple religious orientation
dc.subjectbelonging
dc.titleInviting the Other: An ethnographically-informed social history of Sat Tal Christian Ashram
dc.typeThesis
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoral
dc.type.qualificationnameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.publisher.institutionUniversity of Cambridge
dc.publisher.departmentDivinity
dc.date.updated2020-02-05T08:50:07Z
dc.identifier.doi10.17863/CAM.49459
dc.publisher.collegeHughes Hall
dc.type.qualificationtitlePhD in Divinity
cam.supervisorBarua, Ankur
cam.thesis.fundingfalse
rioxxterms.freetoread.startdate2021-02-19


Files in this item

Thumbnail

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record