Sondra Hausner (Princeton AB 1991; Cornell PhD 2002) is a sociocultural anthropologist specialising in South Asian religion and culture. She is the author of Wandering with Sadhus: Ascetics in the Hindu Himalayas (2007) and The Spirits of Crossbones Graveyard: Time, Ritual, and Sexual Commerce in London (2016), as well as the editor of Durkheim in Dialogue: A Centenary Celebration of The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (2013), among other volumes. She currently holds a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship to examine the history of the Hindu nation in India since independence.
Social and cultural theories of religion; religions and representations of South Asia and the Himalayas; migrant and diaspora religion; gender and identity; ritual experience and practice; Hinduism; the history of nationalism.
Ethnographic methods; comparative methods; public policy.
Global Nepalis Religion, Culture, and Community in a New and Old Diaspora
Gellner, DN, Hausner, SL
In this volume twenty-one authors address these issues through eighteen detailed case studies that tackle issues of livelihood, identity and belonging, internal conflict, and religious practice, in the UK, the USA, India, Southeast Asia, ...
From India to Australia and Back Again: An Alternative Genealogy of The Elementary Forms of Religious Life
This article examines the tension between publicly affirmed religious identification and private religious practice among Britain’s Nepali diaspora population. It compares census and survey figures for religious
affiliation with religious shrines in people’s homes. In some cases there is complete congruence between religious affiliation and home worship (most strikingly in the cases of Sherpas, whose affiliation and shrines are unequivocally Buddhist). Among many other groups, however, there is plenty of evidence of multiple belonging. The most common case is singular identification for census purposes and multiple practice, but there are also many instances of multiple identification when offered the opportunity. For example, when asked for their religion, Gurungs frequently affirm a Buddhist identity, but when given the option to be both Hindu and Buddhist, they frequently embrace it as it more closely describing their actual practice. Many Kirats keep no shrine at home because they believe that their tribal tradition is properly aniconic. Our material clearly shows that the distribution of ecumenical attitudes is not random, but reflects particular ethnic, regional, and caste histories within Nepal. The ethnic/caste makeup of Britain’s Nepali diaspora is not identical to that of Nepal, mainly because of the history of Gurkha recruitment, and this demographic shift is reflected in the higher proportion of Buddhists in Britain. Nonetheless, we suspect that the findings of this study would be replicated in an urban context in Nepal.
multiple belonging, religious shrines, Hinduism, Buddhism, Kiranti religion, personal religion, Nepali diaspora