April 2022 (Date TBD)
Conference Co-Chairs: Parth Parihar and Indu Viswanathan
Understanding Hinduphobia 2021 was a landmark event. It was the first time that scholars, activists, students, and allies convened to explore Hinduphobia with the depth, rigor, and cross-disciplinary examination that the phenomenon demands. Cutting through the pervasive discursive context about contemporary Hinduism — which continues to gaslight and deny Hinduphobia — UH 2021 was the first time the Hindu community created a multi-disciplinary academic space to inform the general public about Hinduphobia. Nearly a thousand people registered for the online conference from across the globe, including allies, yoga asana students and instructors, public school principals, educators, guidance counselors, and university administrators.
The conference was designed to animate the robust working definition of Hinduphobia that was developed by Understanding Hinduphobia’s founding scholars. Throughout the eight-hour conference, scholars and allies presented rich scholarship, data, and testimonials across the disciplines and spaces that undergird our academic work. The timely historical announcement of the Rutgers University Student Assembly’s unanimous vote to recognize our working definition was a pinnacle moment, not because this was a symbolic gesture, but because it provided a solid foundation for Rutgers’ Hindu students and faculty to utilize the University’s existing grievance process for redressal of Hinduphobic incidents. In this way, UH 2021 was also a powerful statement about Hindu scholars and students working together to effect positive change for our community.
The UH definition provides a test, a checklist, a rubric for anyone to understand what Hinduphobia is. Once we understand the phenomenon we are discussing, it becomes easier to catalogue, give evidence for, and analyze Hinduphobia, in a way that cannot be refuted with arguments that distract from the central point. This only underscores how vital and effective it is for us to keep pushing forward, with continued vigor, rigor, and transparency, to keep building a robust body of scholarship at the confluence of multiple disciplines, with methodological, theoretical, and analytical heft and diversity.
The theme for this year’s conference is Documenting and Documented Hinduphobia. This theme includes the development of analytical tools for documenting Hinduphobia, theoretical analysis that enlivens the definition of Hinduphobia, and/or studying documented examples of historical and present Hinduphobia. The organizers of UH 2022 require that submissions:
Note: We are particularly interested in submissions that examine the history or political economy of systemic violence towards and genocide of Hindus. What are the processes by which Hindu and other genocides have occurred? How are state resources directed and popular opinion mobilized to annihilate a segment of the population? How is resistance snuffed out? How do political forces interact with, suppress, or aid the documentation of genocide?
UH 2022 will consist of two parts – public-facing sessions (similar to UH 2021) and a more traditional scholarly conference. The public conference will once again be hosted by Hindu Students Council and held as a webinar offering from the Hindu American community to our allies, school administrators, and others who want to learn about Hinduphobia. The traditional scholarly conference will workshop and discuss scholarly work in a technical setting. The ultimate goal is to support emergent, cross-disciplinary literature on the topic of Hinduphobia.
– To build a more robust body of scholarship that seeks to clarify, delineate, and investigate the phenomenon of global Hinduphobia.
– To provide educational resources to inform the broader community about Hinduphobia, how it manifests, and how to analyze it.
– To encourage and develop skills for emergent Dharmic scholars who wish to pursue higher education in the humanities and social sciences, or within a professional school (e.g., law, journalism).
– To create a professional, scholarly community to uphold the highest standards of ethics and levels of discourse about Hinduism in the public sphere.
Public Conference: In addition to more traditional formats (i.e. a slideshow and talk), we encourage participants to embrace creative, multimodal formats, including film, music, storytelling, visual and performing arts. The conference website will host a gallery where your work can be displayed; it will be available to registered participants during the conference and to the general public after the conference, if you wish.
Scholars’ Conference: Original research (i.e. archival, ethnographic) or theoretical papers written for journal submission or other academic publication. Papers should be written according to generally-accepted guidelines of your discipline (i.e. citation format) or in a format that disrupts dominant standards but is still eligible for journal or other formal submission within your field.
Please submit an abstract–no longer than 250 words–that clearly defines your research or guiding question, states your methodology, relates your project to the theme, and, where possible, states findings or conclusions.
Example: During UH 2021, Kaya Mindlin submitted a video testimonial entitled “YogaLand and Hinduphobia.” Her guiding question might be What have I observed about the relationship between contemporary yoga discourses and Hinduphobia? Her methodology was to unpack her experiences as a yoga instructor and community member in the United States and link her observations directly to aspects of the Working Definition.
Deadline for Abstract Submission: November 1, 2021. All abstracts must be submitted using this link (which will go live October 1). Abstracts that are emailed or submitted in any other format will not be considered. In order to support a fair review process, all submissions will be disidentified by an intermediary who is not involved in the review process. In addition, the reviewer panel for submissions to the scholarly conference will include non-Hindu scholars.
Our goal is to give preliminary feedback by December 1, 2021.