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RISA Mission

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The Religion in South Asia Section is part of the American Academy of Religion.

 

RISA’s work is guided by its mission statement, which was originally written by the RISA steering committee in 2000, and subsequently revised by the RISA steering committees in 2005 and 2010.

 

RISA’s mission is to provide a venue for new and important research in the many religious cultures, texts and histories of South Asia.  Within the area of South Asia, all world religions exist in unique forms, from religions that originated in India such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Tantra and tribal religions, to religions that have taken on long-standing and distinctive forms in South Asia, such as Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism.  The focus of RISA’s work is thus on a geographical area, the religious, cultural and intellectual traditions of that area, and changes that have occurred in those traditions over several millennia.  Scholars of South Asia explore the distinctive manifestations of religious traditions in the subcontinent, their interactions, and their movements to and expressions in other parts of the world.  RISA encourages contextualizing religion within debates on a broad array of parallel and intersecting issues, such as (but not limited to) politics, secularism, literature, philology, globalization, modernity, colonialism and post-colonialism, history, society, media, popular culture, material and visual culture, and economics.  The scholarship sponsored by RISA at the annual AAR meetings often emphasizes sessions and papers that look at more than one tradition, and so frequently entails some degree of comparative approach.

 

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Revised: November 21, 2010