Center for Study of Religion, Culture, and Society sponsors conference in South India

Historic University of Madras is the site for an international consultation on home-making.

The Elon Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society (CSRCS) hosted a conference in collaboration with the University of Madras in Chennai, India, on July 28-29.

With the theme “To Take Place: Culture, Religion, and Home-making in and beyond South Asia,” the conference attracted more than 50 attendees from the South Indian city and featured 16 presenters from throughout India and five additional countries. Speakers addressed the means and practices by which migrants, displaced persons and various other subcommunities in South Asia establish physical, conceptual and emotional spaces that put them at home or give rise to conflict with other groups.

The keynote address, “Making a Himalayan Abode: Conflict, Aspiration and Power at a Garhwal Shrine” was delivered by CSRCS Director, Dr. Brian Pennington.

Conference organizers James Ponniah from the University of Madras and Amy Allocco from the department of Religious Studies at Elon University.
The conference was organized by Amy Allocco, associate professor of Religious Studies at Elon and James Ponniah, assistant professor in the Department of Christian Studies at University of Madras. The conference reflects deepening ties between the Elon CSRCS and the University of Madras in Chennai. Allocco has collaborated with various faculty members and research scholars there while she conducted her sabbatical research in Chennai this past academic year.

Pennington has been working with Ponniah this year to develop a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would facilitate further cooperation between the two institutions. “This MOU will give students and faculty involved in several of Elon’s Winter Term Abroad courses in South India the opportunity to work with counterparts at this historic university in the beautiful, seaside city of Chennai,” said Pennington.

The University of Madras was founded in 1857. Its original buildings are among the finest examples of Indo-Saracenic architecture in the world, and its iconic campus buildings stand across the street from the bustling public beachfront and the Bay of Bengal. It has 73 academic departments and offers several different degrees in the study of religion.