The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Non-GC Events

2/6- Pinky Hota on “The Carnality of Capital: Christian Conversion, Material Excess and Dalits in India”

A talk by Pinky Hota (Smith)
“The Carnality of Capital: Christian Conversion, Material Excess and Dalits in India”

Monday, February 6

Time:  4:15pm – 5:45pm
Location:  Room 208 Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont


Abstract: This talk focuses on how Hindu ethnonationalists use sexuality to index the material excesses and indulgences of Christian converts to suture religious conversion to capital in India. Ethnonationalists rely on the material body as a presumptive “natural” resource to trigger and harness embodied, aesthetic appraisals. At the same time, they engage in a discursive denial of the material body to deny sex as un-Hindu. Doing so, ethnonationalists marshall a long standing perception of Dalits converts as materialistic and spurious converts in order to re-signify such a materialism in terms of a threatening economic ascendancy that usurps the economic dues not just of upper castes but also other minority groups. This talk then showcases Hindu ethnonationalist preoccupations with Christian sex as a site at which to locate ethnonationalist violence against Dalits in the long durée of caste capitalism in India.

Pinky Hota is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Smith College and is affiliated with the South Asia Concentration and the Program for the Study of Women and Gender.   She is a political and legal anthropologist with research interests in indigeneity, religious politics and right-wing populism, minority recognition and citizenship, as well as environment and extraction, especially in contemporary India. She is committed to a feminist public anthropology that demonstrates the strengths of using an anthropological lens to understand contemporary phenomena.