About Me

 

  Ari Anand

Education

- PhD -- Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

- MA -- Comparative Cultural & Literary Studies, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

- AB -- History, Hope College, Holland, Michigan

 

Interests

In general, I am interested in various aspects of subject formation, including gender/ethnic/class processes, nationalism, state-formation, civil society, capital/labour relations and religious tradition, in a context that appears to be increasingly saturated by processes of globalization.  In addition to classic anthropological approaches to these questions, various more particular theoretical frameworks are interesting to me in thinking through these issues, such as Marxist and poststructuralist theory, theories of knowledge, and feminist and postcolonial theory. I have pursued these interests by looking at such varied phenomena as colonial and nationalist language ideologies and forms of schooling.

I also have a particular interest in contemporary socio-political debates in South Asia (particularly India) surrounding religious identities and difference.  In my dissertation, I explored social identity at the intersection of ethical subject formation, the globalizing urban, and the state: in short, the relationship between the secular and the ethical subject.  Through a study of Muslim social life and identity in urban India, I attempted to address two major themes.  First, I attempted to complicate what I saw as an overemphasis on religion as a determinant of Muslim social life and identity in the subcontinent, an emphasis that has been both analytically limiting and politically disastrous, as the history of Muslims in independent India has shown us.  Second, I tried to grasp and move beyond our common understandings of religious and secular dimensions of social identity.  Both these problems are related to modernity and liberal conceptions of statehood, sovereignty, and personhood, critiques of which are consequently also central to my work.  My work thus is a contribution to the general reworking, by various thinkers today, of categories such as “religious”, “secular”, and “political” as they relate to social processes and subjects, a reworking urgently needed in the current context in which the liberal state tries to come to terms with illiberal forms of nationalism or communitarian rather than individual identity claims.