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Total Atheism: Secular Activism and the Politics of Difference in South India

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Volume 38

Methodology & History in Anthropology

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Total Atheism

Secular Activism and the Politics of Difference in South India

Stefan Binder

314 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-674-6 $149.00/£110.00 Hb Not Yet Published (April 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78920-675-3 eBook Not Yet Published

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This is an absolutely wonderful work of ethnography. Binder’s captivating and conceptually brilliant book sets the standard for future work on the anthropology of non-religion.” • Jacob Copeman, coauthor of Hematologies: The Political Life of Blood in India.


Exploring lived atheism in the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, this book offers a unique insight into India’s rapidly transforming multi-religious society. It explores the social, cultural, and aesthetic challenges faced by a movement of secular activists in their endeavors to establish atheism as a practical and comprehensive way of life. On the basis of original ethnographic material and engaged conceptual analysis, Total Atheism develops an alternative to Eurocentric accounts of secularity and critically revisits central themes of South Asian scholarship from the hitherto marginalized vantage point of radically secular and explicitly irreligious atheists in India.

Stefan Binder is a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS) at University of Göttingen and part of the German Research Foundation's priority program “Ästhetische Eigenzeiten.”

Subject: Religion General Anthropology
Area: Asia


Note on Translation


Chapter 1. Mental Revolution: Becoming an Atheist in Word and Deed
Chapter 2. Professions: Narratives of Eminent Masculinity
Chapter 3. Propagation: Enacting Atheism in Oratory and Debate
Chapter 4. Programs (1): Eradicating Superstition through Magic
Chapter 5. Programs (2): Humanism and the Unmaking of Caste
Chapter 6. A Way of Life: Marriage and the Gender of Atheism



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