Alexander Rocklin

History of Religion "Religion under Contract: South Asian Religions and the Politics of Religious Toleration in Colonial Trinidad"

After spending the last year doing research in Trinidad and the UK, I'm excited to return to the collegial environment of the MMC. As a Marty Center junior fellow I plan to continue writing my dissertation. In my project I look at the colonial regulation of the lives of Indian laborers and their descendants in Trinidad and the changing and contested role of the category religion as Hindus and Muslims both incorporated and undermined (at times simultaneously) regnant Christian norms for religious practice and social formation. I hope to complete at least two chapters during my time as a fellow. One will be on religious conversion, the translation of non-Christian religious practices, and the politics of comparing religions, and one on the regulation of Indian healing and spirit working traditions under anti-witchcraft legislation. Having to clarify and generalize my ideas so that I can better relate them to people who do not share my background or specialized vocabulary (both within and outside of the Academy) will be a helpful and important process in working out my own project, and I am excited to learn about the work of my fellow fellows.