Temple Tracks: Labour, Mobility, Piety

A lecture by Professor Vineeta Sinha, National University of Singapore. This talk presents a textured tale of complex ties between labour, mobility and piety -- moving across colonial and post-colonial moments in territories once known as British Malaya. The history of colonial railway construction is used to narrate the interlocking and intersecting accounts of Indian, Hindu labour migrations to these regions and their sacralization by these ‘labouring’ communities. The migrant Indian Hindu labour, largely responsible for constructing and subsequently maintaining the railways (a symbol of modern, technological achievement) also sacralized these landscapes -- by building shrines and temples for their favoured and chosen deities near railway stations, locomotive sheds, workshops, quarters, and simply along the railway tracks. These sites have become packed with meanings and accumulated layered resonances over time. The notion of sedimented, intertwined histories captures the density and intensity of these spaces, and they continue to be assigned fresh nuances in the present. Unpacking the layers carefully reveals intriguing entanglements of technology and piety on the one hand and labour and religion-making on the other.


This talk is co-sponsored the Asian Studies Program, the Labor Studies Program, Honors College and the Departments of Anthropology, History, Religion, and Sociology.

For more information, please contact patricia.welch@hofstra.edu.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


Free and open to the public



Cultural Center Theater - Leo A. Guthart
Guthart Cultural Center Theater
Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549


Patricia Welch

Phone: 516-463-6453

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