Dr Ketan Alder

Teaching Associate

Research Overview

Through bringing history into conversation with ethnography, my research considers the relationship between religion and politics in modern South Asia. My doctoral work integrated scholarship and fieldwork to consider how religion and traditions of service operate as colonial and contested categories.

In particular, I gave special attention to how Hindu nationalist traditions of service emerge as a conservative project of moral reform, and how these practices have been differently used by those at the margins of society as part of their own ritual-politics of caste and gender. This research forms the basis of my upcoming monograph to be published by Routledge.

My post-doctoral work examines Hindu activist ‘ghar wapsi’ (Hindu ‘homecoming’) campaigns in modern India. Especially how non-elite actors think about these issues.

I have written widely on Hindu nationalism, covering issues such as service, children and Sanskrit in Hindu nationalist schools, and Hindu representation and the politics of caste in north India. In addition to my monograph, I am currently writing on Hindu nationalism, ethics and development in rural India, with a focus on critically considering the voices of activists which go beyond secular/sacred binaries.

I am currently a research assistant on the Remembering Resistance in India project, which takes an interdisciplinary approach to tracing the impact of the urban environment on the origins and evolution of ‘religious’ contention in modern Delhi.

I am currently the Early Career Representative for the British Association for South Asian Studies.