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Neeti Nair
University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA 22903-4833)
A History of Blasphemy Laws in South Asia

Research and writing of a book-length study of the history of laws regulating relations between religious communities in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The proposed book project will trace the trajectory of a set of criminal and penal codes that were instituted over the course of a century in South Asia. A consequence of the British tendency to view each major religious community as imbued with characteristics that were presumed to be mutually antagonistic, these laws seeking to regulate relations between religious communities have had contradictory afterlives in the postcolonial successor states of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. This history will unravel the specific, contingent circumstances that produced these laws, draw out their relationship with religiously informed politics, and account for whether, as many others claim, the laws themselves are responsible for the increasing targeting of religious minorities across South Asia.

Project fields:
Legal History; South Asian History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2016 – 8/31/2016