Research Programs: Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Period of Performance

1/1/2009 - 12/31/2009

Funding Totals

$50,400.00 (approved)
$50,400.00 (awarded)

The Bhakti Movement: Excavations in a Master Narrative

FAIN: FB-54546-09

John S. Hawley
Barnard College (New York, NY 10027-6909)

Families have their genealogies and favorite stories; countries have their histories. What history succeeds better for a country than the one capable of molding its citizens into a family? In India, that has been the particular work of a narrative called "the bhakti movement," bhakti andolan in Hindi. Here bhakti--the religion of the heart, of song and common participation--is seen as a force of history, something like the contagion of America's Great Awakenings but spanning a millennium. It formed the religious bedrock that would ultimately, in the 20th century, make the nation possible. Or so we have been taught. My book "The Bhakti Movement: Excavations in a Master Narrative" reveals the historical contingencies that actually created this received--and largely Hindu--common sense. Archival research and interviews relating to key moments in the narrative will take me to India in spring, 2009, and I will complete the book for publication by the end of the year.