Elaine Fisher (PhD Columbia University, 2013) is a historian of South Asian religions and Indian intellectual history. As a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Religious Studies Program at UW-Madison, her research excavates the intellectual and cultural history of Hinduism in early modern south India, rethinking in particular the nature of publicity and the “public sphere.” Her first book manuscript, Hindu Pluralism: Religion and the Public Sphere in Early Modern South India, forthcoming from The University of California Press in 2017, establishes the rise of sectarianism as the defining feature of Hindu public culture in south India, central to the public embodiment of religious identity to his day. Contrary to Western models of publicity, the public in early modern India did not consist of a common dialogical space free from sectarian interests; rather, the Indian public was, more accurately, publics in the plural: fashioned through encounter between communities, sectarian public spheres cultivated a distinctively non-Western religious pluralism in which religion is openly embodied in public space. Her research has appeared most recently in South Asian History and Culture and The Journal of Hindu Studies.
Areas of expertise:
South India, Śaivism
Languages of expertise:
Sanskrit, English, Hindi, Tamil