This project takes up social and political questions of naming that are often ignored in studies of inequality or exclusion. What if Indian personal names ceased to automatically categorise their bearers according to their caste and/or religion so that identities are deliberately blurred? Grounded in ethnographic work amongst proponents of secularism in north India, the project will examine strategies used to produce ‘disidentification’: e.g. purification of caste connotations of names, and names that cross religious boundaries in order to bring the association between name and pigeonholed identity into question.

These webpages will publish summaries of the project findings (with updates roughly every couple of weeks), though more standard academic outputs such as a book and a journal special issue will result as well.

The project also covers questions of names and naming in India more broadly: for instance, the (re)naming of cities, states, communities, and so on, so this site will include updates on these often controversial (but highly interesting and revealing) questions from time to time as well.

For more information on the Principal Applicant’s other works please click here.

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