Shaping Membership, Defining Nation explores and interprets the social politics, religion, and history of Africans (Habshis/Siddis) in Karnataka of South India. Focusing on the continuous dialog between African Indian historical formations and contemporary power structures, Pashington Obeng clearly explains the process of constructing socio-political and religious mores to respond to India’s religious, socio-economic, and caste systems. The study begins by contextualizing the history of Africans in India before moving onto a sociological study. Pashington Obeng examines the formal and non-formal religious customs that stress African Indian agency in appropriating and shaping new forms of Indianness as well as African Diasporic realities. The book concludes with an important analysis of African Indian folksongs and dances. Shaping Membership, Defining Nation is a ground-breaking study of interest to scholars of African History and contemporary Indian society.
Rural Women’s Power in South Asia: Understanding Shakti investigates how women’s power and caste cleavages often continue to transcend and crosscut the boundaries of caste/tribe, gender, age, class and religion in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Building upon recent formulations of South Asian gender discourse, Pashington Obeng explores the ways that perceived notions of women and castified geographies are not only structured in complex and localized relationships of dominance, but are also constituted by practices of the state and central governments. By examining both the particularities of local women’s efforts to improve themselves and the ways that power is mediated, Pashington Obeng addresses the multiplex ways individuals both adapt and contest the hegemony of the dominant structures.
Siddis of India: The Tide of Erasure of Memory and Cultural Invisibility is an occasional paper for The Center for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS.) Pashington Obeng continues the exploration of the Siddis of India.