This volume, Cross-cutting South Asian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Approach focuses on two themes that are central to Indological studies: religious practices and heterodox sovereignty.
The first part of this volume “The Indian Ocean of Religious Practices: Past and Present” deals with different issues related to religious practices and institutions in South Asia. These contributions share a similar theoretical perspective on religion: they all highlight, in various ways and through different disciplinary approaches, how, in order to fully understand religious practices and their inherent dynamics, it is essential to consider the power relations that continually imbue and shape them.
The second part “Kings, Priests and Prominent Roles Interpreted through the Visual, Literary, Speculative, and Technical Indian Arts” seeks to substantiate the well-known opposition between the so-called orthodox sovereignty and the heterodox one, of which the so-called vratya-power seems to be a prime example. Therefore, the target of the relevant contributions consists in focusing on different contexts where the king or chieftain, or merely the patron of the sacrifice, gains his temporary pre-eminence in an agonistic way which includes an important non-permanent ascetic dimension.