Dr. James Ponniah

Assistant Professor
Webpage : 
Specialization:

Religious Studies, Comparative Religion, Folk Religions, Popular Religious Practices, Ritual Studies, Contemporary Religious Narratives & Performances

Address:

Office: Department of Christian Studies University of Madras Chepauk Chennai-600 005 India

Contact

Off: 91-44-25399620 (office)  Res: Nil

Mobile: 9952913141

Office: jamesponniah@unom.ac.in

Other: jamesponniah@gmail.com

Achievements

Membership

National
  • ACPI: Association of Christian Philosophers of India, India
  • ITA: Indian Theological Association  

International

  • EASAS: European Association for South Asian Studies, Europe  
  • RISA:  Religion in South Asia, USA
  • CSRI: The Conference on the Study of Religions of India, USA
  • AAR: American Academy of Religions, USA
  • SHCS: Society for Hindu Christian Studies, USA

Projects (Total Projects : 1)

  • Title
    Christianity, Religious Freedom, and Religious Violence in Contemporary India
    Duration Jan-December 2013
    Funding Agency Berkeley Centre for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, W
    Amount Sanctioned (in Lakhs.) 3

Publications

Articles (Total Articles: 36)
  • “Taking the Cross and Walking from Subalternity to Modernity”,  Ponniah, James in Chad Bauman & Richard F Young (Eds),  Contesting Indian Christianities: Conversion, Culture and Caste,  London, New York & New Delhi: Routledge Publications,,  (2014),  138-157
  • “The Phenomenon of Bible Mission: Exploring the Features of a Local Church on the Margins”   ,  Ponniah, James in Peniel Jesudason Rufus Rajkumar, Joseph Prabhakar Dayam and I P Asheervadham (Eds.),  Mission At and From the Margins: Patterns, Protagonists and Perspectives.,  Oxford: Regnum Books International,,  (2014),  55-67.
  • “Alternative Discourses of Kali Yuga in Ayya Vazhi”,  Ponniah, James,  Nidan: An International Journal for the Study of Hinduism,  July Issue,  (2014),  65-85
  • “Popular Religious Practices:Alternative Grounds for Inter-religious Dialogue"       ,  Ponniah, James in Rene Dausner and Joachim Eck (eds.),  Theologien in ihrer kulturellen Pragung,  Regensburgh: Verlag Friedrich Pustet,  (2014),  216-226
  • “Discriminating Social Structures and Empowering Religious Resources: A View on Interaction between Vulnerable Groups and Development,”   , ,  Ponniah, James in Suresh Pathare and Kuruvilla Pandikattu (Eds).,  Lifting Up the Spirit and Uplifting the Body.,  Pune:Samajdharshan Prakashan,  (2013),  199-215
  • “M.N Roy Critique of Marxist Tradition:  Revisiting and Appropriation of the  Notion of Freedom in Radical Humanism for Development Ethics,” ,  Ponniah, James,  Jnana-Deepa: Pune Journal of Religious Studies,  Vol 16, No 2,  (2013),  25-37
  • “Caring for Mother Earth: Ecology and Folk Religions of India,”,  Ponniah, James in Kuruvilla Pandikattu and Thomas Kurioacose and James Ponniah (Eds).,  Committed to the Church and the Country,  Pune: ISPCK & Janna Deepa Vidyapeeth,  (2013),  161-179.
  • “The Eruption of the Autonomous and the Birth of ‘Bible Mission’: Exploring an Instance of Lay Leadership in India”,  Ponniah, James in Thomas Cotti (Ed),  Many Tongues, One Spirit: Local Ecclesiologies in Dialogue.,  Berkeley: Santa Clara University: Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley,  (2013),  59-74
  • “Folk Religion as/and Public Sphere” ,  Ponniah, James,  Satya Nilayam: Chennai Journal of Intercultural Philosophy,  Vol 24, October,  (2013),  73-89.
  • “Folk Religion and Social Transformation,” ,  Ponniah, James,  Journal of Indian Theology,  Vol 5, No 1,  (2012),  56-66
  • “Caring for Mother Earth: Ecology and Folk Religions of India,” , ,  Ponniah, James,  Jnana-Deepa: Pune Journal of Religious Studies,  Vol 1, No 2,  (2011),  191-212
  • “Social Inequality in India: Negations and Negotiations through Pericentralisation,”,  Ponniah, James,  Sacred Perspectives,  Vol 1, No 2,  (2011),  11-30
  • “Folk/Subaltern  Religion and Development,”      ,  ,  Ponniah, James in James Ponniah & Kuruvilla Pandikattu (Eds.),  The Dancing Peacock: Indian Insights into Religion and development,  New Delhi:Serials Publications,  (2010),  45-64
  • “The Buddhist View of the Death: A Critical Study of the Tibetan Book of the Dead,” ,  Ponniah, James in Kuruvilla Pandikattu (Ed.),  The Depth of Death: Scientific Insights and Religious Openness,  New Delhi: Serials Publications,  (2010),  147-166
  • “Popular Devotions as Occasions for Inter-religious Dialogue,” ,  Ponniah, James,  Word and Worship,  Vol 43, No 1,  (2010),  47-61
  • “Folklore”,  Ponniah, James in Johnson Puthenpurackal (Ed.),  ACPI Encyclopedia of Philosophy,  Vol I, Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation,,  (2010),  541—545
  • “Folk Religions”,  Ponniah, James in Johnson Puthenpurackal (Ed.),  ACPI Encyclopedia of Philosophy,  Vol I,Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation,  (2010),  545—548
  • “Pilgrimage”,  Ponniah, James in Johnson Puthenpurackal (Ed.),  ACPI Encyclopedia of Philosophy,  Vol II, Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation,  (2010),  1040—1044
  • "Hinduism in the Information Age,",  Ponniah, James,  Studies on Life and Culture,  Vol 18,  (2010),  185-212
  • "Emancipating Gods and Empowered Humans: A Folk Religious Perspective on This-worldly Well-being,"  ,  Ponniah, James,  Satya Nilayam: Chennai Journal of Intercultural Philosophy,  Vol 15, February .,  (2009),  24-45
  • “Samaya Thalathil Maru Seeramaikappadum Samuuha Uravukal: Nattar Samaya Sadankukalai Pattriya Oru Ayvu”  ,  Ponniah, James in Gnana Patrcik (Ed),  Thalirkum Iraiyiyalkal,  Chennai: Department of Christian Studies, The University of Madras,  (2009),  147-159.
  • "Higher Planes and Lower Grounds: Hindu Idea of Gods' Forgiveness towards Erring Humans," , ,  Ponniah, James,  Studies on Life and Culture,  Vol 14,  (2009),  11-43.
  • “Harmonising Diversity And Contesting Inequality: Understanding the Dynamics of Folk Religions”,  Ponniah, James in Felix Wilfred (Ed).,  Transforming Religion: Prospects for a New Religion,  Delhi: ISPCK,  (2009),  50-66.
  • “Subaltern Rituals, Modernization and Post-modern Themes,” , . ,  Ponniah, James,  South Asian Review,  Vol 30, No 1,,  (2009),  224-45
  • “Ritual : A Locale for Postmodern Engagement with ‘The Study of Religions’ in India,”,  Ponniah, James in Kuruvilla Pandikattu (Ed),  Postmodernity: An Indian Appraisal,  New Delhi: Serials Publications,  (2008),  74-85.
  • “Subaltern Religion and Development”,  Ponniah, James,  Jnana-Deepa: Pune Journal of Religious Studies,  Vol 10, No 1,  (2007),  51-68
  •  “Religion, Development and Globalisation”,  Ponniah, James in George Karuvelil (Ed),  Romancing the Sacred? Towards an Indian Christian Philosophy of Religion,  Banglaore: Asian Trading Corporation,  (2007),  447-472
  •   “Religion in the Digital Age”,  Ponniah, James,  Asian Journal for Priests,  Vol 52, No 1,  (2007),  20-27.
  • “Popular Catholicism,” ,  Ponniah, James,  Asian Journal for Priests,  Vol 51, No 3, Vol 51, No 3, 2006: 19-28..,  (2006),  19-28.
  • “The Buddhist View of the Death: A Critical Study of the Tibetan Book of the Dead,”    ,  Ponniah, James,  Jnana-Deepa: Pune Journal of Religious Studies,  Vol 9, No 2,  (2006),  63-81
  • “Spiritual Experiences of the People on the Margins”  ,  Ponniah, James in Kurien Kunnampuram (Ed),  Life in Abundance,  St.Paul’s Publications, Bombay,  (2006),  130-153
  • "An Exploration of the Domain of Religion in India,” ,  Ponniah, James,  Asian Journal for Priests,  Vol 50, No 6,  (2005),  28-33
  • “Shifting Centres of Academic Discourses: Indian Initiatives in Postcolonial Theories,” ,  Ponniah, James in Victor Ferrao and James Ponniah (Ed.).,  Identity, Difference and Conflict: Postcolonial Critique,  Banglore: Asian Trading Corporation & Association of Christian Philosophers of India,  (2013),  24-41
  • “Re-Viewing Folk Religion and Re-Visioning Christian Studies,”,  Ponniah, James,  Indian Journal of Christian Studies,  Vol 1, No 1,  (2011),  81-88
  •  “Humans, Nature and Gods: Their Interrelatedness in the Folk Religious World-View,” ,  Ponniah, James,  Jnana-Deepa: Pune Journal of Religious Studies,  Vol 10, No 2,  (2007),  83-100.
  • “Spirituality of the Subalterns,” ,  Ponniah, James,  Vaiharai,  Vol 9, No 3,  (2004),  32-58
Books (Total Books: 4)
  • The Dynamics of Folk  Religion In Society: Pericentralisation as Deconstruction of Sanskritisation ,  Ponniah, James,  New Delhi: Serials Publications,  (201o), ) xvi+307, 
  • Identity, Difference and Conflict: Postcolonial Critique  ,  Ponniah, James & Victor Ferrao (Eds.),  Banglore: Asian Trading Corporation & Association of Christian Philosophers of India,  (2013), ) xxxviii+ 358, 
  • The Dancing Peacock: Indian Insights into Religion and development,  Ponniah, James & Kuruvilla Pandikattu (Eds.),  New Delhi: Serials Publications,  (2010), ) xix+276 pages, 
  • Committed to the Church and the Country,  Ponniah, James, Kuruvilla Pandikattu and Thomas Kurioacose (Eds.,),  Pune: ISPCK & Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth,  (2013), ) xi+ 319, 

Journals (Total Journals: 2)

  • Relevance of Religion in Contemporary Times: Explorations and Experiments,  Ponniah, James (Guest Editor),  Satya Nilayam: Chennai Journal of Intercultural Philosophy,  Vol 24,  (2013), 
  • “It’s the End of the World as We Know It”: Contemporary Understandings of the Kali Yuga”  ,  Ponniah, James & Amy Allocco (Guest Editors),  Nidan: An International Journal for the Study of Hinduism,  July,  (2014), 

Seminar

National
  • Presented a paper on “The Role of Religion in Electoral Politics” in a Seminar on Democracy and Electoral Politics: A Theological Reflection at Sacred Heart College in Chennai on 23-11-2000.  
  • Presented a paper on “Rituals and Ritual Power of the Broken People: A Debate over Strategies,” in a seminar on “Broken People and Their Religious Discourses” at Ambedkar Research Centre, Palayamkottai, Feb 27-March 1, 2006.
  • Presented a paper on “Subaltern Religion and Rituals” in a Seminar on Subaltern Hermeneutics and Social Transformation in the University of Madras on 19-20 September, 2006. 
  • Presented a paper on “Religion: An Agent for Globalisation of Development or for Development of Globalisation?” in  a seminar on The Dynamics of Religion: A Philosophical Review from Indian Perspectives, conducted by ACPI (The Association of Christian Philosophers) at Chennai on October, 27-30, 2006. 
  • Presented a paper on “Ecology and Folk Religion: Role of Little Traditions in Preserving the Precious Earth,” in a National Seminar on Science-Dialogue and Environmental Concern, Goa, March, 10-11, 2007.
  • Presented a paper on “Study of Subaltern Religious Experience: Its Relevance, Challenges and Scope for Christian Theology” in the Plenary Council Meeting of Theology Faculty, Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune, 15—16 February, 2008. 
  • Presented a paper on“Emancipating gods and Empowered Humans: A Folk Religious Perspective on This-worldly Well-being,” in a national conference on Human Emancipation: Here and Now, Loyola College, Chennai, 14th March 2008. 
  • Presented a paper on “The Phenomenon of Bible Mission: Exploring the Features of a Local Church on the Margins” in a conference on Mission At and From  the Margins: Patterns, Protagonists and Perspectives organised by CODECS at The Henry Martin Institute,  Hyderabad, 22-27 September, 2009. 
  • Presented a paper on “Popular Devotions as Occasions for Inter-religious Dialogue,” in conference on Popular Devotions and Faith-Formation, organised by ICA, Chennai, 3-5 Feb, 2010.  
  • Presented a paper on “Periphery and its indeterminacy: The Contours of Philosophy of Margins in India” in a national seminar on Philosophy and Distance Learning:Innovations in Knowledge Fusion, organised by School of Inter-disciplinary and Trans-disciplinary Studies, IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University)at New Delhi, October 28-29, 2010. 
  • Presented a paper on “People, Agency and Power” in an International Seminar on Popular Religiosity:Philosophical Perspectives, Department of Philosophy, Loyola College, Chennai, January 10, 2011. 
  • Presented a paper on “Folk Religion and/as Public Sphere,” in an Inter-faculty Seminar on Relevance of Religion in Contemporary India, Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune October 3, 2011. 
  • Presented a paper on “Folk Religion and Social Transformation,” in An All India Semianr on Religion and Social Progress jointly organised by BHU (Banaras Hindu University) & SAMVADA at Dagmapur, Varanasi, November 11-13, 2011
  • Presented a paper on “Discriminating Social Structures and Empowering Religious Resources: An View on Interaction between Vulnerable Groups and Development,” in a International Conference  on Religion, Spirituality and Social Work  organised by CSRD (Center for Studies in Rural development) and ISWR (Institute of Social Work and Research Ahmed Nagar) at Institute of Social Work and Research,  Ahmed Nagar, December 28-30,  2011. 
  • Presented a paper on  “M.N Roy: Revisiting his critique of Marxist tradition and appropriating his notion of freedom for development ethics,” in an International Seminar  on “Tradition, Freedom and Development: Hermeneutic Appropriations,” organized by The Council for Research in Values in Education (CRVP),  Washington and JDV (Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth), at JDV (Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth), Pune, August 10-12, 2012.
  • Presented a paper on " M.N Roy: Revisiting His Critique of Marxist Tradition and Appropriating His Notion of Freedom for Development Ethics,” in an International Seminar  on “Tradition, Freedom and Development: Hermeneutic Appropriations,” organized by The Council for Research in Values in Education (CRVP),  Washington and JDV (Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth), at JDV (Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth), Pune, August 10-12, 2012.
  • Presented a paper on “Shifting Centres of Academic Discourses: Indian Initiatives in Post-Colonial Theories” in a seminar on Identity, Difference and Conflict: Postcolonial Critique, conducted by ACPI (The Association of Christian Philosophers), Pune, October, 26-29, 2012. 
  • Organised a national seminar on Identity, Difference and Conflict: Postcolonial Critique, conducted by ACPI (The Association of Christian Philosophers), Pune, October, 26-29, 2012. 
  • Presented a paper on “Fabricating Environmentalism through Creative Practices and Reframed Narratives: Folk Culture and Contemporary Ecological Movements,” in a National Conference on Prophetic Eco-Theology, organised by Asian Centre for Cross-Cultural Studies, Chennai, February, 14-15, 2013. 
  • Participated in “Dialogue of Life” a workshop organized by CTPB (Conflict Transformation and Peace Building Program) Desk, held on 21.05.2014 at Bethel hall, CWC, Chennai.
  • Participated in “Guidelines for Christians on Interfaith Dialogue in India,” a conference organized by CTPB (Conflict Transformation and Peace Building Program) Desk, held on 17th June 2014 at Bethel hall, CWC, Chennai.
  • Participated in a Seminar on “Religions, Conflicts and Human Rights” jointly organised by Salesian Pontifical University and Department of Christian Studies, University of Madras, Chennai  14 August 2014. 
  • Presented a paper on “Indian Feminism: Some Critical Reflections” for a panel on Feminsim and its Implications for Theologizing and presented a paper on organised by the Department of Theology and Ethics and the Department of Women's Studies at Gurukul, Chennai, September 10,  2014. 
  • Presented a paper on "Shrines, Ritual Hospitality and Hybrid Identities in South Asia” in an International Conference on Hybridity, Hospitality and Multiple Religious Belonging organised jointly by World Council of Churches (WCC) and Gurukul, Chennai, October 2-5, 2014.
  • Presented a paper on “In Search of Emancipation: Subaltern Strategies of Identity Construct through Religious Symbols”  in a conference on The Symbolic World: Construction and Deconstruction organised by Association of Christian Philosophers of India, Aluva, 15-18 October 2014.
  • Organised an Alumni Conference on “Religion in Public Life,”  University of Madras, Chennai October 21-22, 2014. 
  • Chaired the inagural session and delivered presidential address for the symposium on on “Christian Leadership for Today” organised by Asian Christian Research Institute (ACRI), Chennai,  25 November, 2015.  
  • Participated in an International Conference on “Gender and Religion: Interpreting the Interface” organised by Gender Studies, UCIR (University Centre for International Relations) and the Department of Christian Studies, Chennai , 11 December  2014. 
  • Presented a paper on “Embodied Practices as Spiritual Paths in Indian Civilisation” in an international conference on Dimensions of Indian civilization organised by Sanskruti- Institute of Dravidian Culture and Reseach, Hydrabad, January 24 – 25, 2015
International
  • Presented a paper on“God on their side: Interrogation of the Social by the Folk Shamans in India” in an International Seminar on Cross-Cultural Encounter: Experience and Expression of the Divine, Innsbruck, 16th –20th, May 2007. 
  • Presented a paper on“Care for the Mother Earth: A Discourse on Ecology and Folk Religions of India,” in an International Conference on Heritage and the Environment, Sabhal Mor Ostaig, Isle of Sky, Scotland, 19-23 June 2007. 
  • Presented a paper on“Subaltern Perspective in the Study of Religions” in a conference on Live Options in the Study of Religion, at Claremont Graduate University, California, USA April 17th & 18th 2009.
  • Presented a paper on “Gods of the Earth: Understanding Folk Deities in India”at the Hindu Studies Colloquium, Harvard University, USA, April 23, 2009
  • Presented a paper on “The Story of 'Bible Mission' : The call of a Lay Man and his Ministry” in a conference on “Many Tongues, One Spirit,” at JST, University of Santa Clara, Berkeley, USA, May 28-31, 2009. 
  • Presented a paper on “Higher Planes and Lower Grounds: Hindu Idea of  Gods'  Forgiveness towards Erring Humans,”  at  the Institute of Life Culture, Sogang University, Seoul, Sept 4, 2009. 
  • Gave a paper on “Religions in India and Hinduism”: A Special Inaugural Lecture at the Graduate School of Theology,   Sogang University, Seoul, Sept 3, 2009. 
  • Gave Karl Rahner Seminar Lecture on “Idea of Universality in Hinduism and Inter-religious Dialogue,” at the Department of Religious Studies, Sogang University, Seoul, Sept 7, 2009. 
  • Presented a paper on “Provoking Conflicts and Invoking Changes: Understanding the Conflictual Nature of Kodai Festivals in South India,” (in absentia) in a conference on Argument, Oppositions and Conflicts, organised by CSRI (Conference on the Study of Religions in India, USA) at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, 17-20 June, 2010. 
  • Presened a paper on “Taking the Cross and Walking from Subalternity to Modernity,” in Panel 43 on Christians, Cultural Interactions and South Asian Religious Traditions for 21. European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies (ECMSAS), The University of Bonn, Germany, 26-29 July, 2010.
  • Presented a paper on “Tapping the Ritual Power and Remapping the Social World” in a conference on Altered and Alternative States, organised by CSRI (Conference on the Study of Religions in India, USA) at Loyola Mary Mount University, USA, 23-26 June, 2011. 
  • Presented a paper on “Dreaming India and Being Indian” in a Panel entitled Law, Legislation and Religious Formations in South Asian Nation-States at the Annual Meetings of   AAR (American Academy of Religions) at San Francisco, Nov 19-22, 2011
  • Presented a paper on “The Porous Democracy of the Powerful and Amorphous Religious World of the Powerless” in a Seminar on Democracy in an age of Globalisation: Ethical and Religio-Political challenges, Innsbruck, 16th –20th, May 2012.
  • Presented a paper on “View their Deities and Review their Religion: A discussion on the Folk Hinduism of India,” in The Istituto Italiano of Oriental Studies, Sapienza University of Rome, 25 May 2012. 
  • Presented a paper on “South Asian Christianity: Its Negations and Negotiations by the Dalits in India,” in Panel 43 on Christians, Cultural Interactions and South Asian Religious Traditions for 22. European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies (ECMSAS), ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal,  25-28 July, 2012.
  • Presented a paper on“Alternative Discourse of Kali Yugam in Ayya Vazhi” in a Panel entitled It is the End of the World as We Know it: Contemporary Understandings of the Kali Yuga at the Annual Meetings of the AAR (American Academy of Religions) at Chicago, Nov 17-20, 2012. 
  • Presented a paper on “Popular Religious Practices: Alternative Grounds for Inter-religious Dialogue” in a symposium on Interreligious Dialogue: Indian and German Perspectives, University of Eichstatt-Ingolstadt, Germany, 8-9 Jan 2013. 
  • Presened a paper on “Proximity of Religions through Bodily Practices?” in a panel on Embodiment and Embodied Performance in Hindu-Christian Studies during 2013 Annual Meeting of SHCS (‘Society for Hindu-Christian Studies’) held concurrently with AAR at Baltimore, USA,  November 23, 2013. 
  • Presented a paper on “Growth and Challenges for Christianity in India” (co-presenter with Chad Bauman) in a  global conference on Christianity and Freedom: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, organized by Berkley Centre for Religion, Peace and World Affairs ( George Town University, USA) in Rome, December 13-14, 2013. 
  • Convened a Panel 48 titled as ‘Subaltern Narratives in Contemporary South Asia: Continuities and Discontinuities in the Politics of Representation’ for 23 rd European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies (ECMSAS), University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, 24 to 28 July,  2014. 
  • Presented a paper on “Production of Emancipatory Strategies Through Religion: A Study of Dalit’s Innovations in Tamilnadu” in Panel 48 titled as ‘Subaltern Narratives in Contemporary South Asia: Continuities and Discontinuities in the Politics of Representation’ for 23 rd European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies (ECMSAS), University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, 24 to 28 July,  2014. 

Guidance

Ph.D Awarded
Ph.D Students 3
M.Phil Awarded 3
M.Phil Students 5

Additional Informations