Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationPittsburgh, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9269
Approve DateApril 11, 2016
Project TitlePriyadarshini, Aanmona, U. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA - To aid research on 'Shattered Sacred, Broken Lives: Violence against Religious Sites in Bangladesh,' supervised by Dr. Robert M. Hayden
Preliminary abstract: On September 29, 2012, twenty one Buddhist temples were destroyed in three Muslim majority sub districts in Bangladesh. Destruction of sacred structures as a form of communal violence has largely been sidestepped in the mainstream literature on violence in South Asia, where the focus predominantly has been on violence against people and property. The scholars who have studied this specific form of violence, have used primordialist or instrumental notions of violence to understand it. This research aims to expand this literature by bringing the everyday life at the center, questioning whether and how this pattern of violence is embedded in and shapes the everyday life. It also propose to analyze the reconstruction process of the destructed temples as violence, as the government sponsored tourist-centric reconstruction process largely ignored the traditional Buddhist architectural style, construction materials, or the everyday religious practices of the Buddhist community. This study proposes to analyze this double-edged violence through ethnographically examining the ethical and material dimensions of everyday life, examining whether and how these destruction and reconstruction of the material world carried their own moral imperatives and political motivations from everyday life, and how those ruins and reconstructed temples in turn affected the daily lives of these communities.