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Why understanding the RSS is important
September 16, 2019 - 12:30-13:30
Brown bag seminar with Walter Andersen on his and Shridhar Damle’s co-authored book entitled Messengers of Hindu Nationalism: How the RSS Reshaped India (2018). The book offers a view to the inside of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the organization that has molded the current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, as well as the party to which he belongs, the Bharatiya Janata Party. The book was published in 2018 by Hurst (UK), Penguin (India) and a Mandarin version is about to be released in China.
Speaker: Dr. Walter Andersen, formerly Administrative Director of the South Asian Studies Program, School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University, Washington D.C.
Commentator: Dr. Ravinder Kaur, Director of Centre for Global South Asian Studies, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen
Moderator: Dr. Stig Toft Madsen, Affiliated Researcher, NIAS, Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen
Walter Andersen, born in New York City, did his graduate work at the University of Chicago where he received his doctorate, writing a dissertation on religious politics. This dissertation, based on extensive fieldwork in India, was turned into a book, The Brotherhood in Saffron. He was a teaching intern at the University of Chicago, on the Political Science faculty at the College of Wooster, and taught at the University of Georgia. He later joined the US State Department, serving overseas in South Asia, including as special assistant to the US Ambassador to India, William Clarke, as well as in Washington, D.C., where he retired in 2004 as head of the Office of Research for South Asia. Following that, he joined the faculty at the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University where he became Administrative Director of its South Asians Studies Program. Since 2010, he has also taught graduate International Relations seminars at Tongji University in Shanghai. He has written extensively on religious politics and is now doing preliminary research on a book that will analyze the intersection of law and religion in India. He is scheduled to retire from SAIS at the conclusion of the 2018-2019 school year.