Dr. Nandagopal R. Menon

Nandagopal R. Menon holds a PhD in cultural anthropology from Utrecht University. His doctoral dissertation studied theological polemics (samvadam/munazara) among various Islamic groups and scholars who hold contrasting interpretations of the tradition in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala.

At CeMIS, besides teaching bachelors- and masters-level courses, Nandagopal has started a post-doctoral research project focusing on Muslims in Kerala who reject the authority of Prophetic traditions and rely on the Qur'an as the sole guide for all religious practice. The work will consider the implications of this rejection for basic and obligatory religious acts such as prayer, fasting and the pilgrimage to Mecca and, by extension, the formation of Muslim subjectivities in a multi-religious milieu. His academic interests include the anthropology of media and religion, secularism, religious pluralism and Islamic movements in South Asia. Nandagopal’s academic research has appeared in edited volumes and journals such as Modern Asian Studies and History of Religions.

He holds a B.A. in English literature from the University of Kerala and an Erasmus Mundus Masters in media and journalism studies from the Universities of Aarhus, Amsterdam and Hamburg. In autumn 2008, he was a visiting fellow at the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) in Leiden. Before returning to academia, Nandagopal worked as a journalist with The New Indian Express and Frontline.


Journal articles

2018 "What Do Polemics Do? Religion, Citizenship, and Secularism in South Indian Islam", History of Religions 58 (2): 128-164

2015 "Communal harmony as governmentality: reciprocity, peace-keeping, state legitimacy and citizenship in contemporary India", Modern Asian Studies 49 (2): 393-429

2010 "Imagined Kerala," Economic and Political Weekly 45, no. 34: 22–25

2007 "Islamophonic: New Styles of Reporting", ISIM Review 20: 58-59

Book chapter

2016 "'Islamic Renaissance', Sufism and the Nation-State: A Debate in Kerala", in Torsten Tschacher and Deepra Dandekar (eds), Islam, Sufism and Everyday Politics of Belonging in South Asia, Routledge: 262-278

Book reviews

2020 “Critic as a way of life”, review of Irfan Ahmad, Religion as Critique: Islamic Critical Thinking from Mecca to the Marketplace, Economic and Political Weekly LV (4): 22-23

2017 Review of "Kamaludeen Mohamed Nasir, Globalized Muslim Youth in the Asia Pacific: Popular Culture in Singapore and Sydney", Contributions to Indian Sociology 51 (3): 384-386

Review articles

2020 “Secularism, state and Muslim personal law,” review article of Katherine Lemons, Divorcing Traditions: Islamic Marriage Law and the Making of Indian Secularism and Julia Stephens, Governing Islam: Law, Empire and Secularism in South Asia, Economic and Political Weekly LV (31): 28-32