Press release: Award for doctoral thesis in religious studies
Nr. 64/2018 - 21.03.2018
Dr. Stefan Binder from the University of Göttingen receives Gerardus van der Leeuw Prize 2018
(pug) Religious anthropologist Dr. Stefan Binder from the University of Göttingen has received the Gerardus van der Leeuw Prize 2018. The Netherlands Society for Religious Studies (NGG) awarded him the prize for the most “original and innovative” doctoral thesis. Binder completed his dissertation on atheism in South India in 2017 at Utrecht University. According to NGG, the dissertation was also considered to contribute the most to religious studies as an academic discipline, balancing carefully between ethnographic data and theoretical debates. Binder is now a research fellow at Göttingen University’s Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS).
Binder’s study “Total Atheism: Making Mental Revolutions in South India” shows that theories in religious studies are thoroughly impregnated by Western concepts. He proposes a non-Eurocentric critical epistemology of secularity, faith and unbelief. In its ethnological analysis of an organized atheist movement in Teluga-speaking South India, the dissertation investigates intellectual debates, biographical narratives, oral practices, family ideologies and wedding practices, as well as programmes to overcome so-called superstition and the caste system.
Dr. Stefan Binder
University of Göttingen
Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS)
Waldweg 26, 37073 Göttingen