Skip to main content

Centre for South Asian Studies: About Us


Arkotong Longkumer

Dr Arkotong Longkumer
Lecturer in Religious Studies
School of Social and Political Science
University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh UK
+44 (0)131 650 8781
No Photo

My research and teaching interests lie in the intersection between indigenous religions, Hinduism and local Christianities in South and Southeast Asia. I am also interested in theory and method in the study of religions, and its interface between the different disciplines of religious studies, anthropology, and history.

Research Interests/Areas

I welcome postgraduate enquiries and applications in any of these areas:

  • Indigenous religions, contemporary Hinduism, religious reform movements (especially in South/Southeast Asia), and local Christianities.
  • Nationalism/transnationalism and religion; globalisation and religion; postcolonial studies (especially identity and performance); and anthropology of religion.
  • Borderlands and nation-states in South and Southeast Asia amongst highland communities (known as Zomia), especially the Northeast and Nagas of India.

Teaching Areas

  • South Asian Traditions
  • Theory and Method in the Study of Religions
  • Religion and Nationalism
  • Sociology and Anthropology of Religion

Current research

I am working on an interdisciplinary project that investigates the relationship between religion, territory and transnationalism in South Asia and beyond, focused on three specific themes:

  • The idea of ‘moral geographies’ as a model of sovereignty.
  • The proliferation of religious networks that challenge the territorial limitations of the nation-state.
  • The current global concerns with religion and indigenous peoples, particularly centred on notions of indigenous peoples’ rights, self-determination and human rights.

Ongoing collaborations include:

  • A radio programme with Naga journalist, Alongba Longkumer, looking at the Forum of Naga Reconciliation and their work on conflict resolution between the different armed Naga nationalist groups in India (funded by Panos South Asia).
  • A joint article with Dr. Elspeth F. Graham (Geography, University of St. Andrews) on ‘Moral Geographies: The problem of Indigeneity and Territoriality in South Asia’.

Membership of Academic Associations

  • British Association for the Study of Religion (BASR)
  • British Association for South Asian Studies (BASAS)
  • European Association for the Study of Religion (EASR)
  • International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR)

Selected publications

2011. “Cleanliness is next to godliness”: Religious change, Hygiene and the Renewal of Heraka villages in Assam, India’, Contributions to Indian Sociology, 45 (2): 189-216.

2010. Reform, Identity and Narratives of Belonging: The Heraka Movement of Northeast India. London: Continuum (Continuum Advances in Religious Studies).

2009. ‘Exploring the diversity of religion: The Geo-political dimensions of Fieldwork and Identity in the North East of India’. Fieldwork in Religion, 4.1: 46-66.

2008. ‘Circling the Altar Stone: Bhuban Cave and the Symbolism of Religious Traditions’, in Michael Oppitz, Thomas Kaiser, Alban von Stockhausen and Marion Wettstein (eds.). Changing Local Cultures in the Northeast of India. Gent: Snoeck Publishers: 403-417.

2007. ‘Religious and Economic Reform: the Gaidinliu Movement and the Heraka in North Cachar Hills’, Journal of South Asian Studies Vol. 30, Nos. 3 (December): 499-515.