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Indian Tribal Cultures

When:Su 28-06-2015
Where:Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Groningen

28 June - 3 July 2015: Studying their life-worlds, doing fieldwork & writing ethnographies

“Tribe” is an administrative category in India comprising some 100 million people. Politically and academically it is a contested concept. When it comes to the tribal people of India a lot has been written about their alleged backwardness and about politics, much less about their cultures based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork.

Our three-fold focus will be the study of tribal cultures, how ethnographic fieldwork has been and can be done and how it can be discussed and recorded. We will, firstly, present and discuss the worldviews, rituals and social forms of selected Indian tribal societies. Second, we will discuss the complex process of doing fieldwork, its modes, challenges, chances and problems. Finally, we will reflect on how to write about these cultures and our experience with these cultures.

Contact person
Bhadra den Ouden (

Faculties involved
Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies

University of Cambridge
University of Leiden

Sustainable Society
Gonda Fund Foundation, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences