Call for book chapters for proposed edited book on ‘Breath, Body, and Air in South Asia’

 We invite abstracts for book chapters for a proposed edited book examining the triad of breath, body, and air in South Asia, with a primary focus on India. Important scholarly work in the humanities and social sciences is increasingly engaging with the intersections of air pollution, breathing bodies, toxicity and the environment. Simultaneously, recent research in (medical) anthropology and the history of medicine have foregrounded breath and the body through work on diseases such as tuberculosis and healing traditions such as Ayurveda. This proposed edited volume seeks to bring together the thematics of breath, body, and air, drawing on recent developments in various disciplines and sub-fields within the social sciences and humanities. The aim is to offer a comprehensive analysis of the many ways in which these thematics intersect and interpolate in different contexts in South Asia, with a keen eye toward the social and political implications of such intersections.


Some of the questions, among others, we seek to address are:

 What does it mean to think of the material, sensuous body in terms of breath that constantly escapes it, and how does the materiality of the body help us reconceptualise breath?

 What kinds of individual and social bodies or worlds are fostered and challenged through breath and/or shortness of breath; through the abundance or lack of clean air?

 How does breath and/or air forge connections between humans and the non-human material worlds around them?

How do different epistemologies of the body, bodily winds and/or air intersect in spiritual-therapeutic healing practices and traditions?

How do ecological relationships foreground the ways in which air reconfigures relatedness in contemporary social worlds?

  What are the implications of science, technology and policy in quantifying air and breath for the reformulations of bodies and the spaces they occupy?

   What are the social and political implications of various epistemologies of the body, breath and air, and their entanglements?

   What kinds of methodological possibilities of research are opened up by following air and breath?


We invite submissions from scholars working in the South Asian context. We are particularly interested in contributions related to (but certainly not limited to) the following:

  The spiritual-therapeutic practices of Yoga, Ayurveda, Tantra, Siddha Medicine, and other such practices from the subcontinent

   Historical or contemporary work on biomedicine, biomedical practices, and diseases especially pulmonary diseases.

  Research on environment and ecology with a focus on their social implications.

  Science and technology studies that critically examine science, technology and policy.


We are in discussions with Amsterdam University Press (Asian Studies), and aim to submit the book proposal by October 2021.


Abstract submission deadline: 15th June

·  Word limit: 500 words.

·   Please give a proposed title.

·   Please ensure your abstract makes clear your disciplinary approach and foregrounds at least two of the three themes of the proposed book.

·   Please share your current affiliation and position details.


Dr. Tuhina Ganguly is Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, Shiv Nadar University, India. Her current research is on (modern postural) yoga and epistemologies of the body. She has previously received the Wenner-Gren Workshop Grant, and has published in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Dr. Vasundhara Bhojvaid is Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, Shiv Nadar University, India. Vasundhara’s current work looks at how air pollution is effecting and effected by policies, transforming life in urban spaces and understandings of the body. Her articles have appeared in The Journal of Material Culture, and Cultural Anthropology

Submissions and any request for clarifications can be emailed to either: Dr. Tuhina Ganguly & Dr. Vasundhara Bhojvaid.