To Be Cared for (Paperback)

The Power of Conversion and Foreignness of Belonging in an Indian Slum

By Nathaniel Roberts

University of California Press, 9780520288829, 312pp.

Publication Date: April 26, 2016



To Be Cared For offers a unique view into the conceptual and moral world of slum-bound Dalits ("untouchables") in the South Indian city of Chennai. Focusing on the decision by many women to embrace locally specific forms of Pentecostal Christianity, Nathaniel Roberts challenges dominant anthropological understandings of religion as a matter of culture and identity, as well as Indian nationalist narratives of Christianity as a "foreign" ideology that disrupts local communities. Far from being a divisive force, conversion integrates the slum community--Christians and Hindus alike--by addressing hidden moral fault lines that subtly pit residents against one another in a national context that renders Dalits outsiders in their own land.

About the Author

Nathaniel Roberts is Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany.