Modern Asian ecclesiastical interconnections

Catholic Tamil Nadu and its diaspora in Malaysia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper explores the dynamics of the modern Asian Catholic ecclesiastical experience in Malaysia within the context of diaspora. Using the South Indian Tamil Catholic community in Malaysia as a case in point, I explore the mediations that occur in ecclesiastical spaces as a result of the points of contact between Catholic Tamil Nadu and its diaspora in Malaysia. Through an analysis of two festivals of ethnic Tamil heritage, the Feast of Our Lady of Good Health and the Pongal Festival, in a predominantly Tamil parish community, the discussion will show how the interactions between ethnicity, culture, and the Catholic Tamil diaspora in Malaysia foreground a sinuous interweaving of the threads of continuity, adaptation and dialogue. I also attempt to extend the investigation a little further to show instances of subtle differences that emerge as a result of the diasporic relocation of vernacular Catholicism inherited from South India. The latter subsequently reveal the modern Asian ecclesiastical interconnections that occur as South Indian Catholicism is practised within its national Malaysian Catholic context.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralian Journal of Anthropology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017

Fingerprint

Tamil
interconnection
diaspora
Malaysia
Catholicism
festival
move
parish
community
mediation
continuity
ethnicity
dialogue
contact
India
interaction
health
experience

Keywords

  • Continuity
  • Diaspora
  • Ecclesiastical adaptation
  • Malaysian Indian
  • South Asian Catholicism
  • Tamil Catholic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology

Cite this

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abstract = "This paper explores the dynamics of the modern Asian Catholic ecclesiastical experience in Malaysia within the context of diaspora. Using the South Indian Tamil Catholic community in Malaysia as a case in point, I explore the mediations that occur in ecclesiastical spaces as a result of the points of contact between Catholic Tamil Nadu and its diaspora in Malaysia. Through an analysis of two festivals of ethnic Tamil heritage, the Feast of Our Lady of Good Health and the Pongal Festival, in a predominantly Tamil parish community, the discussion will show how the interactions between ethnicity, culture, and the Catholic Tamil diaspora in Malaysia foreground a sinuous interweaving of the threads of continuity, adaptation and dialogue. I also attempt to extend the investigation a little further to show instances of subtle differences that emerge as a result of the diasporic relocation of vernacular Catholicism inherited from South India. The latter subsequently reveal the modern Asian ecclesiastical interconnections that occur as South Indian Catholicism is practised within its national Malaysian Catholic context.",
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