At the moment I’m part of associate professor Kristina Myrvold project on the use of religious miniature scriptures during World War I. My part of the projected started in February 2016. The research project investigates the production, distribution, and use of miniature scriptures for Muslim and Sikh soldiers from the province of Punjab in India who fought for the British Army at the Western front during World War I between 1914 and 1918. In order to maintain military discipline and nurture the soldiers’ religious contentment while being dispatched to the war trenches in Europe the British colonial power provided miniscule editions of the complete texts of the Quran in Arabic script and the Granth in Gurmukhi script that could easily be carried into the battlefield. These miniature scripture, measuring only a few centimeters in size, are today museum pieces and collectibles that enshrine histories about the importance of religious texts and their uses in the critical time of war. Based on original archival research the project will map out the organization interests, and motivations behind the British provision of miniature scriptures and other religious artifacts to Indian soldiers. By anchoring the research in the academic fields of military history, book history, and religious studies, the project seeks to unfold the complex relations that manifested between the colonial rulers and the Indian subjects in a context when the national security and honor was threaten. From the theoretical perspective of “material religion” and how the materiality of especially religious books can be attributed multiple functions, uses and powers, the project explores the circulation and practices of the tiniest religious scriptures in print and in what ways they served to structure British and Indian relations during the war.
”Miniature Scriptures for Muslim and Sikh Soldiers in the British Army during World War I” (With Kristina Myrvold) in Miniature Book Society Newsletter No.101 – March 2016. Download here
2016: Miniature Books: Production, Print and Practice, October 5-6, Linnaeus University. With Kristina Myrvold, Religion in the Trenches : Miniature Scriptures for Muslim and Sikh Soldiers during WW1.
2015: Concurrences in postcolonial research – perspectives, methodologies, engagements at Kalmar, Sweden. 20–23 August. Paper presented with Kristina Myrvold ““Religion in the Trenches: Miniature Scriptures and Artifacts for Muslim and Sikh Soldiers in the British Army during World War I”