Johan Oommen Muzhangody

Johan is a PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Patrick Eisenlohr, in the research group “Society and Culture in Modern India”. In his doctoral research, he aims to understand the multiple registers on which music as a process and a product with global linkages of production, distribution, and consumption, mediates what it means to be a Christian in contemporary Kerala. The project intends to track the changing notions of Christianity itself in the region, viewed through the lens of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, commonly known as the Mar Thoma Church, and its fold. Questions that will be explored include: What roles do globalisation and transnational migration play in the emergence of new musical and sonic dimensions within a sacred space, and how does it contribute to the changing cultural landscape of Kerala Christians, specifically in urban spaces? How do the experiences of 'reverence', 'worship', and 'sacred' differ between non-denominational and denominational church-goers? In light of the tensions with rapid urbanisation and increasing number of Christian repatriates from the West, how do the specific musical practices of the Mar Thoma Church facilitate preserving its Syriac heritage and Oriental Orthodox traditions?

Johan’s larger research interests include the history and anthropology of Christianity; music, sound and religion. Prior to joining the Society and Culture in Modern India research group, Johan completed his Masters in Comparative History at the Central European University, Vienna and a Masters in Modern Indian Studies at CeMIS.