Materiality, Religion, and Innovation form the core of the Jugaad project. Jugaad’s goal is to connect people and places rarely put together in the study of material religion and to provide a global resource that is open-source and freely accessible.
The name Jugaad connotes an innovative solution to problems. The range of Jugaad extends beyond South Asian and Arabic cultures (where the term is commonly used) to other parts of the world where life’s problems are solved using quotidian, everyday solutions. Drawing inspiration from this approach, Jugaad incorporates theoretical and methodological influences from diverse fields.
Jugaad provides a platform for experimental content and showcases proudly the work of emerging scholars and artists. Our contributors’ ideas extend beyond conventional boundaries of what is considered religious studies, anthropology, history, politics, gender or race studies.
Jugaad’s content deploys affect, aesthetics, embodiment and praxis as pathways to engage with media, ecologies and heritage, among others. Media is an elastic understanding of materials/things to the full extension of expression and creativity, contained for instance in aesthetics and praxis. The category Ecologies forms a framework to explore the spatial configurations of material life-worlds and circumstances that exist and interact with/through the body. And Heritage is the temporal and political articulation of materiality, as lived experience, as discourse (historical/ideological), and as sites of identity-making.
Jugaad is based on an earlier project called Material Religions, started in 2014 by Urmila Mohan and John J. McGraw with support from David Morgan and Jean-Pierre Warnier. Over the past four years, Jugaad has demonstrated an eclectic approach to the study of religion and materiality. Along with new ideas, we adapt more traditional notions of materiality to bring them into dialog with an emerging generation of scholars. Our readers are diverse and we reflect this in our content. Articles on toxic ecologies from Russia and the US employ different approaches to materialism and religion. The value of embodiment varies across a digital Zen community and an African ritual of basket divination. Religious themes emerge in different ways from Western CrossFit sports culture and sanitation programs in India.