By exploring India’s distinctive controversies over religion and politics, Cassie Adcock helps us understand how India is secular, differently.

Adcock, associate professor of history and South Asian Studies in the Department of History in Arts & Sciences, is a historian of modern South Asia with a focus on religion and politics in modern India.

In her current book project, Cattle Wealth and Cow Protection: Dharma, Development and the Secular State in India, 1881-1969, Adcock examines cow protection, which denotes the sentiments, practices and politics purportedly inspired by Hindu concern for the “sacred cow.” This project brings into play agricultural and environmental history, food, and animal studies.

An earlier publication, The Limits of Tolerance: Indian Secularism and the Politics of Religious Freedom, provides a critical history of the distinctive tradition of Indian secularism known as tolerance. In India today, it informs debates over how the right to religious freedom should be interpreted on the subcontinent.