Refiguring the Body

Embodiment in South Asian Religions

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Barbara A. Holdrege, Karen Pechilis
  • Albany, NY: 
    State University of New York Press
    , December
     376 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


Refiguring the Body provides a sustained interrogation of categories and models of the body grounded in the distinctive idioms of South Asian religions, particularly Hindu and Buddhist traditions. The contributors engage prevailing theories of the body in the Western academy that derive from philosophy, social theory, and feminist and gender studies. At the same time, they recognize the limitations of applying Western theoretical models as the default epistemological framework for understanding notions of embodiment that derive from non-Western cultures. Divided into three sections, this collection of essays explores material bodies, embodied selves, and perfected forms of embodiment; divine bodies and devotional bodies; and gendered logics defining male and female bodies. The contributors seek to establish theory parity in scholarly investigations and to re-figure body theories by taking seriously the contributions of South Asian discourses to theorizing the body.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Barbara A. Holdrege is Professor of Religious Studies and Chair of the South Asian Studies Committee at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her books include Bhakti and Embodiment: Fashioning Divine Bodies and Devotional Bodies in Kṛṣṇa Bhakti and Veda and Torah: Transcending the Textuality of Scripture, also published by SUNY Press.

Karen Pechilis is NEH Distinguished Professor of Humanities in the Comparative Religion Department at Drew University. Her books include Interpreting Devotion: The Poetry and Legacy of a Female Bhakti Saint of India and The Embodiment of Bhakti.

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