Material Acts in Everyday Hindu Worlds

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Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger
  • Albany, NY: 
    SUNY Press
    , October
     206 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


In Material Acts in Everyday Hindu Worlds, Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger analyzes the agency of materiality—the ability of materials to have an effect on both humans and deities—beyond human intentions. Using materials from three regions where Flueckiger conducted extensive fieldwork, she begins with Indian understandings of the agency of ornaments that have the desired effects of protecting women and making them more auspicious. Subsequent chapters bring in examples of materiality that are agentive beyond human intentions, from a south Indian goddess tradition where female guising transforms the aggressive masculinity of men who wear saris, braids, and breasts to the presence of cement images of Ravana in Chhattisgarh, which perform alternative theologies and ideologies to those of dominant textual traditions of the Ramayana epic. Deeply ethnographic and accessibly written, Material Acts in Everyday Hindu Worlds expands our understanding of material agency as well as the parameters of religion more broadly.

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

Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger is Professor of Religion at Emory University. She is the author of several books, including Everyday HinduismWhen the World Becomes Female: Guises of a South Indian Goddess; and In Amma’s Healing Room: Gender and Vernacular Islam in South India.


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