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Material Acts in Everyday Hindu Worlds
Material Acts in Everyday Hindu Worlds
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Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger - Author
SUNY series in Hindu Studies
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 206 pages
Release Date: October 2020
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-8011-4

Price: $32.95 
Paperback - 206 pages
Release Date: July 2021
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-8012-1

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Broadens the parameters of religious studies by accounting for material acts that help shape religious worlds.

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.

“…[a] fascinating book … [that] not only delivers deep insight into the Hindu world, but broadens our understanding of the role of material agency within the study of religion.” — New Books Network

“This would be a great book to use in an introductory course for the ways it illustrates many elements of religious practices through a judicious mix of human voices and vivid descriptions. In weaving together the diverse potencies of jewelry, clothes, images, and other materialities, Flueckiger creates a unique ‘assemblage.’” — Ann Grodzins Gold, author of Shiptown: Between Rural and Urban North India

Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger is Professor of Religion at Emory University. She is the author of several books, including Everyday Hinduism; When 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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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Note on Transliteration


1. Agency of Ornaments: Identity, Protection, and Auspiciousness

2. Saris and Turmeric: Performativity of the Material Guise

3. Material Abundance and Material Excess: Creating and Serving Two Goddesses

4. Expanding Shrines, Changing Architecture: From Protector to Protected Goddesses

5. Standing in Cement: Ravana on the Chhattisgarhi Plains

Afterword: Returning to Material Acts

Glossary of Key Terms

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