top_2_1.jpg top_2_2.jpg
Singing the Goddess into Place
Locality, Myth, and Social Change in Chamundi of the Hill, a Kannada Folk Ballad
Singing the Goddess into Place
Click on image to enlarge

Caleb Simmons - Author
SUNY series in Hindu Studies
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 208 pages
Release Date: May 2022
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-8865-3



Explores how a folk ballad in southern India transforms the landscape and embeds the deities that are its subject within the social worlds of their devotees.

Singing the Goddess into Place examines Chamundi of the Hill, a collection of songs that tells the stories of the gods and goddesses of the region around the city of Mysore in southern Karnataka. The ballad actively transforms the region into a land where gods and goddesses live, embedding these deities within the social worlds of their devotees and remapping southern Karnataka into sacred geography connected through networks of devotion and pilgrimage. In this in-depth study of the songs and their context, Caleb Simmons not only provides the first English-language translation of these songs but brings to light the unstudied folk perspectives on the foundational myth of Mysore and its urban history. Singing the Goddess into Place demonstrates how folk narratives reflect local context while also actively working to upend social inequities based on caste and ritual/devotional practices. By delving into this world, the book helps us understand how a landscape is transformed through people's relationship with it and how this relationship helps build meaning for the communities that call it home.

"Caleb Simmons has written a compelling study that sheds light on a local tradition of wider importance and bears broad significance to the study of religion in South Asia, with a particular contribution to the much‐neglected subject of popular religious ballads (sometimes referred to as 'oral epics' or 'folk narratives'). The Kannada‐speaking culture is known for its originality and richness but also for being woefully understudied. This book brings to light the rich local culture of Mysore, a necessary stop on a scholar's path that few write about, and thereby fills a real gap in the study of the region by illuminating a neglected hinterland between ethnography and textual studies." — Gil Ben-Herut, author of Siva's Saints: The Origins of Devotion in Kannada according to Harihara's Ragaḷegaḷu

Caleb Simmons is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Faculty Director of the Bachelor of General Studies Program in the College of Humanities at the University of Arizona. He is the author of Devotional Sovereignty: Kingship and Religion in India and coeditor (with Moumita Sen and Hillary Rodrigues) of Nine Nights of the Goddess: The Navarātri Festival in South Asia, also published by SUNY Press.

Bookmark and Share

Table of Contents

No table of contents available for this publication.

Related Subjects