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Performativity and Agency of the Material Guise (Vesham) in a South Indian Goddess Tradition

Performativity and Agency of the Material Guise (Vesham) in a South Indian Goddess Tradition
170 St. George Street, JHB room 318
Time: Oct 8th, 4:30 pm End: Oct 8th, 6:00 pm
Interest Categories: Women & Gender Studies (FAS), South Asian, Religion, Study of (FAS), Drama, Theatre, Performance Studies (FAS), Critical Theory, Communications, Anthropology (FAS)
Lecture by Joyce Flueckiger, Emory University

The John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures, Religious Materiality in the Indian Ocean World, 1300-1800, is pleased to present the Plenary Address for the Conference on South Asian Religions 3rd Biennial University of Toronto Graduate Student Conference:

Joyce Flueckiger, Religion, Emory University

Performativity and Agency of the Material Guise (Vesham) in a South Indian Goddess Tradition

This talk analyses the performativity and agency of a range of material guises (veshams) that are performed in the tradition of the village goddess Gangamma in the south Indian pilgrimage town of Tirupati. Material guises include clothing (in particular, stri vesham, or female guise, created primarily by saris and ornaments), and turmeric. Photography will also be analysed as an agentive material element in the festival tradition. Each element of the repertoire of materiality provides a commentary on the other. Indigenously understood, it is the materiality of the guises (rather than human intervention) that identifies, transforms, and creates subjunctive possibilities. These gendered possibilities include recognition of an imaginative reality in which women are the unmarked, encompassing category in a world that at its core is female, and men (or aggressive masculinity) are transformed in order to have access to and a place in that world.

Reception to follow.

This event is free an open to all. Registration is not required. For further information, please contact the Department for the Study of Religion at (416) 978-3057.

Download poster [pdf]

Co-sponsors: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Jackman Humanities Institute

 


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