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When the World Becomes Female Guises of a South Indian Goddess by Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger

When the World Becomes Female Guises of a South Indian Goddess


When the World Becomes Female Guises of a South Indian Goddess by Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger

During the goddess Gangamma's festival in the town of Tirupati, lower-caste men take guises of the goddess, and the streets are filled with men wearing saris, braids, and female jewelry. By contrast, women participate by intensifying the rituals they perform for Gangamma throughout the year, such as cooking and offering food. Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger argues that within the festival ultimate reality is imagined as female and women identify with the goddess, whose power they share. Vivid accounts by male and female participants offer new insights into Gangamma's traditions and the nature of Hindu village goddesses.


Joyce B. Flueckiger's new book When the World Becomes Female . . . is a rich and colorful analysis of the goddess Gangamma's festival and her devotees.7/3/15 * New Books in South Asian Studies * [Joyce Flueckiger addresses] directly questions of the relationships between a goddess and her devotees, and the ways that those devotees play with gender.April 2015 * H-Asia * This is a carefully crafted ethnography on the South Indian festival of the village goddess Gangamma in the pilgrimage town of Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. . . . Recommended. * Choice * When the World Becomes Female is a great addition to the academic literature on South Asian religious, ritual, devotional, and goddess traditions. It is accessible enough for use in undergraduate courses on the same or as an example of ethnographic methodology. It is always in-depth enough for graduate courses and as a resource for scholars
and universities

. * *

About the Author

Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger is Professor of Religion at Emory University. She is author of In Amma's Healing Room: Gender and Vernacular Islam in South India (IUP, 2009) and Gender and Genre in the Folklore of Middle India.

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Book Info

Publication date

23rd July 2013


Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger

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Indiana University Press


336 pages


Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography

Hindu worship, rites & ceremonies



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