Jewels of  Authority -Women and Textual Tradition in Hindu India

Jewels of Authority -Women and Textual Tradition in Hindu India

Product ID: 7432

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Author: Laurie l Patton
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 228
ISBN/UPC (if available): 019 5664043


This authoritative volume sets a new benchmark for feminist studies of Hinduism and will be of interest to all those in the fields of gender studies, South Asian studies, religion, ethnography, and history.

In recent years, scholarship on the religious experiences of women has flourished. In the study of Hinduism, much of this work has hitherto explored basic issues such as power relations between the sexes, and the codification of, and conflict over, gender behavior. The essays in this volume seek to introduce a higher level of theoretical analysis by a close reading of situations in which women are given or denied authority in ritual and interpretive contexts. This approach encompasses not only how women are represented, but also studies how they are depicted as negotiating or resisting certain kinds of authority in specific colonial and post-colonial situations.

Focusing on the theme of brahminical authority to examine its manifestations and transformation, the contributions cover a vast spectrum of topics, ranging from Vedic to contemporary times. The essays critique prevailing modes of social behavior from the tradition’s own perspective. Some discuss the details of particular debates about women, such as those in the Vedic Mimamsa and medieval Vaisnava traditions.

Others discuss textual and ethnographic problems about the agency of women, such as women’s gift-giving in Vedic, epic, and poetic sources, or the cure for problematic childbirth. Finally, other essays analyze historical situations in which women appropriate authority for themselves in relationship to brahminical authority: in rural Rajasthan, in the colonial reform period in Calcutta, and in the conservative wing of the Hindu nationalist movement, the RSS.




Introduction -Laurie L Patton


1.The Housemistress at the Door: Vedic and Buddhist Perspectives
on the Mendicant Encounter
2.Ritual Rights: the Gender Implications of Adhikara
3.Mantras and Miscarriage: Controlling Birth in the Late Vedic Period


4.Giver or Given? Some Marriages in Kalidasa
5.Om, the Vedas, and the Status of Women with Special Reference to Srivaisnavism
6.Casting Light on the Sounds of the Tamil Veda: Tirukkoneri Dasyai’s Garland of Words


7.By What Authority? Hindu Women and the Legitimization
of Reform in the Nineteenth Century
8.Hindu Nationalist Women: On the Use of the Feminine Symbolic to (Temporarily) Displace Male Authority
9.Counterpoint Authority in Women’s Ritual Expressions:
10.A View from the Village