Myths and Places : New Perspectives in Indian Cultural Geography book cover
1st Edition

Myths and Places
New Perspectives in Indian Cultural Geography

Edited By

Shonaleeka Kaul

  • Available for pre-order on June 2, 2023. Item will ship after June 23, 2023
ISBN 9780367712006
June 23, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge India
184 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations

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USD $170.00

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Book Description

This volume explores the dialogic relationship between myths and places in the historically, geographically and culturally diverse context of India.

Given its ambiguous relationship with ‘facts’ and empirical reality, myth has suffered an uncertain status in the field of professional history, with the latter’s preference for scientifism over more creative orders of representation. Myths and Places rehabilitates myth, not as history’s primeval ‘Other’, nor as an instrument of socio-religious propagation, but as communitarian mechanisms by which societies made sense of themselves and their world. It argues that myths helped communities fashion their identities and their habitat/habitus, and were fashioned by these in turn. This book explores diverse forms of territorial becoming and belonging in a grassroots approach from across India, studying them in culturally sensitive ways to recover local life-worlds and their self-understanding. Further, challenging the stereotypical bracketing of the mythical with the sacred and the material with the historical, the multidisciplinary essays in the book examine myth in relation to not only religion but other historical phenomena such as ecology, ethnicity, urbanism, mercantilism, migration, politics, tourism, art, philosophy, performance, and the everyday.

This book will be of interest to scholars and general readers of Indian history, regional studies, cultural geography, mythology, religious studies, and anthropology.

Table of Contents

Preface 1. Introduction: New Myths and Myths Anew 2. Kāśī as Space and Notion: Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina Myths 3. Ecology, Mythic Imagination and Kṛṣṇa Worship in Early Mathurā 4. The Patriarch King: Myths from a Jewish Homeland in Kodungallur 5. The Rise and Fall of Two Cities: Valabhī and Dhārā as Narrated in the Prabandhacintāmaṇi 6. Peregrination as Pedagogy: Śankarācārya’s Digvijayas and the Idea of India 7. Goddesses and Abodes: Myths, Memories and the Divine of the Nilachala Hills 8. The Mountain Numen: Myth and Everyday Life in Kangra and Hamirpur 9. Vernacular Shrines and Mythical Narratives: A Case Study of Champaran 10. Myth as Palimpsest: Performance and Provenance of the Tamil Śilappadikaram 11. Itinerant Identities in the Thar: Myths in Shah Abdul Latif's Risalo

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Shonaleeka Kaul is a cultural and intellectual historian of early India. She is Professor at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India and has also been the Malathy Singh Distinguished Lecturer in South Asian Studies at Yale University, USA, the Jan Gonda Fellow in Indology at Leiden University, The Netherlands, and the DAAD Professor of History at Heidelberg University, Germany.

She has authored The Making of Early Kashmir: Landscape and Identity in the Rajatarangini (2018) and Imagining the Urban: Sanskrit and the City in Early India (2010), and edited Retelling Time: Alternative Temporalities from Premodern South Asia (2021), Eloquent Spaces: Meaning and Community in Early Indian Architecture (2019) and Cultural History of Early South Asia (2014). Translations by her include Hitopadesha (2022) and Looking Within: Life Lessons from Lal Ded, the Kashmiri Shaiva Mystic (2019).