This book analyses cultural questions related to representations of the body in South Asian traditions, human perceptions and attitudes toward the body in religious and cultural contexts, as well as the processes of interpreting notions of the body in religious and literary texts.
Utilising an interdisciplinary perspective by means of textual study and ideological analysis, anthropological analysis, and phenomenological analysis, the book explores both insider- and outsider perspectives and issues related to the body from the 2nd century CE up to the present-day. Chapters assess various aspects of the body including processes of embodiment and questions of mythologizing the divine body and othering the human body, as revealed in the literatures and cultures of South Asia. The book analyses notions of mythologizing and "othering" of the body as a powerful ideological discourse, which empowers or marginalizes at all levels of the human condition.
Offering a deep insight into the study of religion and issues of the body in South Asian literature, religion and culture, this book will be of interest to academics in the fields of South Asian studies, South Asian religions, South Asian literatures, cultural studies, philosophy and comparative literature.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Rethinking the Body in South Asian Traditions
1. The vaṃśa as Body: Seizure, Illness and Restriction of the Body in the Harivaṃśa
2. Tinged with Pain and Promise: Images of Bodies in the Poetry of Appar
Anne E. Monius
3. Allegorical representations of the body in the Vijñānagīta by Keśavdās
4. Devotional Bodies and Embodied Devotion: Yoga, Bhakti and Pilgrimage in the Radhasoami Tradition
5. Bodies in Cracking India
6. Cultivating a female body: Appropriation of female rituality (saṃskāra) within the hijra community
7. When Humans Pose as Hindu Gods
Diana Dimitrova is Professor of Hinduism and South Asian Traditions at the University of Montreal, Canada. She is the author of Hinduism and Hindi Theatre, Gender, Religion and Modern Hindi Drama and Western Tradition and Naturalistic Hindi Theatre. She is also the editor of Religion, Literature and Film in South Asia and Imagining Indianness: Cultural Identity and Literature (with Thomas de Bruijn). Her publications include the edited volumes, The Other in South Asian Religion, Literature and Film: Perspectives on Otherism and Otherness (2014) and Divinizing in South Asian Traditions (2018, with Tatiana Oranskaia), also published by Routledge. She is the series editor of the Routledge Series on South Asian Culture.