Spiritual and Material Striving in Rural India

8/30/2016 4:30 PM

Spiritual and Material Striving in Rural India

Emory University, Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies
South Asia Seminar Series presents
guest lecture by Bhrigupati Singh
Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Brown University


Poverty and the Quest for Life:
Spiritual and Material Striving in Rural India

Dr. Singh will discuss his recent book Poverty and the Quest for Life (University of Chicago Press, 2015). Set in Shahabad, an area of extreme poverty in rural Rajasthan, and focusing on the Sahariyas, a community of former bonded laborers, this book asks what the terms “aspiration” and “quality of life” might mean within such a milieu. The book answers this question by taking the reader through a range of themes including ways of conceptualizing state power and everyday encounters with the state (beyond a fixation on corruption and sovereign authority), the decline of forests and the water table, the contestations but also the intimacies of inter-caste sociality,the rise and fall of gods, and the place of religious practice in everyday life. This book offers new ways of thinking beyond the religion-secularism and nature-culture dichotomies, juxtaposing questions about quality of life with political theologies of sovereignty, neighborliness, and ethics, in the process painting a rich portrait of perseverance and fragility in contemporary rural India.

Date: Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Time: 4:30pm
Venue: Emory University, S-319 Callaway Center, 537 Kilgo Cir, Atlanta, GA 30322
Contact: jmcghee@emory.edu, 404-727-2575

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