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Seminar with Dr Soumhya Venkatesan in Bergen

December 6, 2012 - 13:15-15:00

Dr Venkatesan will present the following paper: “Material affordances: challenging through ‘back and forth ethnography”

This paper focuses on two different kinds of ritual experts – Hindu Brahmin priests and potter-priests – in Tamilnadu, South India. Using the anthropologist as interlocuter and mediator, both engage in complex theorisation about the nature of the gods to whom they minister, enlivenment techniques and the qualities of the materials used in the making of the embodied gods. The paper introduces a kind of ethnographic practice that I term ‘back and forth ethnography’ and shows how the anthropologist is drawn into and utilised in the ways in which people reinforce or challenge hierarchies based on caste, materials and practices.

Soumhya Venkatesan is a lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. She is currently working on a research project entitled ‘Makers of Gods’ wherein she focuses on technologies of embodiment, enlivening and personification of gods of the Hindu pantheon in Tamilnadu, South India.

Location: The Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen – Seminar room, 8th floor, Fosswinckelsgate 6. Refreshments and further discussions in the department lunch room after the seminar.

All interested are welcome!

Seminar with Dr Soumhya Venkatesan in Bergen


December 6, 2012