Publication : Territory, Soil and Society in South Asia

This volume tackles a widespread stereotype in academic studies, according to which pre-colonial India consisted of territorial units with ill-defined, fuzzy boundaries, and where territory had, and still has, little value as a cognitive category. In aiming to reconsider this perspective, the book follows two converging lines of enquiry. One explores the conceptions that stress the mutual determination of places and people, and the entrenchment of their identity in the soil. The other analyses historically and anthropologically the changing nature of the notion of territory, understood in its proper sense of a jurisdiction: an area where rights and power are exercised.

The investigation starts from the devaluation of religious territory in Vedic ritual texts, checks later developments of divine territories in relation to temples, details various types of ‘traditional’ jurisdictions, and ends up with an analysis of recent ethnicization of the Nation as shown in Hindutva produced videos. The book combines a diversity of sources (ethnographical, archival, textual and inscriptions), used by an international team of authors trained in different disciplines (Indology, history of religion, social anthropology). The approaches provide contrasting pictures of the plural conceptions and symbolic manipulations of territory in the Indian world from early times to the present day. The studies invite a comparison with other societies, based on the recognition of the historicity and plurality of territorial organizations that are at the core of human relationships.

ISBN: 9788173047824
Title: Territory, soil and society in South Asia
Author: Daniela Berti, Gilles Tarabout
Imprint: New Delhi : Manohar Publishers & Distributors
Physical Desc.: 379 p.
Year: 2009

 

Contents

Introduction
Daniela Berti & Gilles Tarabout

PART I : EMERGENCE OF DIVINE TERRITORIES IN BRAHMANICAL TEXTS

Land and Location: Errant Gods, Erring Asuras and the Land of Men: Place and Space in Vedic Literature
Michel Angot

Images and Territory of Gods: From Precepts to Epigraphs
Gérard Colas

PART II : LAND, SOIL, AND SENSE OF BELONGING

The Place of Ritual: Geographical Boundaries and Sectarian Identity in Medieval Indian Religions
Phyllis Granoff

The Smell of Soil: Geomantic Practices among Banaras Astrologers – Caterina Guenzi
Sunita Singh

Vital Exchanges: Land and Persons in Kerala
Caroline Osella & Filippo Osella

PART III : RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL TERRITORIES

Territory, Death and Local Deities in Newar Villages of the Kathmandu Valley
Gérard Toffin

The Annamanada Case: A Hundred Years of Conflict over Rights and Territories in Kerala
Gilles Tarabout

Divine Jurisdictions and Forms of Government in Himachal Pradesh
Daniela Berti

Mapping the Nation’s Body: Territorial Processions in Propaganda Videos of the Hindu Right
Christinae Brosius
Publisher Website (here)

 


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