Saturday University with Lucinda Ramberg
“We Were Always Buddhist:" Caste Emancipation and Sexual Politics in South India
In 1956 anti-caste activist Dr. B.R. Ambedkar called upon his followers to convert to Buddhism as the equalitarian religion of the original inhabitants of the subcontinent. Since then, conversion to Buddhism in India has been widely understood as a mode of political dissent, and a means of escape from the discrimination and stigma attached to “untouchability.” Drawing on ethnographic research, this talk considers the realization of this dream and its paradoxes.
About the Presenter:
Professor Lucinda Ramberg, Cornell University, is a medical and sociocultural anthropologist and interdisciplinary scholar. Her research projects in South India and the United States have roots in longstanding engagements with the politics of sexuality, gender, and religion. Her first book, Given to the Goddess: South Indian Devadasis and the Sexuality of Religion (Duke University Press, 2014), is an ethnography of a contemporary practice in which girls are married to a goddess.
Saturday University is held in partnership with the University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies, Seattle University, and Elliott Bay Book Company.