Me, St. George, and Other Foreigners

Corinne G. Dempsey

in Kerala Christian Sainthood

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780195130287
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834136 | DOI:
 Me, St. George, and Other Foreigners

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Begins by questioning imperialist misconceptions that overestimate the ability of colonial powers to suppress indigenous cultures. Rather than viewing Kerala's Christian traditions as passive receptacles for foreign influence, this chapter highlights how they, as expressed through Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian sainthood, have managed to refashion colonial traditions. This case is made by viewing how devotees’ approaches to and perceptions of a local almost‐saint, Sr. Alphonsa, reflect challenges to colonial stereotypes of the Indian other, helping construct and congeal a positive Kerala Christian identity. Similarly, this chapter demonstrates how local traditions surrounding St. George, a “foreign” saint brought to the Malabar coast by the Syrians, Portuguese, and British, have come to articulate a type of pro‐Keralite, anticolonial stance.

Keywords: British; Kerala Christian; Orthodox Christian; Portuguese; postcolonial; Roman Catholic; sainthood; Sr. Alphonsa; St. George; Syrians

Chapter.  16959 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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