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Diaspora of the Gods

Joanne Punzo Waghorne

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780195156638
Published online January 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199785292 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195156638.001.0001
Diaspora of the Gods

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From Chennai (Madras), India to London and Washington D.C., contemporary urban middle-class Hindus invest earnings, often derived from the global economy, into the construction or renovation of temples. South Indians often lead such efforts to re-establish authentic temples that nonetheless become sites for innovative communities, new visions of the Gods, and distinctive middle-class religious sensibilities. Although a part of the much-discussed resurgence of Hinduism, Gods and their ritual worship — not nationalistic ideology — center these enterprises. This book aims to go beyond the more common analytical starting points of identity, multiculturalism, transnationalism, or globalism to understand contemporary Hinduism. In both conversation and contention with current theory, the book highlights the Gods, their shrines, and the middle-class people who re-establish them. Using surveys of modern temples in Chennai, London, and Washington D.C. patronized by South Indians, it focuses on the ubiquity of certain Gods and Goddesses — but not all — their portrayal, the architecture of their new “homes”, and their place in the modern urban commercial and social landscapes. Arguing that this migration of Gods in tandem with people is not new, the book traces current temple architecture to Indian merchants who constructed new temples within a decade of the founding of Madras by the East India Trading Company in the initial era of the current world economic system. In the process, it questions the interrelationships between ritual worship/religious edifices, the rise of the modern world economy, and the ascendancy of the great middle class in this new era of globalization.

Keywords: Chennai; contemporary Hinduism; ritual worship; diaspora; temple architecture; great middle class; globalization

Book.  0 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Diaspora of the Gods

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Mylapore in Diaspora of the Gods

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Portable Stone in Diaspora of the Gods

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Conclusion/s in Diaspora of the Gods

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