Women have been excluded form history. They are also as often excluded form recent reconstructions of history. Vijaya Ramaswamy has a message to impart when she shows hoe women express themselves in the sphere in response to their material situation within society. South Indian history is the terrain she chooses to prove her point. Her larger vision is not however constrained any boundaries.
This book maps the spiritual history of women in the context structures through historical time and space. The study looks at the issues of gender inequalities in the context of dominance and power and the debates over female sexuality and salvation. In the process spiritually emerges as a powerful form of women’s self expression finding its voice in the various cathartic spiritual movements. Manifestations of female spiritually in particular societies, whether feudal quasifeudal or colonial, varied from tacit conformism (to male spiritual\social leadership) to deviance and even defiance. The author goes back in historical time to the material spiritualism of the Sangma Tamils and forward into the era of colonial transition. The Deccan and the region south of the vindhyas form the geographical liminalities of this study which open sup the possibility of a wider study of women society and spiritually in the broader context of the South Asian region.
Vijaya Ramaswamy is a professor at the Center for historical studies in the school of social Sciences. Jawaharlal Nehru University. Ramaswamy’s first book textiles and weavers in medieval south India was published by the Oxford University press in 1985 (the second revised edition has appeared in 2006 form OUP). Form economic history she ahs brooded her interests to cover such varied fields as South Indian folklore religious studies and gender studies. Oxford University Press brought out her second book. Divinity and Deviance: Women in Virasaivism in 1996. In 1997 the Indian Institute of Advanced Study Shimla published her book, walking Naked: Women Society spiritually in South India. The book won the prestigious best woman hosting award form the Indian history congress in 2001 in 2003 she published her first edited form Manohar publishers New Delhi her other co-edited book Biography as history Indian perspectives will be published by orient Longman shortly her book the historical dictionary of the Tamils is in the press and is being brought out by the scarecrow press Maryland.
She is an alumni of the school of oriental and African Studies and was a Fulbright fellow at Berkeley in California in 1988-89.Between 1992 and 1995 she researched on the spiritual history of women as a fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced study Shimla she was on an Indo Canadian Fellowship at York University Ontario’s in 1998. She got the prestigious UGC social scientist fellowship in 1999 and completed her book Tamil Women form the Underside of history in 2002. She was elected the Sectional president for medical India in the 64th session of the Indian history congress held at Mysore in 2003. She is currently engaged in the writing of two books history and Tamil Myths and Legends.
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