Book / Tantra, Ritual Performance and Politics in Nepal and Kerala

Martin, Matthew. Tantra, Ritual Performance and Politics in Nepal and Kerala: Embodying the Goddess-clan. Leiden: Brill, 2020.

ISBN 9789004438996 / Hardback / 296 pages / USD 149

About the book: In previous studies of South Asian Tantric ritual, scholars tend to focus on one region or context. For the first time, Tantra, Ritual Performance and Politics in Nepal and Kerala: Embodying the Goddess-clan offers a comparative approach to Tantric mediumship as observed in two locales: Navadurgā rituals in Bhaktapur, Nepal, and Teyyāṭṭam in North Kerala.

In this book, Matthew Martin advances a new theory of ritual, which spotlights the way dancer-mediums embody medieval goddess-clans and ancestor deities, through offerings of food and sacrifice, that synchronize their denizens with the land in spiralling web-like ritual networks. Uniquely interdisciplinary in style, this study synthesizes cultural history, ethnography, and theory to explore the continuities – historical, societal, and political – that characterize these ritual traditions across the subcontinent.

About the author: Matthew Martin is an independent scholar of religion, ritual, and society in South Asia.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements / List of Figures / Abbreviations / Style, Format, and Interview Transcriptions

Introduction: Methodology and Context
 1.  Folk Śākta Performances: Sovereignty, Goddesses, and Macro-Clans
 2.  Teyyāṭṭam and Navadurgā Compared: The Research Process
 3.  Methodological Orientations
 4.  Fieldwork Locations & Informant Introductions
 5.  Contextual Background

Part 1
1. Introducing the Southern Case Study—Teyyāṭṭam, Northern Malabar, Kerala
 1.  Ancestors, Land, and Divinities (Teyyam) in Northern Kerala
 2.  Lineages, Clans, and Ritual Kinship
 3.  Blood Sacrifices, Offerings, and Swords
 4.  Cosmology, Metaphysics, and Textual History
 5.  Caste Identities, Politics, and Performance in North Malabar
2. Introducing the Northern Case Study—Navadurgā, Bhaktapur, Nepal
 1.  Hindu-Buddhist Tantra in Newar Society: The Case of Bhaktapur
 2.  Bhaktapur City: Blood Symbols, Goddess-Clan, Space, and Society
 3.  Monsoon, Power, and the Goddess-Clan: Banmala Dancer-Mediums during the Ritual Cycle
 4.  Blood Sacrifice, Mohani, and the Navadurgā Cycle
 5.  Cosmology, Tantric Texts, and Newar Hinduism in Bhaktapur
 6.  Politics and Caste Structures in Bhaktapur

Part 2
3. Dancer-Medium Communities and Ritual Kinship
 1.  Introduction
 2.  Dancer-Medium Communities: Teyyāṭṭam and Navadurgā
 3.  Teyyāṭṭam
 4.  Navadurgā
 5.  Conclusion
4. History and Assimilation in Tantric Cosmology
 1.  Introduction
 2.  Teyyāṭṭam
 3.  Navadurgā
 4.  Conclusion
5. Sacrifice, Earth Cycles, and Self-Reflexive Affect
 1.  Introduction
 2.  Teyyāṭṭam
 3.  Navadurgā
 4.  Conclusion
6. Politics, Ritual Performance, and Caste
 1.  Introduction
 2.  Marxist-Influenced Politics and Ritual Performance in Postcolonial South Asia
 3.  Teyyāṭṭam
 4.  Navadurgā
 5.  Conclusion

 1.  Teyyāṭṭam and Navadurgā Compared: Revisited
 2.  Dancer-Medium Communities and Ritual Kinship
 3.  History and Metaphysical Underlays of Folk Śākta Ritual
 4.  Blood Sacrifice and Self-Reflexive Affect
 5.  Politics and Caste Structure

Glossary of Key Terms / Bibliography / Index

More info:

Reposted from Kerala Scholars eGroup

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