Book review / Depression in Kerala by Claudia Lang

Halliburton, Murphy. Review of Depression in Kerala: Ayurveda and Mental Health Care in 21st-Century India, by Claudia Lang. Asian Medicine 15, no. 1 (November 2020): 200–202.

Excerpt: Claudia Lang engages in a thorough and incisive scholarly analysis of the practice of Ayurvedic psychiatry in Kerala, India, in the face of the growing hegemony of biomedicine and a purported epidemic of depression in India. She has provided what is arguably the most in-depth scholarly analysis of Ayurveda and mental health written by anyone who is not a practitioner of Ayurveda.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1163/15734218-12341468  or https://brill.com/view/journals/asme/15/1/article-p200_12.xml

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Book review / A Handbook of Kathakali

Menon, Vishnu Achutha. Review of Kathakaliyude Kaipusthakam (A Handbook of Kathakali), by Vellinezhi Achuthankutty. Asian Theatre Journal 37, no. 2 (2020): 602-03. Project MUSE.
Excerpt: By the fall of the feudal system in Kerala in the first quarter of the last century, Kathakali slowly started losing its patronage throughout. Small groups started evolving, centred on maestros of art who had social and financial influence.
This slowly paved the path towards institutionalization, wherein small troupes were adopted by societies formed by influential organizers and connoisseurs. As a result of institutionalization, the authority of classical arts became vested with those who were easily influenced by commodification and mass culture.
Besides the history of the art of six centuries, as well as its present existence under institutionalization, Achuthankutty elaborates the aforementioned points objectively with evidence gained by interviewing masters and collecting literature.

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Book reviews / Depression in Kerala

Bode, Maarten. “A Review of depression in Kerala by Claudia Lang”. eJournal of Indian Medicine 11, no. 1 (October 2019): 1–17. (OA; full text)
ExcerptsDepression in Kerala is an excellent study about the glocalization (vernacularization) of depression in Kerala… The study is based on 17 months of anthropological fieldwork in the period 2009–2014. … Depression in Kerala discusses two related topics: The indigenisation of the biomedical notion ‘depression’ in 21st-century Kerala and the making of Ayurvedic psychiatry as an alternative for biomedical psychiatry…. [The book] once more makes it clear that attributing mental distress to faulted brain chemistry unduly ignores its economic and social-cultural determinants.

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Book review / Privileged Minorities

Madathilathu, Prince Varghese. ‘Review of Privileged Minorities: Syrian Christianity, Gender, and Minority Rights in Postcolonial India by Sonja Thomas’. Journal of World Christianity 10, no. 1 (2020): 131-33.

Excerpt: Sonja Thomas, in Privileged Minorities, argues that the Syrian Christians of Kerala—though demographically a minority community in India—are not a subordinated community but a privileged community in terms of caste, race, and class, in spite of the general tendency to categorise them as subaltern.
The author analyses the dynamics of ‘privilege’ and ‘subordination’ in this community from a feminist perspective by examining historical and religious texts; analysing clothing, minority rights, and protest movements; interviewing and examining the contemporary ways in which Syrian Christians interact within and outside the community.

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Book reviews / Monsoon Islam: Trade and Faith on the Medieval Malabar Coast

Sheikh, Samira. Review of Monsoon Islam: Trade and Faith on the Medieval Malabar Coast, by Sebastian R. Prange. H-Asia, H-Net Reviews (June 2020).

Extracts: Prange’s book is an attempt to understand the creative engagements, facilitated by politics and trading contacts, that went into “realizing” Kerala’s characteristic versions of Islam…. 

Monsoon Islam is arranged around spaces—port, mosque, palace, sea—which are the rubrics for its four chapters. Its locale is the Malabar coast between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries when local production of pepper and other spices made it a coveted trade destination….

He [Prange] has brought scrupulous multilingual scholarship to difficult questions of history, identity, and myth and his book deserves to be widely read.

More info and full text: <http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=53037>

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Book review / Violence, Citizenship and Minorities in Kerala

Ahmad, Zarin. ‘Review of Interrogating Communalism: Violence, Citizenship and Minorities in South India, by Salah Punathil’. Contributions to Indian Sociology 54, no. 2 (June 2020): 347–49.

Excerpt (edited): The book addresses the contours of conflict and violence between two fishing communities, the Marakkayar Muslims and the Mukkuvar Christians in Kerala. By exploring the long history of violence among two distinctive fishing communities, the work problematises the taken-for-granted notion of mobilisation of religious identity implicit in the discourse on communal violence and foregrounds the spatial dynamics in violent conflicts which is the essential contribution of the work.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1177/0069966720916335

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Book review / Memory, Kinship and Middle Classes

Abraham, Janaki. ‘Review of The Fall of Gods: Memory, Kinship, and Middle Classes in South India, by Ester Gallo’. Contributions to Indian Sociology 54, no. 2 (June 2020): 326–29.

Excerpt: This is a special book for several reasons: for exploring a social history on which few anthropologists have written; for the focus on memory and middle class identity when most studies of the new middle classes are synchronic; more generally for the way she brings out the importance of kinship and kinship memories for a class analysis; for the exploration of how memories of the past shape kinship relationships in the present; for the intra-caste differences highlighted; for the way Gallo skilfully presents the very varied and complex ethnography; and for the way she gives voice to both men and women and to changing intergenerational relationships.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1177/0069966720914050

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Book review / Development and Gender Capital in Kerala

Anjali K.K.. ‘Review of Development and Gender Capital in India: Change, Continuity and Conflict in Kerala, by Shoba Arun. Indian Journal of Human Development 14, no. 1 (April 2020): 139–42.

More info: <https://doi.org/10.1177/0973703020919834>

Reposted from Kerala Scholars eGroup

Editor’s note: We circulated news of this book in January 2018 https://ksmessenger.wordpress.com/2019/12/09/book-development-and-gender-capital-in-kerala/, and news of a review of this book in January 2019 https://ksmessenger.wordpress.com/2020/03/01/book-review-development-and-gender-capital-in-kerala/ .

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Book Review (OA) / Sermon on Saint Thomas, the Beloved Apostle

14 Feb 2020
John Clines, Robert John. 2020. ‘Review of Sermon on Saint Thomas, the Beloved Apostle: A Syriac Catholic Panegyric from Seventeenth Century Malabar, by Radu Mustaţă’. Journal of Jesuit Studies 7, no. 1 (January): 139–41.
Excerpts (edited): Radu Mustaţă’s critical edition and translation of an early seventeenth-century Syriac sermon celebrating the Apostle Thomas is a window into the accommodative practices of early modern missionary Catholicism on one hand and the rich continuities of Syriac Christianity on the other.
Mustaţă’s exploration of the syntax, literary motifs, structure, and exegetical layers of the sermon demonstrates that this sermon was most likely a part of a Jesuit missionary toolkit that aimed to present traditional Syriac Christian beliefs and customs as wholly compatible with Tridentine Catholicism.
More info and full text (OA): https://doi.org/10.1163/22141332-00701009-03
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