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Diaspora of the Gods : Modern world Hindu temples in an urban middle-class world - Joanne Punzo Waghorne

Diaspora of the Gods

Modern world Hindu temples in an urban middle-class world

Hardcover

Published: 1st August 2004
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Many Hindus today are urban middle-class people with many religious values in common with their professional counterparts in America or Europe. Just as so many modern professionals continue to build new churches, synagogues, and mosques, contemporary Hindus attend to the construction and maintenance of their religious institutions wherever their work and life takes them. In Diaspora of the Gods, Joanne Punzo Waghorne traces the changing religious sensibilities of the Hindu middle class. Waghorne leads her readers on a journey through the world of the new Hindu middle-class, focusing on their efforts to build and support places of worship. She invites the reader into the neighborhoods of Chennai to view often-innovative new and renovated temples constructed in a sometimes seemingly incongruous urban environment. Her journey, however, does not end there. The cousins and brothers--literal and figurative--of temple patrons and devotees in Chennai are constructing divine houses abroad that are remaking the religious panorama of the United Kingdom and the United States. Waghorne leads us into the London neighborhood of Tooting, climbing upstairs in a former warehouse to see a Goddess temple constructed from plywood painted in trompe l'oeuil to create all of the features of a proper temple. Elsewhere in London, we meet the God Murugan in an almost hidden temple immured within the stone shell of a former Church and another Goddess whose temple is tucked inside a lovely white church on a quiet street. In Washington, a multiplicity of Gods shares a glorious white temple in an otherwise ordinary suburban neighborhood. Waghorne offers detailed comparisons of these temples, and interviews temple priests, devotees, and patrons. In the process, she illuminates the interrelationships between ritual worship and religious edifices, the rise of the modern world economy, and the ascendancy of the great middle class. This is the first comprehensive portrait of Hinduism as lived today by so many both in India and throughout the world.

"This book fulfills the promise of its title by taking the reader on a journey in the steps of a multiplicity of Hindu dieties...It is compelling reading for social science students and general scholarship alike, who are seeking not only to understand the rise of the Hindu middle-class and its link with a specifically global religious sensibility, but who are also ready to explore the creative potential of the empirical data as a challenge to mainstream conceptualisations." --South Asia Research "I know of no work that comes anywhere near Diaspora of the Gods in describing the middle-class Hinduism one would actually see if one visited Hindu sites in the United States or Britain, or trained an eye on their urban analogues in India. Waghorne has a particular talent for peering behind the obvious disparities between cultures to see the underlying similarities of structure--middle class as process, she calls it. Does this seem too homogenizing? Wait till you see the pictures!"--John Stratton Hawley, Barnard College, Columbia University "I know of no work that comes anywhere near Diaspora of the Gods in describing the middle-class Hinduism one would actually see if one visited Hindu sites in the United States or Britain, or trained an eye on their urban analogues in India. Waghorne has a particular talent for peering behind the obvious disparities between cultures to see the underlying similarities of structure--middle class as process, she calls it. Does this seem too homogenizing? Wait till you see the pictures!"--John Stratton Hawley, Barnard College, Columbia University

Note on the transliteration of a layered language
Introduction : new houses for the gods in an urban worldp. 3
Hindu temples in the new world system, 1640-1800p. 35
Mylapore : the recovery of "ancient" temples in an inner-city neighborhoodp. 75
The gentrification of the goddessp. 129
Portable stone : Murugan, Amman, and globalized localismp. 171
Conclusion/s : making space for god/s in an urban worldp. 231
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195156638
ISBN-10: 0195156633
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 1st August 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 16.51  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.58