In Amma's Healing Room
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In Amma's Healing Room : Gender and Vernacular Islam in South India

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[I]t is extremely salubrious to see the ways Islam works in the lives of ordinary people who are not politicized in their religious lives.... No other book on South Asia has material like this." -Ann Grodzins GoldIn Amma's Healing Room is a compelling study of the life and thought of a female Muslim spiritual healer in Hyderabad, South India. Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger describes Amma's practice as a form of vernacular Islam arising in a particular locality, one in which the boundaries between Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity are fluid. In the "healing room," Amma meets a diverse clientele that includes men and women, Muslim, Hindu, and Christian, of varied social backgrounds, who bring a wide range of physical, social, and psychological afflictions. Flueckiger collaborated closely with Amma and relates to her at different moments as daughter, disciple, and researcher. The result is a work of insight and compassion that challenges widely held views of religion and gender in India and reveals the creativity of a tradition often portrayed by Muslims and non-Muslims alike as singular and monolithic.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 157.5 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 498.96g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 22 b&w photos, 1 figures, 1 index
  • 0253218373
  • 9780253218377
  • 1,749,505

Review quote

This informative study is well illustrated with the author's photographs and immensely suitable for undergraduate and graduate students. . . . Highly recommended. * Choice * . . . In Amma's Healing Room is a well-written ethnographic study of a complex and sensitive domain of Muslim religious experience and, as such, is a very welcome addition not only to the expanding body of anthropological work on Islam as a world religion. It broadens the anthropological understanding of the various forms taken by Islamic religious authority and offers new insights into the vitality and diversity of Muslim ritual practices in South Asia. Vol.15. 1 March 2009 -- Magnus Marsden * School of Oriental and African Studies * This book is a compelling ethnographic study . . . Flueckiger's work goes a long way towards shattering the categories and fixed identities commonly associated with South Asia. . . . The emphasis on gender makes this work even more invaluable for anyone trying to study religion in South Asia, or indeed, Islam, as a lived experience.V.29.2 July 2009 * South Asia Research * Only rarely are books powerful enough to capture the imaginations and emotions of our students: this is one such book.Vol. 48.1 May 2009 -- Susan Snow Wadley * Syracuse University * In Amma's Healing Room is a terrific book. Well structured and well written, it will be a great addition to courses on religious ethnography, popular and contemporary Islam, South Asian religions, ritual studies, and gender studies. 88.2, April 2008 * the Journal of Religion * . . . This is a timely ethnography . . . in a time in which the high volume of negative religious rhetoric about Islam and in the name of Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity have subsumed the centrality of love in religious teachings and rituals. * Anthropological Quarterly *
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About Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger

Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger is Professor of Religion at Emory University and author of Gender and Genre in the Folklore of Middle India.
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Table of contents

PrefaceAcknowledgmentsA Note on TransliterationIntroduction: Called to Amma's Courtyard1. Setting the Stage: The Healing Room, Its Actors, and Its Rhythms2. The Healing System3. Patient Narratives in the Healing Room4. Negotiating Gender in the Healing Room5. Religious Identities at the Crossroads6. Immersed in Remembrance and Song: Religious Identities, Authority, and Gender at the Sam?Conclusion: Vernacular Islam Embedded in RelationshipsEpilogueAppendix: Death and Difference: A ConversationGlossaryNotesSelect BibliographyIndex
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Rating details

35 ratings
3.97 out of 5 stars
5 31% (11)
4 43% (15)
3 17% (6)
2 9% (3)
1 0% (0)
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