Diaspora of the Gods

Diaspora of the Gods : Modern Hindu Temples in an Urban Middle-Class World

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Description

Many Hindus today are urban middle-class people with religious values similar to those of their professional counterparts in America and Europe. Just as modern professionals continue to build new churches, synagogues, and now mosques, Hindus are erecting temples to their gods wherever their work and their lives take them. Despite the perceived exoticism of Hindu worship, the daily life-style of these avid temple patrons differs little from their suburban neighbors. Joanne Waghorne leads her readers on a journey through this new middle-class Hindu diaspora, focusing on their efforts to build and support places of worship. She seeks to trace the changing religious sensibilities of the middle classes as written on their temples and on the faces of their gods. She offers detailed comparisons of temples in Chennai (formerly Madras), London, and Washington, D.C., 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. The result is a comprehensive portrait of Hinduism as lived today by so many both in India and throughout the world. Lavishly illustrated with professional photographs by Dick Waghorne, this book will appeal to art historians as well as urban anthropologists, scholars of religion, and those interested in diaspora, transnationalism, and trends in contemporary religion. It should be especially appealing for course use because it introduces the modern Hinduism practiced by the friends and neighbors of students in the U.S. and Britain.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 157.5 x 236.2 x 22.9mm | 567g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195156633
  • 9780195156638

Review quote

"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 "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 Universityshow more

About Joanne Punzo Waghorne

Joanne Punzo Waghorne is Professor of Religion at Syracuse University. She is the author of Images of Dharma: The Epic World of C. Rajagopalachari (1985) and The Raja's Magic Clothes: Re-visioning Kingship and Divinity in England's India (1994).show more

Rating details

6 ratings
3.33 out of 5 stars
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3 33% (2)
2 17% (1)
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