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Voice of Intellectual Man- An International Journal
Year : 2016, Volume : 6, Issue : 1
First page : ( 1) Last page : ( 10)
Print ISSN : 2231-6914. Online ISSN : 2319-4308.

Ethnography, Women and the History of Religions

Pechilis Karen

Department of Comparative Religion, Drew University, 36 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ, 07940, USA. Email: kpechili@drew.edu

Online published on 3 August, 2016.


This article discusses the contributions of ethnographic method to the history of religions methodology, especially its ability to revise the understanding of women in religion. The history of religions traditionally employed textual materials. Feminist, postmodern and postcolonial scholars have argued that this focus represents a biased, culturally-elite, male view of religion. The turn to ethnography enriches the field of history of religions with its emphasis on lived religion today, especially in relation to women, exposing the differences between textual representations of women and their participation in the making of culture. Further, ethnography of women opens up ways of thinking creatively about religion as contributing more widely and foundationally to cultural ways of thinking and acting. Reflecting on an interview with a contemporary woman who owns her own business in Chennai reveals the imbrication of devotional religion and everyday labor in Indian history and today.



India, Women, Work, Bhakti, Ethnography.


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