Issue 8.1, February 1993

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Essay Excerpt

"South Asian scholars are well aware of the central place of the Hindu body in ritual, ascetic, and artistic life. A great many scholars who have examined the Hindu body have studied the somatic parameters of purity and pollution as the structuring principles of caste hierarchy. Others have focused on the relationship between power and purity in ritual, exchange, and transaction (Dumont 1970; Marriott 1968, 1976); the structural logic of dietetics in ayurvedic science (Khare 1976; Zimmermann 1983, 1988); the psychosomatic experience of identity (Daniel 1984), personality (Kakar 1990), and emotion (Lynch 1990; Trawick 1990); and the embodiment of gender in various sociopolitical arenas (Chatterjee 1989; Mani 1987)."

From "The Body of One Color: Indian Wrestling, the Indian State, and Utopian Somatics" by Joseph S. Alter