25 Feb Heat Melts Stone: Fluid Transfer in a South Indian Folk Epic
Brenda Beck (Anthropology, University of Toronto)
Wednesday, February 25 / 3:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB
Over the past decades Brenda Beck has brought a medieval Tamil folk epic, “the Story of Ponnivala”, to life through film animation, producing a thirteen-hour series that has been shown on Canadian and Indian television. In her lecture she will relate the Story of Ponnivala to the themes of her groundbreaking 1969 study of “color and heat” in South Asian ritual. She will identify heat and bodily fluids as key thematic motifs in this South Indian folk epic and will explore the connections between these story threads and a variety of traditional Tantric ideals known to have circulated widely in Indian society during the medieval period. Through this oral story, as recounted by two singing bards to a village audience over eighteen nights fifty years ago, we gain a fresh perspective concerning how Tantric principles are understood by folk traditions to reach into the lives of women.
A world renowned specialist of the anthropology of religion in Tamil Nadu, India, Brenda Beck is Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. With some fifty years of research experience in South India, she is possessed of an unparalleled expertise in Tamil culture and society.
Sponsored by IHC South Asian Religions and Cultures Research Focus Group