Amy L. Allocco presents at international conference in England

The assistant professor of religious studies presented a paper titled "New Rituals for New Audiences: Sweetening the Goddess in Urban South India" and served as a delegate from the American Academy of Religion to the International Association for the History of Religion's Special Conference in Liverpool.

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Amy L. Allocco recently presented a paper, “New Rituals for New Audiences: Sweetening the Goddess in Urban South India,” at a joint meeting of the European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR) and the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR).

The conference, which was held at Liverpool Hope University in Liverpool, England, from Sept. 3-6, 2013, focused on the theme “Religion, Migration, Mutation” and attracted more than 300 scholars from 36 countries.

Allocco’s paper analyzed the ritual and social dynamics of a new festival that was incorporated into the ritual repertoire at a Hindu goddess temple in Chennai, India, where she has carried out long-term ethnographic research. Allocco highlighted the dialogue that this new ceremony, called the pūccorital viḻā (flower-shower festival), initiated between two typically distinct ritual idioms and located the innovative ritual vis-à-vis the culture of aspiration and conspicuous devotionalism that increasingly defines contemporary Chennai.

Along with a colleague from the University in Tartu in Estonia, Allocco co-organized the panel, titled “Belief as Vernacular Practice: Reflections on Mutation through Recent Fieldwork in South Asia,” which featured scholars of South Asian religions from Denmark, Ireland, and England. While at the conference she also presided at another panel and participated in the meeting of the IAHR’s Women Scholars Network.

Allocco also served as one of the two delegates from the American Academy of Religion (AAR) at this meeting: because it was designated a Special Conference of the IAHR, each of the IAHR’s regional and national associations was requested to send two delegates to participate in its International Committee Meeting. Allocco was sent to represent the AAR because of her role as the Chair of its International Connections Committee (ICC) so that she could announce and solicit feedback from international members on the AAR’s new collaborative international research grants competition.  The grant program will be formally launched next month and is expected to draw applications from teams of scholars placed around the world.