'Waiting for Moonrise: Fasting, Storytelling and Marriage in Provincial Rajasthan' – March 31

Ann Grodzins Gold from Syracuse University visits campus for a talk about popular Hindu women's rituals in North India. The event is sponsored by the Global Neighborhood Association and is free to the public.

‘Waiting for Moonrise: Fasting, Storytelling and Marriage in Provincial Rajasthan’
Ann Grodzins Gold

Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion and Professor of Anthropology, Syracuse University
National Humanities Center and Guggenheim Fellow, 2014-15

Tuesday, March 31
7:30 p.m.

LaRose Digital Theatre in the Koury Business Center

Sponsored by the Global Neighborhood Association. Free and open to the public

Two popular Hindu women’s rituals in Rajasthan, North India, involve fasting until visible moonrise: Bari Tij (Grand Third) and Karva Chauth (Pitcher Fourth). Women vow to undertake these fasts in order to ensure their own auspicious married states by protecting their husbands’ longevity. On these occasions groups of women, often neighbors, worship collectively. Their rituals include devotional storytelling. 

Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in different regions of Rajasthan over the last 30 years, Ann Grodzins Gold discusses ritual narratives and performative contexts comparatively, paying attention to rural / urban as well as generational and social differences. Tentative conclusions suggest that the appeal of fasts and accompanying rituals could lie in part in their ability to sustain an illusion of stability and continuity even while incorporating processes of change.

Such rituals may offer a comforting contrast to upheavals in social realities, while simultaneously reflecting and even normalizing altered expectations of gender roles and coupledom.

Gold’s research and teaching are rooted in over 30 years of ethnographic engagement with religion and culture in provincial North India. Located in a single region, her fieldwork and writings concern diverse topics: pilgrimage, gender, expressive traditions, environmental history, and most recently landscape and identity in a small market town. 

Gold has received fellowships from the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Fulbright Foundation, Fulbright-Hays, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Science Research Council and the Spencer Foundation. Her publications include numerous articles and four books: “Fruitful Journeys: The Ways of Rajasthani Pilgrims” (1988); “A Carnival of Parting: The Tales of King Bharthari and King Gopi Chand” (1992); “Listen to the Heron’s Words: Reimagining Gender and Kinship in North India” (1994, co-authored with Gloria Raheja); and “In the Time of Trees and Sorrows: Nature, Power and Memory in Rajasthan” (2002, co-authored with Bhoju Ram Gujar), which in 2004 was awarded the Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize from the Association for Asian Studies.