Department of Anthropology

Academic Staff - Kalpana Ram

Contact Details

Position:Associate Professor

anthropology-staff-kalpanaram

 

Location:W6A 604
Consultation Hours:
(during semester)
tba
Telephone:+61-2-9850-8016
Fax:+61-2-9850-9391
Email:kalpana.ram@mq.edu.au
Other Email:kalpana.ram@mq.edu.au
Postal Address:Department of Anthropology
Faculty of Arts
Macquarie University
NSW 2109
Australia

 

See academic profile

PhD Anthropology Australian National University, 1989.

Academic Profile

I migrated to Australia from India when in my teens, and my experience of crossing cultural boundaries, translating back and forth, of migration and displacement has shaped my engagement with systems of knowledge, with politics, as well as my (re)turn to India from the late 1970s onwards, in the form of undertaking empirical field work, largely with non-elite women in fishing and agricultural communities in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. My work brings together detailed field work in India (especially in south India) and issues of theory, focussing on questions such as: class, gender, women's movements in India, caste, and popular religion. These strands came together in my 1991 book, Mukkuvar Women, which was based on field work in a Catholic fishing community in the Tamil speaking area of Kanyakumari, at the southern tip of India.


I have just completed my second monograph, entitled Fertile Disorder: Spirit possession and modern projects of subjectivity in the lives of rural Tamil Women, which will be published by University of Hawai'i Press. It is a blend of descriptive ethnography of women's lives and larger theoretical and political questions. The book re-examines various projects of modernisation that attempt to re-shape rural women's subjectivity and bodies: the state's 'family planning' programs, non-government organisations engaged in emancipatory endeavours to educate and change women's attitudes and practices as mothers, the interactions between doctors, clinics and rural women. However, this more familiar territory is deliberately left behind in the central section of the book, as we visit a domain of practices that have been thoroughly marginalised by the discourses of Indian nationalism and modernity - a domain that may very loosely be described under the umbrella of 'spirit possession'. The book explores the questions: what new light does 'possession' shed on the lives of the women it affects? How does such ethnography in turn help us address some of the continuing tensions and problems in modern discourses? The last part of the book addresses the modern discourses I have inhabited over thirty years: the social sciences, as well as emancipatory political projects such as feminism and socialist/Marxist projects. Instead of keeping these domains utterly apart, how might an ethnography of 'possession', attentive to its phenomenology, help us to shed new light on some of these areas? My background in three disciplines (Philosophy, Sociology and Anthropology) has helped me develop these interconnected sets of questions as well as attempt some syntheses of approaches.


I think of my academic experience as dividing into the 1990s as a decade of Research Fellowships and this decade as a decade of teaching, building institutions, but in fact the reality is more mixed. In the 1990s, my first position as Research Fellow at the Australian National University involved building a research centre, the Gender Relations Centre, with my senior colleague Professor Margaret Jolly. Our brief was to create a research field on the changing nature of gender relations in Asia and the Pacific. We set up a series of themes and conferences for collaborative work between research scholars in Australia, Asia, and the Pacific, on topics such as the changing nature of maternity across colonial and postcolonial periods of history; the feminisation of migration in the Asian region; citizenship, gender and reproduction in the Asia/Pacific region. This resulted in a number of publications that have been widely read and cited, such as Maternities and Modernities. Colonial and Postcolonial Experiences in Asia and the Pacific. (Cambridge University Press,1998) and Borders of BeingCitizenship, Sexuality and Reproduction in Asia and the Pacific. (University of Michigan Press, Michigan, 2001). My paper on family planning and the Indian state from Borders of Being was selected in 2009 for re-publication in The Routledge major works series, Women in Asia: Critical Concepts in Asian Studies (2009), a collection designed to showcase '60 academic works that have defined the study of women in Asia over the last two decades'.


My second research fellowship was with the Australian Research Council, and between 1996-2000  I completed the editing ofBorders of Being, and edited, with Kehaulani Kauanui, Migrating Feminisms: The Asia/Pacific Region, a special issue of Women's Studies International Forum (1998). My interest in writing on dance, which had begun in my years in Canberra as a student of Kuchipudi in the Kailash School of Dance and my involvement in the Board of Directors of the Kailash Dance Company directed by Padma Menon, resulted in a series of papers on dance as a form of embodied memory, in relation to questions of nationalism, gender and the Indian diaspora. Dance and aesthetics continues to be one of my active areas of publication, with more recent papers bringing together my research in rural Tamil Nadu and work on the Indian middle class. I also began to write on midwifery as a form of practical embodied knowledge existing in a heavily contested domain, the most recent being a paper which came out in 2009 in a collection on childbirth across cultures.


 In 2001 I was invited to teach as a Visiting Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University's Anthropology Department in Baltimore, USA, where I taught an undergraduate course on Caste, Class and Gender in India, and a postgraduate course called Postcolonial Theory and its Missing Dimensions. I also put on a reading course with my colleague in Sociology on feminist theory. I found this a thoroughly energising experience, and it inspired me to re-enter teaching. In my current position I have designed a new version of the First year Introduction to Anthropology, showcasing two particular contributions of the discipline - the highlighting of the variability of fundamental aspects of human existence (gender, sexuality, food, childhood socialisation); and the commitment to showing how the interconnectedness of flows of people and practices between societies, including its latest phases of globalisation, are experienced by people at the ground level. I teach a high level theoretical course for third year students, which trains them in the methodologies and texts taken from phenomenology, post-colonial theory and anthropology, focusing on Body, Place and Postcolonial Experience. For students in the Masters in Applied Anthropology, I teach a course called Social Movements, Development and Contested Knowledge that encourages students to consider development as one forms of modern knowledge, but also to consider various forms of knowledge, however hybrid, that are overlooked by development programs.


I have also tried to introduce my growing theoretical work in the phenomenology of the body into the practice of teaching, by involving varied sensory experiences. When I teach masters students about cooking as form of practical knowledge, we cook in the classroom. In my teaching of India in a third year course called India: Power and Performance, for example, I take students to visit performances - from puja or temple worship, to hanging out at Harris Park in Sydney for an afternoon of food and shopping for film DVDs in Indian grocery shops, to a workshop introducing students to basic moves in Indian dance. Their assignments reflect this mix of attending community performances with reading theory and ethnography. In 2008, this approach was recognised with the 2007 Award for Innovation in Teaching. As Head of Department (see below) I was also able to encourage this approach in key areas such as the teaching of our course Food Across Cultures.


A great deal of my effort over the last decade has gone into the growth and consolidation of the Department of Anthropology at Macquarie Uni. - I have known and admired anthropologists in this Department since the late 1970s, and have felt a strong commitment to seeing it continue to flourish. This involvement culminated in my period as Head of the Department between 2007-2010, and I was able to achieve a few goals: the introduction of a  new post-doctoral fellowship to help new graduates of the department to gain a year's experience in publishing and teaching to make them more competitive for research funding and teaching jobs; the introduction of a new feature called Research Week, which brings together presentations of work undertaken by all levels of original research being carried out in the department, from Honours level to doctoral, to staff.


My other main achievement in the department over the last decade has been the steady development of a solid research program of doctoral work on India within the department. These doctoral scholars are taking up with themes in my own research and developing it in new and exciting directions. My doctoral students currently work on such topics as the experience of modernisation, health and politics by indigenous communities in the southern state of Kerala (Sumant Badami); the experience of reproductive technology, gender and the clinic in Tamil Nadu and in Sydney (Victoria Loblay); dance, gender, embodiment and multi-sited ethnography of Kathak in India and North America. (Monica Dalidowicz), women's experiences as surrogate mothers in India and the experiences of intended parents in Australia (Michaela Stockey-Bridge); the transformative capacities of voiced practices such as chanting, music and rhetoric in Tamil culture (Kara Morcom).


My research efforts will be further being consolidated this year with the launch of a new India Research Centre which will operate out of the Anthropology Department, but bring together researchers working in a variety of disciplines in the Faculty of Arts, such as Media, Cultural Studies, Sociology, and Music. During my period as inaugural Director of the Centre I will be developing a number of commitments that emerge out of my research and history: research on themes to do with social justice, connections both through research and practical involvement with the Indian diaspora in Australia, an emphasis on performance and performance cultures.


My plans for future research work include a project on the specific contribution of aesthetics to Indian modernity, with a possible focus on the formative years of the postcolonial state in the late 1950s and 1960s, the heyday of the "Nehruvian" era, and the beginnings of the middle class diaspora.

See academic research

Current Research

Dr. Ram has recently published on activism and modernity among Dalit women, as well as on Tamil religious cinema, and the marginalisation of certain forms of ritual dance in the construction of Indian nationalism (see links to these papers). Her most recent series of papers in journals such as South AsiaAsian Studies ReviewSouth Asian History and CultureJournal of Royal Anthropological Society (forthcoming 2011) as well as in several edited collections, all deal in various ways with the politics of knowledge in various domains: in midwifery and childbirth; the instability between scientific and older ethical discourses on what it is to 'know one's body', as enunciated by rural poor women; the politics of class as performed in medical clinics. 
A number of recent publications reflect a fresh research commitment to integrating emotion and affect into our understanding of politics and social life, both in aesthetic traditions as well as in the most rationalist of ventures. See for example the paper on emotion and affect in the discourses of demographers and family planners (forthcoming as 'The Hidden Body of Intellectuals...'in The Oxford Handbook of Modernity in South Asia, ed. Dube and Banerjee); on the presence of affective language and rhetoric in Tamil Nadu's emancipatory rationalist social movement ('Modernity as a "Rain of Words": Tracing the Flows of "Rain" between Dalit Women and Intellectuals in Tamil Nadu', Asian Studies Review 2009). See also the exploration of affective involvement of spectatorship in religious cinema ('Presencing the Amman in Tamil Cinema: Cinema spectatorship as sensuous apprehension' in Selvaraj Velayuthan (ed.) Tamil Cinema: The Cultural Politics of India's Other Film Industry.  Routledge. 2008), and spectatorship in performances of music and dance concerts ('Being "Rasikas": The Pleasures of Music and Dance `Spectatorship and Nationhood in Indian Middle Class Modernity' in Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute,forthcoming 2011).
Dr. Ram has just completed her second monograph, Fertile Disorder: Spirit possession and modern projects of subjectivity in the lives of rural Tamil Women, which will be published by University of Hawai'i Press. The book re-examines various projects of modernisation that attempt to re-shape rural women's subjectivity and bodies: the state's 'family planning' programs, non-government organisations engaged in emancipatory endeavours to educate and change women's attitudes and practices as mothers, the interactions between doctors, clinics and rural women. However, this more familiar territory is deliberately left behind in the central section of the book, as we visit a domain of practices that have been thoroughly marginalised by the discourses of Indian nationalism and modernity - a domain that may very loosely be described under the umbrella of 'spirit possession'. The book explores the questions: what new light does 'possession' shed on the lives of the women it affects? How does such ethnography in turn help us address some of the continuing tensions and problems in modern discourses? The last part of the book addresses the modern discourses I have inhabited over thirty years: the social sciences, as well as emancipatory political projects such as feminism and socialist/Marxist projects. Instead of keeping these domains utterly apart, how might an ethnography of 'possession', attentive to its phenomenology, help us to shed new light on some of these areas? How do modernity, gender, class etc. become re-cast if they are not exclusively predicated on a fully conscious mind or on a body that is impermeable?
Dr. Ram's research program is being consolidated in two ways: first, the establishment of a solid program of doctoral research on India within the Department of Anthropology. She is currently supervising six doctoral students working on various themes to do with her research (see Academic Profile for details), including one on refugee experiences in Africa and Australia which picks up on her research on migration and displacement. The second consolidation is the establishment of a new India Research Centre, to be launched in 2010, bringing together multi-disciplinary commitment to quality research on themes to do with social justice and exclusion, migration, performance traditions. She will be looking to encouraging collaborations in supervision and joint research through the Centre.
Plans for future research work include a project on the specific contribution of aesthetics to Indian modernity, with a possible focus on the formative years of the postcolonial state in the late 1950s and 1960s, the heyday of the "Nehruvian" era, and the beginnings of the middle class diaspora.

Addresses

2010. Keynote Address, conference The Architectures of Erotica: Political, Social, Ritual, The School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.

2009.Distinguished speaker, 2009 Rama Watamull Collaborative Lecture at University of Hawaii, Manoa, Honolulu for The Center for South Asian Studies and The Department of Religion. Lecture: A Morality More Fundamental Than Formal Religious Boundaries? : Shared Practices of Seeking Justice in Popular Christianity and Hinduism, Rural South India.

2008. Keynote Address, 'Learning from Popular Culture: Ontologies and Epistemologies of Popular Religious Practices (Dance and Cinema) in South India.' Postcolonial Studies Research Network, 14-16 Dec. University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, International Conference on Postcolonial Popular Culture.

2006. 'Dance, Social History and Phenomenology of Dance', Keynote Speaker, International Dance conference 'Dance Matters' Jadavpur University, Kolkata.

2004. 'Religion, Gender and the Postcolonial Crisis of the Present: Reflections on and from India' Penny Magee Memorial Lecture ' for the Australian Association For the Study of Religion, Annual Conference Fear and The Fascination of the Other Women and Human Rights, Social Justice and Citizenship: International Historical Perspectives, Conference of The International Federation For Research in Women's History, 30 June-2 July, University of Melbourne, Paper on Discourse of Rights and the Indian Women's Movement.

1998. Keynote Address at Winds of Change. Women and the Culture of the Universities. International Conference. 13-17 July, University of Technology, Sydney.  Title: Impossible Identifications: The University and 'Women of

Symposium on Indian modernity/dance

PUBLICATIONS

BOOKS

anthropology-staff-kram book1Mukkuvar Women

    1991.Mukkuvar Women: Gender, Hegemony and Capitalist Transformation in a South Indian Fishing Community. Premier volume in Women in Asia Series, published on behalf of the Asian Studies Association of Australia, by Allen and Unwin; Zed Press, and by Kali Press for Women, New Delhi (1992)

Western scholarly writings on caste and Hinduism tend to assume that these frameworks have identical meanings for all social groups in India. This book questions such representations from the standpoint of one among the many groups excluded from the dominant perspective. Kalpana Ram explores the ambiguities and complexities of caste, religion, class and gender in the Catholic fishing community of the Mukkhuvars, at the southern-most tip of the Indian subcontinent.

These coastal villages have been shaped by distinctive elements: a history of colonization by Portuguese Jesuits, the work of fishing, and an unusual sexual division of labour. In addition, the micro-politics of power within the villages is being redefined by the new place of the fishing industry within the world economic order. Against this background, Ram traces the participation of Mukkuvar men and women in the construction of a culture that cannot be easily classified as Catholic or Hindu, peasant or proletarian.

The broad scope of Mukkhuvar Women covers questions of gender and migration, capitalist development, goddess worship, healing, and the consciousness of minorities. These issues are discussed through a variety of critical approaches. In her analysis the author draws on Marxist, feminist and anthropological methodologies, while evaluating blind spots in each canon.

Born in India, Kalpana Ram went to school in New Delhi and received her university education in Australia. She is a tutor in anthropology at Macquarie University.


anthropology-staff-kram book2

Borders of Being

2000.with Margaret Jolly 
Borders of Being: Citizenship, Sexuality and Reproduction in Asia and the Pacific.University of Michigan Press, Michigan.

Many have written about the way in which a "family romance" connects embodied daily life with the imagined community of the nation and naturalizes the nation so that it appears not as a novel, fragile, contingent creation, but as something ancient, robust, and real. This book goes beyond such metaphoric associations of families and nations by looking at the central significance of planning families to promoting state development. Through an exploration of richly varied national histories, the authors highlight the common, recurring intimacies between marking the border of states and remolding the bodies of women as reproductive citizens. The tensions between past and present, among local, national, and international concerns, and betweens men's and women's interests in reproduction are all graphically revealed.

Contributors to the volume survey several Asian states - India, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand - and some Pacific states - PNG, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, to explore how making nation states in Asia and the Pacific is intimately connected with projects to reshape the sexual and reproductive lives of citizens. Their analyses of the agency of women, of the power of states and the claims of citizenship, and of the problematic place of men in the context of global debates about reproduction will attract readers in several areas of anthropology, demography, and history as well as in the cross-disciplinary fields of gender and development studies.

"This important collection may well be the first to move between the literature on gendering nationalism and the construct of sexual citizenship, to that of population and fertility . it will make a very good contribution to several fields, most particularly cultural anthropology, the comparative study of gender and reproduction, globalization and state formation, and the Pacific region."


anthropology-staff-kram book3

Maternities and Modernities
  1. with Margaret Jolly, Maternities and Modernities: Colonial and Post Colonial Experiences in Asia and the Pacific, Cambridge University Press.

Feminist theories have focused on contemporary, Western, middle-class experience of maternity. The present volume brings other mothers, from Asia and the Pacific, into scholarly view, aiming to show that birthing and mothering can be very different experience for women in other parts of the world. The contributors document a wide variety of conceptions of motherhood, and drawing on ethnographic and historical research, they explore the relationships between motherhood as embodied experience and the local discourses on maternity. They reveal how the experience of motherhood has been influenced by missionaries, by colonial policies and by the introduction of Western medicine and biomedical birthing methods, and raise important questions about the costs and benefits of becoming a modern mother in these societies.


 

Special Issues of Journals (Edited)

anthropology-staff-kram book4Women's Studies International Forum
 

  1. Migrating Feminisms: The Asia/Pacific Region (Eds.) Kalpana Ram and Kehaulani Kauanui. Special Issue of Women's Studies International Forum. 21 (6)

CONTENTS

 

Acknowledgementsiii
Kalpana Ram571Introduction:migratory women, travelling feminisims
Sonia Ryang581Nationalist inclusion or emancipatory identity?
North Korean women in Japan
Vera Mackie599Dialogue, distance and difference: feminism in contemporary Japan
Kalpana Ram617Na shariram nadhi, "My body is mine": the urban
women's health movement in India and its negotiation of modernity
Ruchira Ganguly-Scrase and Roberta Julian633Minority women and the experiences of migration
Santi Rozario649On being Australian and Muslim: Muslim women as defeneders of Islamic heritage
Margaret Jolly663Aerial roots
Selina Tusitala Marsh665Migrating feminisms: maligned overstayer or model citizen?
J. Kehaulani Kauanui681Off-island Hawaiians "making" ourselves at "home":
a (gendered) contradiction in terms?


 


Journal Articles and Chapters in Edited Volumes

(Refereed publications indicated by asterisk. Many of the following items are downloadable, indicated byunderlined title)

  1. 'Women's liberation in India', Social Alternatives 2(1), March, pp6-10

1981b 'Sexual violence in India', Refractory Girl, 22 May, pp 2-8

*1984 'The Indian working class and the peasantry: A review of current evidence on interlinks between the two classes'. In A.N.Das, V.Nilkant and P.S Dubey (eds) The worker and the working class: A labour studies anthology, Delhi: Public Enterprises Centre for Continuing Education, pp181-186.

*1990 'Female power and domesticity: contradictions within culture. Ideologies of femininity and women's work in the Mukkuvar fishing caste of Tamil Nadu', in H. Afshar and B. Agarwal (eds) Women, Poverty and Ideology in Asia. Contradictory Pressures, Uneasy Resolutions. London: Macmillan, pp128-147

1991a '"First" and "Third World" feminisms: a new perspective?', Asian Studies Review 15(1), July 1991, pp91 - 96

*1991b 'Moving in from the margins: Gender as the centre of cultural contestation of power relations in South India'. In G. Bottomley, M. Lepervanche and J. Martin (eds) `Intersexions: Gender/Class/Culture/Ethnicity, Allen and Unwin, pp 1-13

1992 'Modernist Anthropology and the construction of Indian Identity', Meanjin 3: 589-614

*1993 "Too Traditional Once Again": Some post-structuralists on the aspirations of the immigrant/Third World female subject',Australian Feminist Studies, no. 17, pp 5- 28.

*1994a 'Modernist Anthropology"s "Comparative" Project: the construction of Indian Identity as Tradition.' in A. Gomez (ed.)Modernity and Identity: Asian Illustrations. Melbourne: La Trobe Uni. Press, pp122-158

*1994b 'The Virgin Against Eseki: Religious 
consciousness Among Christian Women of Kanyakumari District' (reprinted from Mukkuvar Women) in M.Joy and P.Magee (eds.) Claiming Our Rites. Studies in Religion by Australian Women Scholars, Australian Association for the Study of Religions, Special Studies in Religions, No.8, Australia, pp189-212 (Reprint of chapter from my book Mukkuvar Women.)

1994c 'Critical Understandings' in Horizons, Journal of Community Aid Abroad, Spring 1994, Vol.3, No.2. pp6-9

*1994d 'Medical Management and Giving Birth: Responses of Coastal women in Tamil Nadu' in Reproductive Health Matters, No.4, November 1994, Special Issue on Motherhood, Fatherhood, and Fertility, pp20-26.

1994e 'Siva: The Cosmic Dancer' in Lekha, journal of the Kailash Dance Company/Kailash School of Dance, July,Canberra, pp8-12.

1994f 'Difference or/and Equality: Contemporary Dilemmas and Kailash's rendering of Tagore's Chandalika'in Lekha, journal of Kailash Dance Company, Canberra, December.

1995a 'Migrating Dances. "Tradition" and "Innovation" in the work of an Indian dance company in Australia' in Writings on Dance. Special issue on Performance Across Cultures. 13. Autumn 1995, pp35-54.

*1995b 'Rationalism, cultural nationalism and the reform of body politics: Minority intellectuals of the Tamil Catholic community', in Contributions to Indian Sociology, Special Issue:Social reform, sexuality and the state, Vol. 29, Nos.1 and 2, January-December, pp291-318.

*1996a 'Liberal Multiculturalism's "NESB Women": a south Asian poscolonial feminist perspective on the liberal impoverishment of "difference" in E.Vasta and S.Castles (eds.) But the Teeth are Smiling: The persistence of racism in multicultural Australia. Allen and Unwin, Sydney, pp 130-144.

1996b Reprint (as book chapter), of 'Rationalism, cultural nationalism and the reform of body politics: Minority intellectuals of the Tamil Catholic community' in P.Uberoi (ed.) Social reform, Sexuality and the State, Sage Publications, New Delhi 1996, pp291-318

*1998a 'Maternity and the story of Enlightenment in the colonies: Tamil coastal women, South India' in K. Ram and M. Jolly (eds) Maternities and Modernities: Colonial and Post Colonial Experiences in Asia and the Pacific.Cambridge University Press, pp114-143

*1998b 'Epilogue: Maternal Experience and Feminist Body Politics :Asian and Pacific perspectives' in K. Ram and M. Jolly (eds)Maternities and Modernities: Colonial and Post Colonial Experiences in Asia and the Pacific Cambridge University Press, pp275-295

*1998c 'Introduction: Migratory women, travelling feminisms.' in Migrating Feminisms: the Asia/Pacific Region (Eds.) Kalpana Ram and Kehaulani Kanaunui, Special Issue of Women's Studies International Forum. 21(6), pp571-579.

*1998d 'Na Shariram Nadhi, "My Body is Mine": the urban women's health movement in India and its negotiation of modernity', K.Ram and K.Kauanui (eds.) Migrating Feminisms, special issue of Women's Studies International Forum, 21 (6), pp617-631

*1998e 'Uneven Modernities and Ambivalent Sexualities: Women's construction of puberty in coastal Kanyakumari, Tamilnadu' in Mary E. John and Janaki Nair (eds.) A Question of Silence? The Sexual Economies of modern India. Kali for Women. pp269-303

1999a 'Impossible Identifications: The university and "women of difference"' in Winds of Change. Women and the Culture of the Universities. Conference Proceedings, Publ. by Equity and Diversity Unit, University of Technology, Vol.2,pp582-594.

*1999b(revised and refereed version): 'Impossible Identifications: The University and "Women of Difference"' inCommunal/Plural, vol.7, No.2, pp213-230.

*1999c 'Genealogies of "The Woman Question": the colonial past in multiculturalism's "present". In Ghassan Hage and Rowanne Couch (eds.) The Future of Australian Multiculturalism. Research Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Sydney. Pp255-271

*2000a 'The State and the Women's Movement: Instabilities in the Discourse of "Rights" in India.' In Ann-Marie Hildson, Vera Mackie, Martha Macintyre and Maila Stivens (Eds.) Human Rights and Gender PoliticsAsia-Pacific perspectives. New York and London: Routledge, pp60-82.

*2000b 'Dancing the Past Into Life. The rasa, nritta and raga of immigrant existence.' In Special Issue on the Politics of Dance,The Australian Journal of Anthropology, University of Sydney, pp 261-274

*2000c 'Listening to the Call of Dance. Re-thinking Authenticity and Essentialism.' Commentary on Special Issue, The Politics of Dance. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, University of Sydney, pp358-364

*2001a 'The Female Body of Possession: a feminist perspective on rural Tamil women's experiences' in Bhargavi V. Davar (Ed.) Mental Health from a gender perspective Sage Publications, London and New Delhi. Pp181-216

*2001b 'Modernity and the Midwife'. in L. Connor and G.Samuel (Eds) Healing Powers and Modernity. Traditional medicine, shamanism and science in Asiian socieites, Bergin and Garvey. Westport,London. Pp64-84

*2001c 'Rationalising Fecund Bodies: Family Planning Policy and the modern Indian nation-state.' In M.Jolly and K.Ram (eds.)Borders of Being: Citizenship, Fertility and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific. Michigan University Press, Michigan, pp82-117

*2002 'Stranded Between the "Posts": Sensory experience and immigrant female subjectivity' in Colin Barron, Nigel Bruce, and David Nunan (eds.) Knowledge and Discourse. Towards An Ecology of Language., Pearson Education Ltd. UK, Language in Social Life Series, ed. Christopher Candlin, pp.34-48.

*2004. 'Tradition and Imagination: A Tribute to Anandavalli', TAASA Review (The Australian Journal of Asian Arts Society in Australia) 13(1).

*2005. 'Phantom Limbs: South Indian Dance and Immigrant Reifications of the Female Body'. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 26(1/2): 121-137.

*2005b. 'Religion, Gender and the Postcolonial Crisis of the Present: Reflections on and from India'. (Penny Magee Memorial Lecture) Australian Religion Studies Review, 17(2).

*2006. 'Temporality and Sorge in the ethical fashioning of the feminist self'in E. McMahon and B. Olubas (eds.) Feminist Temporalities. Perth: University of Western Australia Press.

*2007a. 'Untimeliness as Moral Indictment: Tamil agricultural labouring women's use of lament as life narrative'. Australian Journal of Anthropology, 18(2): 138-153.

*2007b. 'Anthropology as Ananthropology'. L.K Ananthakrishna Iyer. 1861-1937. Colonial anthropology and the figure of the 'native anthropologist' as pioneer', in P. Uberoi, S. Deshpande and N. Sundar (eds.) Founders in Indian Social Theory. New Delhi: Sage Press.

*2008a. 'The Mukkuvars of Kanyakumari. On the Margins of Caste Society', in I. Banerjee-Dube (ed.) Caste in History. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

*2008b. '"A new consciousness must come": Affectivity and Movement in Tamil Dalit Women's Activist Engagement with Cosmopolitan Modernity', in P. Werbner (ed.) Anthropology and Cosmopolitanism: Rooted, Feminist and Vernacular Perspectives. Berg.

*2008c. 'Bringing the Amman Into Presence In Tamil Cinema: Cinema Spectatorship as Sensuous Apprehension', in S. Velayutham (ed.) Tamil Cinema: The cultural politics of India's other film industry. London: Routledge (forthcoming).

*2009. 'Dancing off-stage: Nationalism and its 'Minor Practices' in Tamil Nadu' in Pallabi Chakravorty (ed.) Dance Matters: Approaches and Issues in Indian Dance. Routledge (forthcoming)