Gender and Story in South India

Edited by Leela Prasad, Ruth B. Bottigheimer, and Lalita Handoo

Subjects: Folklore
Series: SUNY series in Hindu Studies
Paperback : 9780791468722, 160 pages, June 2007
Hardcover : 9780791468715, 160 pages, September 2006

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Table of contents

1. Anklets on the Pyal: Women Present Women’s Stories from South India
Leela Prasad
2. The Son-in-law Story: Gender and Genre
Lalita Handoo
3. The Role of Gender in Tale-Telling Events
Saraswathi Venugopal
4. Voiced Worlds: Heroines and Healers in Muslim Women’s Narratives
K. V. S. Lakshmi Narasamamba
5. Transformation of Gender Roles: Converging Identities in Personal and Poetic Narratives
P. S. Kanaka Durga
Ruth Bottigheimer

Indian women scholars present and discuss tales about women, bringing new insights about gender and the moral universe of the folk narrative.


Gender and Story in South India presents exciting ethnographic research by Indian women scholars on Hindu and Muslim women-centered oral narratives. The book is unique for its geographic and linguistic focus on South India, for its inclusion of urban and rural locales of narration, and for its exploration of shared Hindu and Muslim female space. Drawing on the worldviews of South Indian female narrators in both everyday and performative settings, the contributors lead readers away from customary and comfortable assumptions about gender distinctions in India to experience a more dialogical, poetically ordered moral universe that is sensitive to women's material and spiritual lives.

Leela Prasad is Assistant Professor of Ethics and Indian Religions at Duke University. Ruth B. Bottigheimer teaches Comparative Literature at Stony Brook University, State University of New York, and is the author of several books, including Fairy Godfather: Straparola, Venice, and the Fairy Tale Tradition. Lalita Handoo is Associate Professor of Lexicography and Folklore at the Central Institute of Indian Languages in Mysore, India, and is the author of several books, including Structural Analysis of Kashmiri Folktales.