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The Annual Ganesh Festival in Paris as Urban Sensorium: Walking in the City in a Tamil Hindu Ritual Procession

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Title: The Annual Ganesh Festival in Paris as Urban Sensorium: Walking in the City in a Tamil Hindu Ritual Procession
Authors: Berger, Nicole
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa Center for South Asian Studies
Citation: Berger, Nicole, "The Annual Ganesh Festival in Paris as Urban Sensorium: Walking in the City in a Tamil Hindu Ritual Procession." Paper presented at the Center for South Asian Studies 30th Annual Symposium, "Sensing South Asia," Honolulu, April 17-19, 2013.
Abstract: Paris's Tamil community has celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi with an annual public procession since 1995. The event draws crowds of up to 25,000 and is by far the largest event of Paris’s Tamil neighborhood. Situated in Northeastern Paris, at La Chapelle, "Little Jaffna" is the center of Tamil culture and commerce in France. France's Tamil community is estimated at around 100,000, and while it has roots in locations as diverse as former French colony in India Puducherry, and French overseas department Reunion, the majority of Tamil Parisians are Sri Lankan Tamils who have migrated to France since the outbreak of war in Sri Lanka in 1983. I examine the Ganesh Festival as production of multicultural urban space in which the Haussmannian urban landscape is transformed by means of the public enactment of a Tamil Hindu religious sensorium. Drawn from preliminary ethnographic research during the 2012 celebrations and analysis of French media representations of the event, I argue that the sensorial permutations of urban space during the festival can be productively analyzed as an instance of what de Certeau termed walking in the city, by which displaced Sri Lankan Tamils attempt to produce a more homely urban space in Paris.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/30707
Rights: Berger, Nicole
Appears in Collections:2013 South Asia Spring Symposium Presentations



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