Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/68910

SACRED GROVES AND LOCAL GODDESSES: NATURE ROMANTICISM, ECOMATERNALISM, AND ENVIRONMENTAL DISCOURSE IN VRINDAVAN, INDIA

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Title:SACRED GROVES AND LOCAL GODDESSES: NATURE ROMANTICISM, ECOMATERNALISM, AND ENVIRONMENTAL DISCOURSE IN VRINDAVAN, INDIA
Authors:Luthy, Tamara Helaine
Contributors:Sponsel, Leslie (advisor)
Anthropology (department)
Keywords:Cultural anthropology
South Asian studies
Botany
affective ethnobotany
Ecomaternalism
show 4 moregoddesses
sacred groves
volunteer tourism
Vrindavan
show less
Date Issued:2019
Publisher:University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Abstract:This dissertation advances literature on affective ethnobotany by demonstrating the multivalent women-in-the-environment symbolism utilized by ISKCON and other contemporary Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava organizations like the aptly named VRINDA Mission (Vṛndāvan Institute for Vaiṣṇava Culture and Studies) and the Parmarth Niketan āśrama. The backdrop of contemporary tree plantation and environmental restoration in Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sacred places is the heavily gendered framework portrayed in the environmentally oriented passages of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava scripture and folklore. I explore poetic textual ecologies from several sacred texts about Braj and ask how they inform contemporary affective ethnobotanical relationships and motivate environmental restoration. Yet this dissertation also urges caution in too heavily romanticizing women’s affective ties to plants and nature. Transnational Vaiṣṇava groups like ISKCON and Paramadvaiti Swami’s VRINDA Mission consciously and strategically portray Rādhārāṇī, Gomātā, Yamunā Devī, and Vṛndā Devī as victims of (male capitalistic) environmental degradation via street plays to urge environmental action by the local populace. Textual analysis of poetic ecologies from key religious texts allows us to critically unpack contemporary ecomaternalist rhetoric from prominent male gurus who reference place-based environmental goddesses and demi-goddesses such as Rādhārani and the gopī to promote a religio-environmental agenda. However powerful or ancient such sentimental ties to ethnobotanically meaningful plants may be, I also find that affective ties may be mobilized in a way that utilizes women’s energy and talents for producing new environmental futures without fundamentally disrupting patriarchal power structures.
Pages/Duration:424 pages
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/68910
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Anthropology


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