The Piety and Politics of Women’s Food Practices in a Changing South Asia

deadline for submissions: 
May 27, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Usha Sanyal, Queens University of Charlotte
contact email: 

The Piety and Politics of Womens Food Practices in a Changing South Asia


This book will explore issues related to gender, religion, work and identity in South Asia through the lens of food practices. Food has powerful discursive and ritual value across South Asian cultures and of course occupies an important place in the everyday lives of women across the class spectrum. It therefore offers a unique window into issues of gender difference, religious power, cultural identity, and social change in all South Asian communities and religious traditions—Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, and others.

How do women express individual agency through seemingly prescribed or approved practices such as religious fasting? How are sectarian identities played out in the performance of food piety? What do food practices tell us about how women negotiate changes in family relationships, and the home and workplace balance?

We solicit essays that will examine these and other questions from a multidisciplinary perspective in a variety of contexts ranging from storytelling, to literature, to the household, school, religious institution, and the workplace. We are interested in cultural-symbolic analysis, but within a context of historical change; essays with a historical or anthropological focus are particularly welcome. 


The editors are Nita Kumar of Claremont McKenna College, and Usha Sanyal, independent scholar.