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South Asian Religions
Jeremy studies Hindu devotion in modern India, particularly the connection between economic liberalization and the rise of new religiosities. He also considers what modernity looks like when devotees theologically interpret it as divine history. Jeremy's current research focuses on the cult of Balaji, a manifestation of the monkey god Hanuman worshiped at two shrines in Rajasthan, who has become popular within the last twenty years. With the ascent of capitalism, both Balajis are sought for miracles that help devotees to get ahead fast. One of the Balajis is revered as the protective lineage deity of many of India’s economic elites, who have gratefully patronized his shrine and hastened a new pilgrimage “tradition.” The other Balaji presides over exorcisms conducted by faith healers. Urbanization has endangered space set aside for ancestor spirits, and has fueled property disputes in joint households, resulting in retaliatory spirit possession. Hence, both Balajis address contemporary needs.
Asian Languages & Cultures
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