Archives at the National Centre for Biological Sciences
Public Lecture Series
39th edition
Monthly talks framed around explorations in and around archives. Discussions by artists, archivists, academics, lawyers, teachers, journalists and others.
Feeding a thousand souls: An exploration of the kōlam
Vijaya Nagarajan
University of San Francisco
Thursday, Jul 15 2021. 6:30pm.
Every day millions of women wake up before dawn to create the kōlam, a ritual design made of rice flour, on the thresholds of homes. Propelled by a lifelong wonder and fuelled by deeply informed research, Vijaya Nagarajan provides a poetic and surprising entryway into its layered complexities. This talk draws from her book, Feeding a Thousand Souls. Women, Ritual, and Ecology in India: An Exploration of the Kōlam, a deep exploration of a popular women’s ritual art, the kōlam, and the multiple ways in which beauty embodies ethics. Braiding women’s voices and the author’s own stories, her work brings into conversation different knowledge traditions––beauty, history, gender, literature, religion, anthropology, mathematics, and ecology.
Vijaya Nagarajan is an Associate Professor and recent Chair of the Department of Theology/Religious Studies and in the Program of Environmental Studies at the University of San Francisco. She writes and teaches on Hinduism, gender, ritual, ecology, climate, the commons, energy, and ethics. She is active in the American Academy of Religion and in environmental movements in the United States and in India.