Oecumene Dialogue July 2012

Dear Oecumene friends and colleagues,

We are very pleased to send you the July edition of Oecumene Dialogues, our monthly newsletter.

Summary of items covered in this issue:

  1. Blog on 'Women as People'
  2. Blog on 'How to recover common property. India's informal courts'
  3. Publication 'The Guru in South Asia: New Interdisciplinary Perspectives'
  4. Publication 'Shakespeare in India'
  5. News 'Coming out of where?' Leticia Sabsay in Soy of Pagina 12'

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1. Blog on 'Women as People'

By Raghda Butros

I have always been resistant to working on 'women’s issues'. This might seem odd, considering how much there is to do, but my resistance is well founded. Women, and their so-called 'issues' keep being put into boxes. I do not like to be boxed and neither do most of the women I know. The 'women as defenseless victims' discourse does not sit well with me. Neither do the 'women as heroines', 'women as saints', 'women as honor bearers' or the 'women are all the same' discourses. As a result I have tended to stay out of the 'women’s movement' and opted instead, like many other Arab women, to walk my own path, as a person and as a citizen.


2. Blog on 'How to recover common property. India's informal courts'

By Aya Ikegame

One morning in December 2011, I was sitting with more than one hundred people, many of who came from nearby villages. In the large hall, which many did not hesitate to call a ‘court’, we were waiting for the sole judge to appear. This was of course not a formal legal court but an informal arbitration court called the ‘nyaya peetha’ (seat of justice) established and run by Dr Shivamurthy Swamiji, the guru of an influential Hindu matha, Taralabalu Brihanmath, in central Karnataka, south India.


3. Publication 'The Guru in South Asia: New Interdisciplinary Perspectives'

By Aya Ikegame & Jacob Copeman

This book provides a set of fresh and compelling interdisciplinary approaches to the enduring phenomenon of the guru in South Asia. Moving across different gurus and kinds of gurus, and between past and present, the chapters call attention to the extraordinary scope and richness of the social lives and roles of South Asian gurus. Prevailing scholarship has rightly considered the guru to be a source of religious and philosophical knowledge and mystical bodily practices. This book goes further and considers the social engagements and entanglements of these spiritual leaders, not just on their own (narrowly denominational) terms, but in terms of their diverse, complex, rapidly evolving engagements with ‘society’ broadly conceived.

Jacob Copeman and Aya Ikegame (eds) (2012) The Guru in South Asia: New Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Routledge.


4. Publication 'Shakespeare in India'

By Alessandra Marino & Lidia Curti

This book deals with the long and complex journey of Shakespeare’s works in the Indian culture. Numerous, productive encounters between the Bard’s plays and Indian forms and genres took place in colonial and postcolonial times. Their effect was to renovate as well as re-write Shakespeare into complex artistic practices that ‘provincialized’ his figure. The book explores and exemplifies how from being an instrument of the ‘civilizing mission’ of the British empire, Shakespeare also became a stimulus for retrieving plural histories of the varied performative traditions of the subcontinent.

Lidia Curti and Alessandra Marino (eds) (2012) Shakespeare in India. Roma: Editoria e Spettacolo


5. News 'Coming out of where?' Leticia Sabsay in Soy of Pagina 12'

Leticia Sabsay published a news article in Soy, the Gay & Lesbian Supplement of Pagina 12, the Argentine national newspaper. 'Coming out of where?' reflects on the 'Coming Out' narratives and the exclusions they entrenched in.


Oecumene: Citizenship after Orientalism is funded by an European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant (Institutions, values, beliefs and behaviour ERC-AG-SH2).

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