Two grants to Kristin Bloomer support ethnography research and writing

February 26, 2012
By Dee Menning, CFR

KKristin Bloomerristin Bloomer, Assistant Professor of Religion, has been awarded two grants for her research project “Possessed by Mary: Hinduism, Roman Catholicism, and Marian Spirit Possession in Contemporary Tamil Nadu, S. India,” a book-length ethnography, grounded in the interpretive traditions of the history of religions, which follows the lives of three Roman Catholic women in south India – differing in caste, class, and geographic backgrounds – who claim to be possessed by Mary, the mother of Jesus. The book will offer new perspectives on Marian spirit possession, religious syncretism (especially of Christians and Hindus), and gender and power in contemporary Tamil Nadu, challenging the normative stereotypes promulgated in anthropology and the study of religions.

*The Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School will appoint Professor Bloomer as a research associate and visiting faculty member and provide $58,000 in stipend and expenses for work there during the 2012-2013 academic year. (Along with Associate Professor Lori Pearson, Assistant Professor Bloomer is the second Carleton faculty member to receive a fellowship from the Harvard Divinity School's Women’s Studies in Religion Program. The program chose five scholars from an international pool of candidates: two were from Carleton.)

*An American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship of $35,000 will support final research and writing in 2013.