Bauls have achieved fame as wandering minstrels and mystics in India and Bangladesh. They are recruited from Hindu and Muslim communities and renowned for their beautiful songs. Using fieldwork and oral and written texts, Jeanne Openshaw analyzes the rise of the Bauls to their present revered status, traversing from the conventional historical and textual approaches towards an ethnographic study of their world, where love and the body are valued and women extolled above men. Her approach is challenging and sympathetic to this spiritual and creative people.Read more
- Was the first comprehensive English-language treatment of Bauls
- Interdisciplinary approach to anthropologists, students of religion and cultural history
- Narrative relies on empirical and textual discussion to interpret the spiritual and cultural practices of a fascinating people
- Winner of the Rabindranath Tagore Memorial Award by Pascimbanga Bangla Akademi (Government of West Bengal, India)
Reviews & endorsements
"Openshaw's book introduces freshness to the field of Baul Studies and opens up areas for further exploration as well as a dialogue between and among several discourses. Her work is highly contextual and firmly grounded in her knowledge of Indian philosophy...This book is important not just for scholars of Baul Studies but also for feminists (of both the third and first worlds), post colonialists, and scholars on South Asia."
-South Asian ReviewSee more reviews
"...startling, illuminating, erudite, and absolutely engrossing, it is one of the more original contributions to the field in several years."
Journal of Anthropoligical Research
"This is an exciting and ambitious work that sets a new standard for critical scholarship on a group that has suffered from more than its share of mystification and romanticizing. It is a rich and challenging read. Highly recommended for graduate libraries."
-Brian A. Hatcher, Illinois Wesleyan University, Religious Studies Review
This book is a tour de force, certainly the best book in English on the subject. It looks at Bauls with fresh eyes, is both thoughtful and thought-provoking, and provides many new insights into the subject. The book reflects Openshaw's dedication to her subject. .... It will no doubt transform the way in which scholars view Bauls. It may even change popular perceptions.'
Journal of the American Oriental Society
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- Date Published: September 2002
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521811255
- length: 304 pages
- dimensions: 236 x 159 x 26 mm
- weight: 0.62kg
- contains: 9 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Part I. Background: Literature on 'Bauls' and 'Baul-songs':
1. 'What's in a name?' The advent of 'the Baul'
2. The making of 'the Bauls': histories, themes, 'Baul-songs
Part II. In Search of 'Bauls': 3. Fieldwork in Rarh
4. Fieldwork in Bagri
Part III. Received Classifications:
5. Two shores, two refuges: householder and renouncer
6. Evading the two shores: the guru
Part IV. Reworking the Classifications:
7. Affect: love and women
8. Theory: images the 'I' and bartaman
Part V. Practice and Talking about Practice:
9. Practice (sadhana)
10. Four moons practice and talking about practice (hari-katha)
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