Synopses & Reviews
"[I]t is extremely salubrious to see the ways Islam works in the lives of ordinary people who are not politicized in their religious lives.... No other book on South Asia has material like this." --Ann Grodzins Gold
In Amma's Healing Room is a compelling study of the life and thought of a female Muslim spiritual healer in Hyderabad, South India. Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger describes Amma's practice as a form of vernacular Islam arising in a particular locality, one in which the boundaries between Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity are fluid. In the "healing room," Amma meets a diverse clientele that includes men and women, Muslim, Hindu, and Christian, of varied social backgrounds, who bring a wide range of physical, social, and psychological afflictions. Flueckiger collaborated closely with Amma and relates to her at different moments as daughter, disciple, and researcher. The result is a work of insight and compassion that challenges widely held views of religion and gender in India and reveals the creativity of a tradition often portrayed by Muslims and non-Muslims alike as singular and monolithic.
About the Author
Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger is Professor of Religion at Emory University and author of Gender and Genre in the Folklore of Middle India.
Table of Contents
A Note on Transliteration
Introduction: Called to Amma's Courtyard
1. Setting the Stage: The Healing Room, Its Actors, and Its Rhythms
2. The Healing System
3. Patient Narratives in the Healing Room
4. Negotiating Gender in the Healing Room
5. Religious Identities at the Crossroads
6. Immersed in Remembrance and Song: Religious Identities, Authority, and Gender at the Sam?
Conclusion: Vernacular Islam Embedded in Relationships
Appendix: Death and Difference: A Conversation