The Absent Goddess: Religion, Ecology and Violence in Urban India


Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs




Water is life. In Hinduism, water, earth and sun form a complete, divine eco-cosmography, but in India unregulated urban growth in the name of development has led to violent habitat destruction and water pollution—an impending eco-calypse. With such increasing water destruction, what happens to a religious imagination rooted in the natural? Through women’s tortured narratives of water pollution and flooding and journalists’ archives of rampant eco-destruction in Bangalore, India, this ethnographic project will expand Western debates on religion, science, violence, and ecological loss. The project also investigates the religious conceptions of water as life and as divinity as they intersect with water management and sustainability policy discourse. Book talks, in-depth interviews, conference panels, lectures, and possible workshops will broaden the public understandings and valuation of water, and of its place in religion and science in different cultural contexts.