Anne Feldhaus, Ph.D.
Arizona State University
AAS Vice President
Anne Feldhaus is Distinguished Foundation Professor of Religious Studies at Arizona State University. Her work combines philological and ethnographic approaches to study religious traditions of Maharashtra, the Marathi-language region of western India. She has been a Guggenheim Fellow, an Alexander von Humboldt fellow, a Fulbright Scholar, and a Senior Research Fellow for the American Institute of Indian Studies, and has received several fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her areas of special interest are folk and popular Hindu traditions, medieval bhakti, and religious geography. Professor Feldhaus's publications include Connected Places: Region, Pilgrimage, and Geographical Imagination in Maharashtra (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), Water and Womanhood: Religious Meanings of Rivers in Maharashtra (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), and several books on Old Marathi literature. With S.G. Tulpule, she co-edited A Dictionary of Old Marathi (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).
My talk will focus on the subtitle of the conference: “Places, Relations, Systems.” I will examine what happens to people when they bring places into relationship with one another in systematic – or even non-systematic, but long-lasting, traditional – ways. It is people who connect places. By connecting places, they create regions, and each region they create is a world – a cosmos – for them. After discussing a number of relatively small regions in the Indian state of Maharashtra, I will conclude by reflecting on the ways that we all, as scholars and teachers of Asian studies, connect places and thereby create ever-expanding worlds.