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Grant number like: FB-52822-06

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Eliza F. Kent, PhD
Colgate University (Hamilton, NY 13346-1386)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

$24,000 (approved)
$24,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2007 – 12/31/2007

Religion and Environmentalism in South India

I propose to write a book on the changing religious beliefs and practices surrounding "sacred groves" in Tamil Nadu, the southeastern most state in India. This study will provide thick ethnographic description of the myths, ritual and beliefs surrounding groves in four districts as a basis for analyzing the factors that both support and jeopardize their continued existence. I demonstrate that several analytically distinguishable but inter-related factors affect both religious beliefs and the ecological condition of the groves including the incorporation of local communities into wider social networks through pilgrimage, out-migration and contact with urban-based environmentalists, all vectors of new ideas about nature and religion.