"Are there really widows anymore?": what widowhood looks like in a Hindu Canadian diaspora community

Russell, Caitlin (2021) "Are there really widows anymore?": what widowhood looks like in a Hindu Canadian diaspora community. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Extant scholarship that has been largely focused on sati and lived experience in the Indian context presents widowhood for Hindu women as a largely negative state distinct from that of wife. Using data from a series of semi-structured interviews with 14 women in St. John’s, Newfoundland, this thesis describes and analyzes these women’s perceptions and experiences of widowhood in the Hindu Canadian diaspora. It asserts that while a widowed woman must negotiate the roles, rules, and attributes of "widow," in these contexts they are not fixed or permanent. This thesis examines closely four different components present in Hindu Canadian understandings of widowhood: 1) modifications in diet and clothing that signify the shift from wife to widow; 2) ostracism of widows from the religious and social life of the Hindu community; 3) the positions and relationships of widows in the community, in their family, and; 4) the definitions, classifications and categorization of widows and widowhood among both widowed and non-widowed women. Through each of these frames, the thesis documents how the Canadian Hindu widow both claims and is attributed respect, status, and independence and that the identity, relationships, and practices of widows, though part of continuous process of change, are not set apart from those of wives in any absolute manner.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/14965
Item ID: 14965
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 164-170).
Keywords: Widow, Sati, Hindu, Diaspora, Newfoundland
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Religious Studies
Date: March 2021
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Widowhood--Canada--Religious aspects--Hinduism; Women in Hinduism--Canada--Attitudes.

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