Skip to main content
Honors Colloquium

Pravina Shukla & Henry Glassie - The Sacred Image in Modern India

Thursday evening, 7:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
November 19, 2009
Chafee Auditorium URI Kingston Campus

Professor duo from Indiana University will take us through a cultural journey of Bridal Fashions, Body Adornments, and Folk Arts of India.


Henry Glassie, recently emeritus College Professor of Folklore at Indiana University, has received many awards for his work, including the Chicago Folklore Prize, the Haney Prize in the Social Sciences, the Cummings Award of the Vernacular Architecture Forum, the Kniffen and Douglas awards of the Pioneer America Society, and formal recognition for his contributions from the ministries of culture of Turkey and Bangladesh. Three of his works have been named among the notable books of the year by The New York Times.

Glassie has lectured throughout the United States and Canada, and in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, France, Germany, Turkey, Israel, Kuwait, India, Bangladesh, China, and Japan. He is the author of 'Pattern in the Material Folk Culture of the Eastern United States'; 'Folk Housing in Middle Virginia'; 'All Silver and No Brass'; 'Irish Folk History'; 'Passing the Time in Ballymenone'; 'Irish Folktales; The Spirit of Folk Art'; 'Turkish Traditional Art Today'; 'Art and Life in Bangladesh'; 'Material Culture'; 'The Potter’s Art'; 'Vernacular Architecture'; and 'The Stars of Ballymenone'. His latest book, 'Prince Twins Seven-Seven: His Art, His Life in Nigeria, His Exile in America', will be published in January 2010.

The colloquium talk by Henry Glassie is entitled "The Sacred Image in Modern India". India is a land of religious diversity. There are Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains, Christians, Jews and more Muslims than there are in most Muslim nations. This talk, though, will treat the diversity within Hinduism. Like the religions of ancient Greece and Rome, Hinduism is an expansive faith, assimilating a vast array of local practices. These practices, while attending to sacred texts, are centered by images of the deities. Power spreads and fragments among them. Shiva balances creation and destruction. Vishnu has appeared in ten avatars, notably Rama, Krishna, and the Buddha. Devi, the Goddess, appears as Parvati in wifely virtue, as Kali in rage, as Durga in power, and Durga is the mother of four: Ganesh, the Lord of Beginnings; Kartikeya, the god of war; Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom; Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. These deities are worshiped throughout India, but local traditions differ in emphasis, in ritual, and in the incorporation of local divinities. This talk, based on field research among the creators of images, the artists who craft the deities for worship, will suggest the patterns of convergence and divergence in art and ritual in different regions of the Indian subcontinent.

Vernacular Architecture Forum - Henry Glassie Award

Colloquium Coordinators:

Professor Ruby Roy Dholakia
College of Business Administration
Professor Nikhilesh Dholakia,
College of Business Administration
Professor Arun Shukla
College of Engineering

Related Sites:

Demystifying India on Facebook
IndiaAtURI on YouTube
IndiaAtURI on Twitter
IndianAtURI on Sakai


Questions, contact the Honors Center at 401.874.2381, or Deb Gardiner. or