Aggarwal, Ravina 1965-
Aggarwal, Ravina 1965-
Born January 14, 1965. Education: Graduated from the University of Bombay; Indiana University, Ph.D., 1994.
Anthropologist and academic. Smith College, Northampton, MA, assistant professor of anthropology and women's studies, then associate professor.
(Translator and editor) Abdul Ghani Sheikh, Forsaking Paradise: Stories from Ladakh, Katha (New Delhi, India), 2001.
(Editor) Into the High Ranges, Penguin (New Delhi, India), 2002.
Beyond Lines of Control: Performance and Politics on the Disputed Borders of Ladakh, India, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 2004.
Founding editor of Meridians: Race, Feminism, and Transnationalism. Contributor to journals, including Feminist Studies, Journal of Asian Studies, and American Ethnologist.
Ravina Aggarwal is an anthropologist and academic. Educated at St. Xavier's College at the University of Bombay, Aggarwal went on to earn a Ph.D. in anthropology at Indiana University, minoring in folklore. Aggarwal's main research interests include feminism, postcolonial studies, expressive culture, performance, travel and tourism, border cultures, community mobilization, and narrative ethnography. For her doctoral dissertation, entitled "From Mixed Strains of Barley Grain: Person and Place in a Ladakhi Village Community," Aggarwal spent seven years in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, researching and interviewing in both Buddhist and Muslim communities.
Aggarwal translated and edited Forsaking Paradise: Stories from Ladakh, by Abdul Ghani Sheikh, in 2001. The following year, she edited Into the High Ranges. She is the founding editor of Meridians: Race, Feminism, and Transnationalism, and is a contributor to academic journals, including Feminist Studies, Journal of Asian Studies, and American Ethnologist.
In 2004, Aggarwal published Beyond Lines of Control: Performance and Politics on the Disputed Borders of Ladakh, India. The book looks at the conditions of Ladakh, a region of the disputed Kashmir and Jammu states of northern India, along the Tibetan border. Aggarwal includes information not only on the political and military struggles in the region but also gives an account of the fractures along the societal groupings in the region along with its religious, gender-specific, class, and caste systems. Aggarwal based the most of the book on research she conducted in Achinathang, a village in Ladakhi. Through her research she argues that the concept of a Ladakhi borderland should not be understood in terms of security issues as it has many meanings for those who live there—meanings that are unrelated to security. Aggarwal makes particular use of funeral rites of the village to discuss the stratified Buddhist society and the relations between Buddhists and Muslims of the area.
Chitralekha Zutshi, writing in the Canadian Journal of History, commented that "Ravina Aggarawal's book comes as a welcome addition to the scholarship on a significant, yet intellectually and politically marginalized, region of northern India." Zutshi also said that "Aggarawal's book is a valuable intervention in the field of anthropological scholarship, since it successfully places cultural practices in their historical as well as socio-economic contexts, thereby demonstrating that culture and its manifestations—ritual and ceremony—are not immutable. Her contribution to scholarship on Jammu and Kashmir is likewise vital." Zutshi concluded by saying that the book "reminds us that unassailable categories, such as religion and ethnicity, and indeed borders themselves, are porous."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Journal of Sociology, September, 2006, Jon E. Fox, review of Beyond Lines of Control: Performance and Politics on the Disputed Borders of Ladakh, India, p. 640.
Canadian Journal of History, March 22, 2006, Chitralekha Zutshi, review of Beyond Lines of Control, p. 187.
Journal of Asian Studies, November, 2006, Jim Fisher, review of Beyond Lines of Control, p. 835.
Modern Drama, summer, 2006, Dia Mohan, review of Beyond Lines of Control, p. 245.
Smith College, Department of Anthropology Web site,http://www.smith.edu/anthro/ (March 4, 2008), author profile.