Vera Lazzaretti

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Research interests

Anthropology of space and place; religion and politics in South Asia; heritage production and local responses; anthropology of the state; securitisation and policing; inter-religious spaces; containment of religious offence; everyday life; pilgrimage; Hindutva; ethnography.

 

Background

I was trained at the University of Milan in Philosophy, Cultural Anthropology and Indian Studies. Up to now my work has explored the production and transformation of sacred places and spatial practices of Hinduism in urban contexts of North India by drawing principally on the anthropology of space and on critical approaches to cultural heritage.

Some of my other research interests are the representation of space in indigenous visual production (pictorial maps, literary cartography and illuminated manuscripts), the evolution of the concept of tirtha and of water places, oral history and biographical methods, as well as the nexus between experience and representation in ethnographic theories and practices.

I write in both English and Italian and my publications include a range of book chapters and articles, as well as a small book about literary representations of Banaras. I have recently finalised my first research monograph Divinità trasposte, pellegrinaggi sostitutivi e immaginazione geografica in India del nord (in Italian; English transl.: Here and Elsewhere. Transposed deities, substitute pilgrimages and geographic imagination in North India). The book investigates a crucial phenomenon of (not only) Hindu sacred geography, namely the spatial transposition of deities, by exploring the case of the transposed sites of the pan-Indian jyotirligas in Banaras. 

 

Grants and appointments

2015-2017 Post-doctoral fellowship from the University of Milan  — Project title: Evolution and transformation of local urban pilgrimages in Varanasi.

2015-2016 DAAD visiting scholarship spent at the South Asia Institute, Heidelberg — Project title: The production of heritage and its boundaries. Rethinking space and practices in a controversial religious compound: perspectives from Jnanavapi in Banaras.

2013-2015 Teaching contract at the University of Milan — Course taught: Paths in Indian sacred geography: places and traditions.

2010-2013 Ph.D. scholarship from the University of Turin — Project title: When the copy darkens the model. Studies on spatial transposition and Banaras: the case of jyotirlingas.

2009-2010 Fieldwork research scholarship from the Cariplo Foundation and the University of Milan — Project title: History and mythological transmission in the temple of Gauri Kedareshvar.

 

 

Tags: South Asia, India, Cosmopolitanism, Hinduism, Anthropology, Pilgrimage, Religion and politics, Cultural heritage

Publications

Books:

Lazzaretti, V. (2018), Qui e altrove. Divinità trasposte, pellegrinaggi sostitutivi e immaginazione geografica in India del Nord. Biblioteca di Studi Antropologici, Unicopli, Milano. 

Lazzaretti, V. (2016), Varanasi. Le città letterarie, Unicopli, Milano. 

 

Chapters and scientific articles:

Lazzaretti, V. (2017), ‘Jnanavapi tra etnografia e storia: note di una ricerca su un pozzo sacro al centro dei pellegrinaggi locali di Varanasi’, in Anantaratnaprabhava. Studi in onore di Giuliano Boccali, Vol. II (India tra religione e storia), in Consonanze, Università degli Studi di Milano.

Lazzaretti, V. (2017), ‘Waterscapes in transition: past and present reshape of sacred water places in Banaras’, in Baghel R., Hill J. and Stepan L. eds., Water, Knowledge and the Environment in Asia: Epistemologies, practices and locales, Routledge, New Delhi/New York/London, pp. 230-245, ISBN: 9781138685550, eISBN: 9781315543161.

Lazzaretti, V. (2016), ‘Questioning meaningful layers of locality in a pan-Indian tirtha’, in Bignami, C. and Debicka-Borek, Cosmopolitanism and regionalism in Indian cultural dynamics, in Cracow Indological Studies, vol. XVIII, pp. 119-144, ISSN: 1732-0917, eISSN: 2449-8696.

Lazzaretti, V. (2015), ‘Tradition versus urban public bureaucracy? Reshaping pilgrimage routes and religious heritage around contested places’, in Narayanan Y. ed., Religion and Urbanism: Reconceptualising 'Sustainable Cities' for South Asia, Routledge, New Delhi/New York/London, ISBN: 9780415745208, eISBN:9781315798066.

Lazzaretti, V. (2013), ‘Banaras jyotirlingas: constitution and transformations of a transposed divine group and its pilgrimage’, in Kervan, International Journal of Afro-Asian Studies, N. 17, pp.1-20, DOI: 10.13135/1825-263X/722, ISSN: 1825-263X.

Lazzaretti, V. (2013), ‘Considerazioni antropologiche sulla trasposizione spaziale: voci e strategie di Kedar ji, un jyotirlinga di Varanasi’, in Angelillo M., ed., Lo spazio dell’India. Luoghi, collocazioni, orientamenti e trasposizioni. Supplemento monografico di Quaderni Asiatici, n. 104 (December 2013), pp. 99-138, ISBN: 8890694955. 

Lazzaretti, V. (2013), ‘Constructing the eternal city of light through history and society: evolution of the image of Kashi in the Eighteenth-Twentieth century picture maps’, in Cracow Indological Studies, vol. 14, Part One, pp. 35-60, ISSN: 1732-0917, eISSN: 2449-8696.

Lazzaretti, V. (2013), ‘Repetition and adaptation: narrative style of the Kashikedaramahatmya’, in Boccali G. and Mucciarelli E., eds., Stylistic devices in Indian literature and art (Gargnano 16-18 September 2010), Quaderni di Acme, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, pp. 35-60, ISBN: 9788820510565.

 

Others: 

Lazzaretti, V. (2018), ‘Book Review: Banaras reconstructed. Architecture and sacred space in a Hindu Holy City, University of Washington Press, by Madhuri Desai, Seattle and London, 2017, pp. 292, ISBN 9780295741994, in South Asia. Journal of South Asian Studies. DOI:10.1080/00856401.2018.1489754

Lazzaretti, V. (2012), ‘Review of Michael S. Dodson, (ed.), Banaras. Urban Forms and Cultural Histories, Routledge, New Delhi and Abingdon, 2012, pp. 251, 50 plates, ISBN: 978-0-415-69377-6’, in Kervan, International Journal of Afro-Asian Studies, N. 16, pp. 78-83.

Lazzaretti, V. (2010), ‘Transposed sacred places in Varanasi: connecting local sites to pan-Indian places of pilgrimage’, in Picard D. and Amaral C., eds., Proceedings of the TOCOCU 1st Biannual Conference (Lisbon, Portugal, 9-12 September 2010). Sheffield, UK: TOCOCU (ON CD ROM).

 

  • Lazzaretti, Vera (2018). Banaras Reconstructed: Architecture and Sacred Space in a Hindu Holy City. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies.  ISSN 0085-6401.
  • Lazzaretti, Vera (2017). Jnanavapi tra etnografia e storia: note di una ricerca su un pozzo sacro al centro dei pellegrinaggi locali di Varanasi, I: Alice Crisanti; Cinzia Pieruccini; Chiara Policardi & Paola Rossi (red.),  Anantaratnaprabhava. Studi in onore di Giuliano Boccali.  Ledizioni (Consonanze 11).  ISBN 978-88-6705-680-4.  Chapter.  s 321 - 333 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Lazzaretti, Vera (2017). Waterscapes in transition: past and present reshape of sacred water places in Banaras, In Ravi Baghel; Lea Stepan & Joseph K.W. Hill (ed.),  Water, Knowledge and the Environment in Asia. Epistemologies, Practices and Locales.  Routledge.  ISBN 9781138685550.  Chapter 14.  s 230 - 245

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  • Lazzaretti, Vera (2018). Qui e altrove. Divinità trasposte, pellegrinaggi sostitutivi e immaginazione geografica nell’India del Nord. Edizioni Unicopli.  ISBN 9788840019857.  222 s.

View all works in Cristin

Published Oct. 2, 2017 4:33 PM - Last modified May 3, 2019 11:52 AM