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The study of the folk traditions of South Asia has increased significantly in the past thirty years as anthropologists and folklorists explored the varied folk and oral traditions of India. These explorations have uncovered Western and Indian scholars, as well as offered new perceptions of issues of caste, gender and religion in India.
This volume brings together the papers of Susan S. Wadley whose work has been highly influential in this field. The study of folk traditions provides a critical look at the accepted, largely high caste male-authored views of Hinduism and society in India. Using materials primarily from the village known as Karimpur, in western Uttar Pradesh, the essays included here range from an examination of a rural ritual of snake possession, as well as stories that challenge its validity, to the interplay between the participants in understanding 'texts' and the world views that are elaborated in those texts. Some of the essays examine issues of performance, and the aesthetics of performance, while others focus on the content and the unstated contestations of classic Hinduism that are contained in stories and songs still current in western Uttar Pradesh.