The book is the outcome of the author’s long-term fieldwork in Goa and seeks to bridge the gaps in the anthropological research in this state of India. The existing research, essentially historical, tends to consider Goa as Catholic, Portuguese-speaking and framed by Portuguese cultural references. The author offers an ethnographic approach to the understanding of the colonial encounter and of colonialism. Her ethnographical research shows that Goa is, and was, dominantly Hindu and the perception of Goan society as essentially fragmented is a colonial imposition. The author takes into account indigenous views, with special focus on a group of devadasis of a Hindu temple. Through them the author aims to dismantle both the stereotypes staged by Portuguese colonialism and an essentialist and Eurocentric view of the caste system in India.
Rosa Maria Perez is Professor of Anthropology at ISCTE-Lisbon University Institute. Over the past ten years she has been a regular Visiting Professor at Brown University, USA. Among her recent books in English are Kings and Untouchables: A Study of the Caste System in Western India (Delhi 2004) and Mirrors of the Empire: Towards a Debate on Portuguese Colonialism and Postcolonialism (Lisbon, 2002).