Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
The world is changing. India is changing. Food is changing. Bodies are changing. What does this mean for the women of Maharashtra, India? Globalization and modernity manifest in new and interesting ways the world over. As people establish networks of global commodity, capital, and human circulation, anthropologists raise pertinent concerns. While some are apprehensive about cultural loss and western cultural imperialism, others make a case for the rise of glocalization. While some espouse the positives of a free market economy, others are critical of the nutrition transition in developing countries and what this means for the health of the people undergoing this transition. The site of this study is the region of Konkan in Maharashtra, India. India is undergoing fast paced culture change since liberalizing its economy in the year 1991. I focus on the experiences of present day rural and urban Deorukhe Brahmin women (mothers and their daughters), who belong to an endogamous upper caste group that claims to be indigenous to Konkan. Generally, rural Indian regions are modernizing more slowly than urban areas. This study looks at how women are active agents in the changes that are taking place in their bodies, diet, and gender identities. A biocultural study, this dissertation takes into consideration anthropometric data and ethnographic data to comprehend the manner in which women, who are the gastronomic decision makers at the household level, are responding to the increasing influx of non-traditional foods. My study focuses on the moral implications of changing dietary practices and the appearance of chronic non-communicable diseases on the notions of the self. By discussing the manner in which Indian women practice their agency, using traditional gender roles, I aim to demonstrate how these women adjoin that which is thought to index the global and the local to shape a new India.
This dissertation is Open Access and may be downloaded by anyone.