Transgenderism and the Cult of Yellamma: Heat, Sex, and Sickness in South Indian Ritual

  title={Transgenderism and the Cult of Yellamma: Heat, Sex, and Sickness in South Indian Ritual},
  author={Nicholas Bradford},
  journal={Journal of Anthropological Research},
  pages={307 - 322}
  • N. Bradford
  • Published 1 October 1983
  • History
  • Journal of Anthropological Research
This account provides first-hand information on a variety of ritual officiants who are regarded as having been "caught" by the goddess Yellamma, a form of the Hindu goddess Renūka found in several pilgrimage centers in northern Karnātaka, South India, and in the village pantheons and household shrines of the people of the region. Among the human agents of Yellamma particular consideration is given to the "transgenderites"--female, erotic men (jōgappa), and male, ascetic women (jōgamma). It is… 
Unmarried Women of the Dhaula Dhar: Celibacy and Social Control in Northwest India
For women, marriage is axiomatic in rural India. On the fringes of the Himalaya in Kangra, however, the status of sādhin offers a small number of women an unconventional, but respectable, alternative
With Respect to Sex: Negotiating Hijra Identity in South India
"With Respect to Sex" is an intimate ethnography that offers a provocative account of sexual and social difference in India. The subjects of this study are "hijras" or the "third sex" of
Yellamma Cult and Divine Prostitution: Its Historical and Cultural Background
The worship of Renuka, the mother goddess can be seen in many places of India. In the southern parts of India, Renuka is worshipped in the name of Yellamma or Mariamma. Renuka, as mentioned in
Following the divine: an ethnographic study of structural violence among transgender jogappas in South India
The effects of overlapping forms of structural violence surrounding education, subsistence, family life and attempts to access social and health services are described, revealing how social inequities are implicated in the emergence of transgender subjectivities along the road to becoming a jogappa.
The Wedding with a Stolen Goddess: The Ethnography of a Cult in Rural Tamil Nadu
The study presents ethnographic material concerning the foundation and development of a non-Brahman temple in the Tamil low-caste settlement of Line Kollai, which is in a neighbourhood close to the city of Krishnagiri, and explores wider contexts of social and religious demands articulated through possession mediumship and ritual performance.
In this life: The impact of gender and tradition on sexuality and relationships forDevadasi sex workers in rural India
In the popular imagination and certain academic fields, sex workers’ experiences of sexuality and intimate relationships are often “naturalized,” to the point where they are assumed to be deviant or
Hidden in History: Female Homoeroticism and Women of a "Third Nature" in the South Asian Past
To explore this female third-gender role I shall first consider some of the current theories about alternative genders in traditional societies and then examine the remnants of such genders as still
Evil and Suffering in Hinduism
The experience of suffering forces people to face the question of evil, its origin and the role evil and suffering play in the world. The answers which Hinduism gives to such questions are as
Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History, and Literature
The dramatic impact of Islamic fundamentalism in recent years has skewed our image of Islamic history and culture. Stereotypes depict Islamic societies as economically backward, hyper-patriarchal,
Let the "Dirty" Women Speak: The Agency and Divergent Aspirations of Devadasis and Development Interventions in Karnataka, India
In this dissertation, I examine the relationships between development organisations and religious beneficiaries through an ethnographic exploration of devadasi women in rural North Karnataka, India.


Barbers, Washermen, and Other Priests: Servants of the South Indian Village and Its Goddess
Anything may be seen either by itself or as part of something larger: "the scale makes the phenomenon." But what does it mean to be "part of something larger"? It means not only to help constitute
The Center out There: Pilgrim's Goal
As an example of how a social anthropologist of my theoretical position would approach the study of a specific type of ritual symbols, namely, those associated with religious pilgrimages, I am
An Untouchable Community in South India: Structure and Consensus
While many studies suggest that Indian Untouchables do not entirely share the hierarchical values characteristic of the caste system, Michael Moffatt argues that the most striking feature of the
The village gods of South India
Deals with the various aspects of Hinduism, social life, customs, and religious ceremonies.
The Goddess and the Demon : A Local South Indian Festival in its Wider Context
  • Purusartha
  • 1981
Wife Tomorrow: Pilgrimage and Festival in South India. Unpublished ms. in author's possession
  • History of Religions
  • 1979
I greatly benefited from the many conversations I had with Dr. Bhat on the subject of sickness in Karniataka
  • 1977