Departmental Representative (Spring 2014)
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1995
132 Aaron Burr Hall
Office hours: by appt.
ritual, kinship, social relations, contemporary Indian society, ethnography.
Isabelle Clark-Decès has conducted fieldwork in South India since 1990. Her first line of research focused on Tamil ritual and the series of conceptual, existential, theoretical issues it opens up: Religion Against the Self: An Ethnography of Tamil Rituals (as Isabelle Nabokov); No One Cries for the Dead: Tamil Dirges, Rowdy Songs and Graveyard Petitions; and The Encounter Never Ends: a Return to the Field of Tamil Rituals. She is the editor of A Companion to the Anthropology of India, a volume which explores how ongoing discussion about the nature and effects of modernity and globalization is reshaping the anthropological study of India. She is presently finishing a book-length ethnography of marriages to close-kin in Tamil Nadu, both as they used to be arranged and experienced in the recent past, and as they are increasingly discontinued in the present. This study, The "Right" Spouse: Tamil Kinship in a Field of Relations, seeks to make a contribution to the anthropological interpretation of kinship and social change in a global world and transnational liberal economy. She teaches courses on India, ritual, kinship theory and ethnography and directs the Program in South Asian Studies.