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’s research interests are in South Asia, with a research focus on the Tamils of South India. Her first three books focus 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 has edited a volume of essays that explore how ongoing discussion about the nature and effects of modernity and globalization is reshaping the anthropological study of India (A Companion to the Anthropology of India). Her ethnography of marriages to close kin in Tamil Nadu seeks to make a contribution to the anthropological interpretation of kinship and social change (The "Right" Spouse: Preferential Marriages in Tamil Nadu). Currently she is looking at the processes of growing up in the Indian state of Karnataka as well as planning a new research on individual and social being in South India. She teaches courses on India, ritual, kinship, anthropological theory and ethnography and directs the Program in South Asian Studies.