Ronald Inden received his PhD from the University
of Chicago in 1972. His scholarship and publications,
including Imagining India in 1990, has revolved
around some of his central concerns and themes in
the history and religion of India: imperial formations
and agency in Indian history, production and consumption
of texts in their environments, historical constructions
and representations in Orientalist and post-Orientalist
scholarship, historiography and the ideas of history.
He has appealed for scholarship that represents the
agency of real historical agents in shaping and intervening
in the worlds which we study, as well as to provide
a challenge to reification of religious traditions
within modern South Asia. He retired from the University
of Chicago in 2005.
Ron Inden is currently investigating changes in class formations in India in relation to changes in world ruling classes and the ways in which people have tried to articulate these changes with intellectual practices and national/ethnic "identities" in the twentieth century. He is particularly interested in people's efforts to construct paradises or utopias on earth in and beside their everyday lives.These involve practices ranging from "rituals" in medieval ortraditional societies to the "media" in modern ones and, especiallyin India, the world of cinema. The problems of how people have situatedand resituated these differing practices in a "developing" country like India bring together my historical, anthropological, and Indological interests.
Laurel Kendall is Curator of Asian Ethnographic Collections at the American Museum of Natural History and Adjunct (full) Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. Kendall has written extensively on shamanism, gender, and the cultural construction of tradition and modernity. Her current work describes changes in the Korean shaman world in tandem with the transformation of South Korean society over the last thirty years. In collaboration with the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, she has recently completed a project that weds the anthropology of religion to material culture studies by considering sacred objects in new contexts of market revitalization and museum collecting. She is the editor of Under Construction: The Gendering of Modernity, Class, and Consumption in the Republic of Korea (2001), and author of Getting Married in Korea: Of Gender, Morality, and Modernity (1996), The Life and Hard Times of a Korean Shaman (1988), and Shamans, Housewives, and Other Restless Spirits: Women in Korean Ritual Life (1985).