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Lecture 5

GASA02H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Cuteness, Dalit, Harijan

Global Asia Studies
Course Code
Libbie Mills

of 2
GASA Week 5- Status Oct 10 2012
- don't need to be well- structured, just thoughtful and interesting, show the things learned
from lectures and readings.
- Week 1-5 cosmology, embryology,
- 1-2 pages for each question
Part1- how it is determined?
Reading 5.1- Dumont, Louis,
- Hierarchy is based on purity and occupation
- Ranking on a purity- pollution scale, into many castes (jati)
- 3 characteristics:
1. Separation in matters of marriage and contact, whether direct or indirect
2. Division of labour, each group having, in theory or by tradition, a profession from which its
members can depart only within certain limits
3. Hierarchy, which ranks the groups as relatively superior or inferior to one another
- from traditional india, 2 Ranking in 4 orders of power (varnas):
1. Brahmin (priest/ scholar), has more power than the king
2. Ksatriya (king, warrior)
3. Vaisya (merchant, farmer)
4. Sudra (servant)
* And those below the ranking, once termed “untouchables”, now “harijan” or “dalit”.*
- jati system is more self- recognizing,
- The two systems sometimes overlapping
- Hard to match the two together, because ranking based on different points.
Part 2- how it is demonstrated?
- Patrick Olivelle (2008), the use of appearance to denote status, at three points across Asia
Reading 5.2- Olivelle, Patrick (2008)
- Hair and Society, Social Significance of Hair in South Asian Traditions
- 3 modes of Males from South Asia: Groomed, unkempt, shaven
- Happened in the fashion
- Groomed hair: marks membership of normal society. People in south asia do not like to
show their hair un-groomed in public.
- Loose or disheveled hair: marks departure from society. Gave up all things to look for
higher spiritual things. Can also show temporary departure from the society, like in the
- Shaved hear: demonstrates purity, marks a separation from society or purification on
entry/ reentry into society. Shave a baby’s head to show the welcome of the baby into the
- When a widow shaved her hair, she’s trying to show that she is leaving the social group she
used to be (married people), and to show she is entering a new social group.
- Exceptions- Sikh male. Should not cut their hair. Long hair of Hindu holy man is showing he
is householder. To show both statuses: a holy man and a householder.
Clothing Matters:
- The arrival of European clothing styles in South Asia, invited participation for success.
- Sartorial strategies: full adoption of European style, complete rejection of it, half-way
measures either part-time or combination.
- 1. Manufacture of fabric 2. Manufacture of garment
- 1. South Asian hand- spun, hand-woven, naturally dyed khadi cloth; imported machine-
spun and machine- woven cloth; aniline dyes
- 2. Prior to European contact, most South Asian clothing required no, or minimal stitching;
imported clothing heavily tailored
- In a Hindu context, uncut, unstitched cloth was considered less permeable to pollution
- But by the late 19th century, stitched clothes were increasingly viewed as more
- Light colors were imported. (safari suite, )
- Hat was developed to protect European heads from the sun.
- South Asian females love the colors of the European fabrics, but pressure on Asian males,
influence the daily life of them, two set of values are in contract.
- M.K. Gandhi, he is serious about the clothing. Aware of the representations of the clothes.
Deeply influenced by John Ruskin’s book, Unto This Last”. Interested in restoring the local
hand- waving store, etc.
- By Sept 1920, he launched a role, Swaraj (home rule). But poor people could not afford it,
because it is expensive. Gandhi noticed the problem, so he tried to limit the times of
wearing the cloth.
- However, Gandhi’s plan failed.
Reading 5.3 (Brian J.)
- Wearing Ideology. State, Schooling and Self- Presentation in Japan
- Cuteness in Japan
- 2 observations: 1. Modern Japanese society is bewitched by cuteness… a bewitch ment that
has caught on across the globe. 2. The modern Japanese society is full of uniforms
- McVeigh puts the 2 observations together to make arguments concerning socialization, self
presentation, political economy, material culture, schooling, gender, national identity
- People’s idea was influenced by the national paper
- Cuteness define innocent. Can be manipulate and
- Punk, implied cuteness.
Reading 5.4 (Wu, Juanjuan, 2009)
- Chinese Fashion from Mao to Now.
- From 1978 to 2008, the changes to Chinese society, a reborn of Chinese fashion, changes to
Chinese culture.
- Unsettling feelings, government policies, hierarchical
Part 1: how it is determed
- Dumont, homo heirarchicus
Part2: how it is demonstrated
- hair and clothing in south asia
- uniforms and cuteness in japan
- clothing and ideals of beauty in china