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Lecture 5

Global Asia Studies Lecture 5.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Global Asia Studies

Global Asia Studies – Lecture 5 o The lecture is based on two parts: Part 1 – How status is determined? and Part 2 – How status is shown? o What is status in a society?  Status is a position one holds within a society.  In reading 5.1 focuses on how status is primarily determined  It is based essentially on hierarchy and follows a caste system based on purity: 1. Everyone is ranked ; Ranking is based on birth (jati) which is the birth place (being judged by placement at birth) 2. Every member of society is ranked, according to their occupations, in a pecking order of power  Hereditary groups are distinguished from one another and connected together by 3 characteristics: a. Separation in matters of marriage and contact, whether direct or indirect (such as food). b. Division of labour, each group having, in theory or by tradition, a profession from which its members can depart only within certain limits. c. Hierarchy, which ranks the groups as relatively superior or inferior to one another.  It can be separated by stuff like marriage or contact  There can be division by occupation status  Hierarchy ranks superiority/inferiority  Another type of ranking is ranking though the 4 orders of power, varoeas: a. Brahmin (priest / scholar) b. Kshatriya (king, warrior) c. Vaisya (merchant, farmer) d. Sudra (servant) e. Plus those below the ranking, once termed 'untouchables', now 'harijan' or 'dalit'.  According to what you do can change your ranking  Brahmin (priests) take higher power than the king  Jati’s change across the regions – Varnas system is relatively simple, seen across the regions  Meat eating is generally seen as not pure but a meat eating warrior is higher up in the status when compared to a servant who eats nothing but vegetables o How is status revealed or shown in society?  Some examples of ways in which people reveal status is through uniforms, through their physical appearance (facial hair – adulthood), and race and appearance (clothing) o Reading 5.2 - The use of appearance to show status, especially the hair and how it relates to status within society  Grammar of body to the grammar of language  Fashion change = appearance change  There was 3 modes of hair of South Asia: 1. Groomed – marks membership of normal society 2. Unkempt – loose or dishelved hair marks departure (permanent or temporary – menstruating women or funerals) in normal society 3. Completely shaven – demonstrates purity and marks a separation from society or a purification on entry/re-entry into society  Believed to be a return of innocence of a child and dependent on society  Example: widow shaving her head to mark clear what has happened to her o The EXCEPTIONS to this structure:  Sikh males who should not cut his hair since uncut hair is marker of being part of society  It indicates that the male is part of the household and is also a holy man at the same time o Clothing in India has drastically changed over the years. It has had a variety of mixed reactions of the European way of clothing that has now been incorporated into dressing  The variety of responses include: complete rejection of it, a half-way measure between it or a part-time combination  Before the European influence Indian clothing were manufacture by fabric, and manufacture into garment. a. South Asian hand-spun and hand-woven khadi cloth  Imported machine-spun and machine-woven cloth  Aniline dyes b. Prior to European contact, most South Asian clothing required no or minimal stitching.  Imported clothing heavily tailored.  In Hindu context, uncut, unstitched cloth was considered less permeable to pollution  By late 19 century, stitched clothing was appearing due to the European influence and there was an increase in viewed as more sophisticated way of dressing  Example: Men’s safari suit was imposed – way of European solution to being in the tropics of India  Another adjustment – hats (solar tope or pith helmet)
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