Our faculty Prof. Caleb Simmons published a new book

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Singing the Goddess into Place: Locality, Myth, and Social Change in Chamundi of the Hill, a Kannada Folk Ballad​​​​​​​ (SUNY 2022) by Prof. Caleb Simmons examines Chamundi of the Hill, a collection of songs that tells the stories of the gods and goddesses of the region around the city of Mysore in southern Karnataka. The ballad actively transforms the region into a land where gods and goddesses live, embedding these deities within the social worlds of their devotees and remapping southern Karnataka into sacred geography connected through networks of devotion and pilgrimage. In this in-depth study of the songs and their context, Caleb Simmons not only provides the first English-language translation of these songs but brings to light the unstudied folk perspectives on the foundational myth of Mysore and its urban history. Singing the Goddess into Place demonstrates how folk narratives reflect local context while also actively working to upend social inequities based on caste and ritual/devotional practices. By delving into this world, the book helps us understand how a landscape is transformed through people's relationship with it and how this relationship helps build meaning for the communities that call it home.