SPEAKERS

Benu Verma
Researcher and Academic

Benu Verma holds a doctorate in Social Anthropology from IIT Delhi. Her work ponders over the intersections of myth, spirituality, gender and neoliberal socio-economic order in India and South Asia. While her M.Phil dissertation discusses the many literary and performative renditions of Draupadi, her doctoral thesis is an ethnography of devotees of Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma) – a popular Indian spiritual guru. She studies the evolving relationship between spiraling socio-economic precarity and experiencing the spiritual and discusses social, spatial and cultural meanings of belonging to a female guru, especially for Amma’s women devotees. Her work foregrounds and analyses the eminence of religio-cultural identities as the primary identities among Indians in recent times, whether adopted voluntarily or imposed and marked. Benu has spent the last fifteen years traversing the fields of socio-cultural research and writing, social development research and advocacy, public policy, teaching and anthropological research and writing. She currently teaches at the Alliance School of Liberal Arts, Alliance University.