The University of Iowa

Consuming Gold in India is topic of South Asian Studies talk Feb. 24

February 18th, 2014
gold jewelry

The South Asian Studies Program (SASP) at the University of Iowa will kick off its spring seminar series with a talk by Nilika Mehrotra titled “Consuming Gold: Reframing Gender, Property and Aesthetics in Contemporary India” on Monday, February 24, at 4 p.m. in 1117 University Capitol Centre. The event is free and open to the public. Chai and snacks will be served.

Historically, Indians are known for having a fetish for gold and being one of the largest consumers of gold and gold jewelry. Based on ethnographic work in Eastern India and textual evidence from other parts, this talk will examine the relationship between gold, culture, moral economy, aesthetics, and social identity construction. Taking gender, culture, household, and marriage as interlocking structures, Mehrotra’s paper argues that patterns of investment and consumption of gold jewelry in globalizing times require a deep cultural understanding of Indian engagement with the metal.

Nilika Mehrotra is a social anthropologist teaching at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. Currently she is a Fulbright Senior Research Fellow (2013-2014) at University of California, Berkeley, Calif. She has recently published a book Disability, Gender and State Policy: Exploring Margins.

This event is sponsored by SASP and International Programs. To see the full list of SASP events for spring 2014, visit

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Sarolta Petersen in advance at 319-335-3862.