The University of Iowa

SASP lecture on close-kin marriage in Tamil tradition, Feb 23

February 11th, 2015

The South Asian Studies Program (SASP) will continue its spring 2015 seminar series with a lecture by Isabelle Clark-Decès titled "The past and present of close-kin marriage in Tamilnadu." The event is free and open to the public and will be held Monday, February 23, from 4:30-6:00 p.m. in 1117 University Capitol Centre. Chai and samosas will be served.

Professor Clark-Decès' talk focuses on the past, present and dwindling future of Tamil preferential marriage to close-kin in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. In her lecture, Clark-Decès considers the ways in which Tamil intermarriage establishes kinship and social rank and argues that past scholars have improperly defined “Dravidian” kinship. Within her critique of past scholarship, Clark-Decès recasts a vivid image of preferential marriage in Tamil Nadu and how those preferences and marital rules play out in lived reality.

Isabelle Clark-Decès is cultural anthropologist and Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University. Among her specializations is kinship, and has written five books, most recently The Right Spouse (Stanford University Press 2014) addresses changes in the marriage system among the Tamils of South India. She has lived for several years among the lower castes in Tamilnadu, in a small village in North Arcot District, and on the outskirts of Madurai. She received her Ph.D. from The University of California, Berkeley in 1995, and has taught at Princeton since 1997.

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 Fred Smith in advance at 319-400-1295.