Friday, March 6th, 2020 Reading and Writing "Possessed by the Virgin," with Kristin Bloomer

Friday, March 6, 20204:00PM - 6:00PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place


Kristin Bloomer’s Possessed by the Virgin: Hinduism, Roman Catholicism, and Marian Possession in South India introduces readers to three women who become possessed by the Virgin Mary: Rosalind, Nancy, and Dhanam. In this rich ethnographic account of Marian possession, healing, and exorcism in Tamil Nadu, Bloomer pays particular attention to the experience of possession as articulated by these women and the various community members that surround them, from the skeptical Catholic priest to the devotees, and everyone in between. This beautifully written ethnography raises questions about possessed subjectivities and agencies, gender, Tamil language, Hinduism and Catholicism in South India, and, more generally, how to write about possession.

In this panel, a group of graduate students from the University of Toronto, with diverse research interests ranging from Tamil Studies to Possession Studies, will critically engage with the author and her book from various perspectives. The event aims to raise questions, deeply reflect, and start a critical conversation about the book and its contents.


Kainat Bashir, Department for the Study of Religion, UofT
Janani Mandayam Comar, Department for the Study of Religion, UofT
Stephanie Duclos-King, Department for the Study of Religion, UofT
Jesse Pruitt, Department for the Study of Religion, UofT
Kristina Rogahn, Department for the Study of Religion, UofT
Austin Simoes-Gomes, Department for the Study of Religion, UofT


Kristin C. Bloomer is an Associate Professor of Religion at Carleton College in Northfield, MN. She is currently working on a book about Tamil family gods and lineage deities, with support from the American Institute of Indian Studies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Carleton College.


Francis Cody
Department of Anthropology; Centre for South Asian Studies, Asian Institute

Kristin Bloomer
Department of Religion, Carleton College, Northfield, MN

Main Sponsor

Asian Institute


Centre for South Asian Studies


Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto

Tamil Worlds Initiative, University of Toronto, Scarborough

If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.

Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at or 416-946-8900.