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Kerala Christian SainthoodCollisions of Culture and Worldview in South India$
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Corinne G. Dempsey

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195130287

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195130286.001.0001

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Me, St. George, and Other Foreigners

Me, St. George, and Other Foreigners

(p.18) 1 Me, St. George, and Other Foreigners
Kerala Christian Sainthood

Corinne G. Dempsey (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Begins by questioning imperialist misconceptions that overestimate the ability of colonial powers to suppress indigenous cultures. Rather than viewing Kerala's Christian traditions as passive receptacles for foreign influence, this chapter highlights how they, as expressed through Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian sainthood, have managed to refashion colonial traditions. This case is made by viewing how devotees’ approaches to and perceptions of a local almost‐saint, Sr. Alphonsa, reflect challenges to colonial stereotypes of the Indian other, helping construct and congeal a positive Kerala Christian identity. Similarly, this chapter demonstrates how local traditions surrounding St. George, a “foreign” saint brought to the Malabar coast by the Syrians, Portuguese, and British, have come to articulate a type of pro‐Keralite, anticolonial stance.

Keywords:   British, Kerala Christian, Orthodox Christian, Portuguese, postcolonial, Roman Catholic, sainthood, Sr. Alphonsa, St. George, Syrians

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