Institute professor of anthropology, religion and transnational studies Tulasi Srinivas writes for The Conversation about the history of goddesses of contagion, and how the current coronavirus pandemic has changed the iconography of them, for example, in artist depictions.
As a cultural anthropologist, Srinivas highlights the varied cultural mechanisms available for working through deeper questions about connections to nature and mortality, and fear and hop, in the midst of uncertainty.
While controversies over temples reopening dominates the news, a new deity, crafted from polystyrene and called “Corona Devi” has been installed in a temple dedicated to the pox goddess. Mr. Anilan, the priest and single devotee, says he will offer worship for “Corona Warriors” – health care workers, firefighters, and other front line personnel. Here science and faith are not seen as inimical to one another, but as working together, hand-in-glove.”
Srinivas was also interviewed about cultural appropriation for an NBC News article regarding Bon Appetit Magazine amidst racism allegations. Read the article.