Multiplicities and Intersections of Homes and Fields


  • Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger Emory University



home, field, belonging, Mussoorie, Landour, Uttarakhand


Multiple and context-specific terms for “home” in Indian languages can help us as ethnographers imagine and recognize home(s) and field(s) as non-binary, multiple, fluid, intersecting categories. In North India, these terms may include: mul nivas, gaon, ghar, maika (pihar), sasural. The terms identify home by ancestry, residence, performance and ritual, affect, landscapes, and familial and other relationships. Paying attention to the everyday use of indigenous terms, we also learn that home may be gendered and may change over a person’s life cycle. While concepts of belonging and home are fluid and multiple, they may also have limits and constraints. Individuals in our research communities, families, academic audiences—and we as ethnographers—all have the potential to belong or lose belonging, even to renounce belonging, in multiple ways that shift over time and in different contexts. One of our tasks as ethnographers is to recognize these possibilities and to write in ways that leave space for their fluidity.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger, Emory University

Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger is Professor in the Department of Religion at Emory University. She has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Chhattisgarh, Hyderabad, Tirupati, and currently Mussoorie (Uttarakhand). She is the author of Material Acts in Everyday Hindu Worlds (2020), Everyday Hinduism (2015), When the World Becomes Female: Guise of a South Indian Goddess (2013), In Amma’s Healing Room: Gender and Vernacular Islam in South India (2006), and Gender and Genre in the Folklore of Middle India (1996).


Annavarapu, Sneha 2020 Home is Where the Revolution Is. Economic and Political Weekly 55(2). Online: (accessed March 15, 2020).

Brown, Judith M. 2006 Global South Asians: Introducing the Modern Diaspora. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Daniel, E. Valentine 1984 Fluid Signs: Being a Person the Tamil Way. Berkeley: University of California Press.



How to Cite

Burkhalter Flueckiger, J. (2020). Afterword: Multiplicities and Intersections of Homes and Fields. Fieldwork in Religion, 15(1-2), 180–192.