Webinar on Matchmaking in India: Gender, Family, and Matchmakers

Organizer: Center for Asia Pacific Studies, University of San Francisco

About the Session

  • When: March 10, 6:30 PM Pacific Time
  • Indian Time: 8:00 am ( March 11)
  • Free Session, Open to All
  • Platform: Zoom

Talk by Parul Bhandari, PhD, Honorary Fellow, Centre for Multilevel Federalism, Institute of Social Sciences, Delhi

Register Here

The USF Center for Asia Pacific Studies welcomes Dr. Parul Bhandari to share her research on matchmaking in India where marriages are typically explained using binaries of ‘arranged’ and ‘love’ marriage. Each of these categories has come to index certain ways of being in Indian society, which are then used to assess India’s path of progress and modernity. For example, an ‘arranged’ marriage invokes ideas of family dominance, tradition, intra-caste/community marriages, while ‘love’ marriages are considered to be epitomes of ‘individuality’, freedom, and modernity. Indian reality however is far more complicated than these neat binaries convey. Indian matchmaking practices and processes however are complex, contested by the various ‘actors’ involved in this process, and engage with ideas of modernity in innovative ways. In this talk, adopting a decolonial and ‘local’ perspective, Bhandari will discuss the role of two actors in this process, namely, family and matchmakers, bringing attention to how these self-present themselves as modern while keeping a strong sense of ‘Indian’ rootedness, and also discuss the gender roles and dynamics that emerge and are reiterated in these processes of matchmaking.

Parul Bhandari is a sociologist, specializing in the study of marriage, family, gender, modernity, class, and inequalities in contemporary India. She is a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Asian and African Studies, Humboldt University, Berlin. She is also affiliated with the Centre for Multilevel Federalism, Institute of Social Sciences, Delhi. Prior to this, she was an Associate Professor of Sociology at O.P. Jindal Global University and has held guest faculty positions at the Delhi School of Economics (DSE), University of Delhi, and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi. She did her MPhil and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, UK. She is the author of Matchmaking in Middle Class India: Beyond Arranged and Love Marriage (Springer, 2020); Money, Culture, Class: Elite Women as Modern Subjects, (Routledge, London 2019); and Exploring Indian Modernities: Ideas and Practices (co-edited) (Springer, 2018). She is also the Book Reviews Editor at the journal, Contributions to Indian Sociology.

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