“This excellent book makes a significant contribution to religion and kinship, gender, sexuality, and South Asian studies…. Highly recommended.” — D. A. Chekki, Choice
“This is a beautifully written and theoretically engaged ethnography about a community whose past has been fraught and whose future lies in the balance. It would be appropriate reading for upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses and makes an important contribution to the anthropology of gender, sexuality, kinship, religion, and modernity in India.” — Cecilia Van Hollen, Medical Anthropology Quarterly
"We must dwell with, as Given to the Goddess gracefully does, the everyday experiences of devotion, exchange, and one’s social relationship to another—human, nonhuman, or even goddess—that make us, quite simply, kin." — Durba Mitra, GLQ
"Ramberg’s work exemplifies an extraordinary synthesis of animated empiricism and theoretical rigor. It is heartening to mark the arrival of this very important work that signals a critical departure in several ways." — Priyadarshini Vijaisri, Anthropos
"Lucinda Ramberg has written a book that charts new conceptual terrain in the anthropology of South Asia. Given to the Goddess indicts both liberal reformism and secular progressivism for their investment in an all too-easy politics of gender that occludes the power (and experience) of stigmatized sexuality. Instead, Ramberg shows how practices coded as anachronistic, or coerced, constitute the conditions of possibility for capacious, non-individuated accounts of sexed agency. This is an exquisite ethnography of the queer embodiments and ritual imaginaries by which women come to be 'given to the goddess.'" — Anupama Rao, author of The Caste Question: Dalits and the Politics of Modern India
"Lucinda Ramberg's powerful combination of ethnographic observation and theoretical reflection connects the study of a particular social group in South India (devadasis or jogatis) with general issues in anthropology and feminist and queer studies. Given to the Goddess will prove relevant to those, such as myself, who know very little about India but who are concerned with related issues in different contexts." — Éric Fassin, Université Paris-8
"The ethnographic data that Lucinda Ramberg obtained while living with the devadasis is unique. The conversations she relates bring much-needed nuance to representations of these women. Ramberg insists that anthropologists need to take the religious lives of the devadasis seriously. For scholars of South Asia, her most interesting contribution is likely her masterful rethinking of theoretical models of kinship in India."
— Joyce Flueckiger, author of When the World Becomes Female: Guises of a South Indian Goddess
"A compassionate and rigorous account of the much reviled and celebrated figure of the devadasi, Lucinda Ramberg's book analyzes the central role women's sexuality continues to play in religious and secular political orders. Rather than diagnose this as a moral problem, the author forces us to rethink how the biopolitical state has transformed both religion and sexuality in modern India."
— Saba Mahmood, author of Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject