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Ardhanarishvara: The Androgyne Probing the Gender Within

Alka Pande (Author)

Heterosexual, bisexual, transgendered, third gender, transsexual, gay . . . same-sex love, hermaphrodite, cross-dressing, femininity, masculinity. . . from straitjacketed definitions, some of which bear the stigma of ostracisation, the twenty-first century is finally ready to probe the challenging confusions and dynamics of the 'accepted' and the 'aberrant'.

While western perceptions have always classified human beings into either male or female, the Indian belief in the androgynous nature of humans stems from the divine concept of Ardhanarishvara - literally half man-half woman. More a philosophical construct than a social or cultural expression, the divine nature of this ideology lent it an initial acceptability. Today, however, it has emerged from the closet as a social manifestation, causing the blurring of traditional sex roles.

Does your anatomy determine your gender? Are environmental influences responsible for moulding gender identities? Is there a man in every woman and a woman in every man? What determines the 'natural' and the 'unnatural'? Is it a matter of tolerance, taboo or treading a path of realisation and acceptance that the human race is diverse and sexual expressions differ?

Ardhanarishvara-The Androgyne: Probing the Gender Within is a book that dares to challenge, question, muse over, analyse and compel you to stretch the frontiers of your mind towards the hard-hitting reality of gender expression. Thoroughly researched and appropriately illustrated, it propels you through the uncharted territory of the 'different'. A must-read for those with any genuine interest in the human race.

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About the author

Alka Pande

Dr. Alka Pande has specialized in the history of art and in critical art theory. She was Head of the Department of Fine Arts in Panjab University, Chandigarh. Her published works include From Mustard Fields to Disco Lights, a book that studied the folk music and performers of Punjab, and Indian Erotica, a serious purview of a genre often trivialized in art studies. Presently an art consultant with India Habitat Centre, Delhi, and curator of their Visual Arts Gallery, Dr. Pande also works as an independent curator and has curated a number of important exhibitions in India and abroad. She was born in Calcutta, but later acquired her academic experience from the universities of London, Delhi, Mumbai, and Chandigarh. Dr. Pande combines her study of the arts with an interest in music and dance, yoga and cooking. She lives in New Delhi with her husband and daughter.

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Bibliographic information

Title Ardhanarishvara: The Androgyne Probing the Gender Within
Author Alka Pande
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2004
Edition 1st. ed.
Publisher Rupa & Co.
Language: English
isbn 8129104644
length 189p., Photographs; Glossary; Bibliography; 33cm.