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The love-letter correspondences examined by Ahearn also provide a deeper understanding of the social effects of literacy. While the acquisition of literary skills may open up new opportunities for some individuals, such skills can also impose new constraints, expectations, and disappointments. The increase in female literacy rates in Junigau in the 1990s made possible the emergence of new courtship practices and facilitated self-initiated marriages, but it also reinforced certain gender ideologies and undercut some avenues to social power, especially for women.
Scholars, and students in such fields as anthropology, women's studies, linguistics, development studies, and South Asian studies will find this book ethnographically rich and theoretically insightful.
Laura M. Ahearn is Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Rutgers University.
Excerpted from Invitations to Love: Literacy, Love Letters, and Social Change in Nepal by Laura M. Ahearn Copyright © 2001 by Laura M. Ahearn. Excerpted by permission.
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|List of Illustrations|
|List of Tables|
|A Note on Transliteration, Transcription, and Pronunciation|
|Pt. 1||Arrivals, Introductions, and Theoretical Frameworks|
|Ch. 1||Invitations to Love||3|
|Ch. 2||Juggling Roles: Daughter, Development Worker, and Anthropologist||27|
|Ch. 3||Key Concepts and Their Application||45|
|Pt. 2||Transformations in Gender and Marriage|
|Ch. 4||Gender and Marriage over Time in Junigau||67|
|Ch. 5||Narratives of Marriage||88|
|Ch. 6||Meeting by Way of a Letter: Shila Devi and Vajra Bahadur's Courtship||119|
|Pt. 3||Love, Literacy, and Development|
|Ch. 7||Developing Love: Sources of Development Discourse in Nepali Love Letters||149|
|Ch. 8||The Practices of Reading and Writing||191|
|Ch. 9||Wearing the Flower One Likes: Sarita and Bir Bahadur's Courtship||212|
|Ch. 10||Love, Literacy, and Agency in Transition||245|