Tracy Pintchman

The Hindu Goddess Comes to Michigan: Breaking Boundaries, Making Home

The goddess Karumariamman at the Parashakthi Temple in Pontiac, Michigan

This talk explores the translocal dynamics of a North American Hindu Goddess Temple, the Parashakthi Temple, in Pontiac, Michigan. Founded in 1999, this temple serves the Hindu goddess in her form as Karumariamman, “black Mariamman,” who is a South Indian village goddess. The talk will highlight ways the Parashakthi Temple’s discursive and ritual practices fashion a type of religiosity that is rooted in Indian Hindu popular goddess traditions but recreates such traditions for the temple’s American context. The Goddess and her temple in Pontiac exemplify a kind of transcultural economy of divine power that speaks to larger types of exchanges and transformations across borders and boundaries that occur in many people’s lives in the contemporary world.


Tracy Pintchman is a professor of religious studies and director of the Global and International Studies Program at Loyola University of Chicago. Her research interests include Hindu goddess traditions, women and religion, and transnational Hinduism. Her scholarly publications include more than two dozen articles and book chapters as well as five edited and coedited volumes and two monographs, The Rise of the Goddess in the Hindu Tradition (1994) and Guests at God’s Wedding: Celebrating Kartik Among the Women of Benares (2005). Her current monograph, Goddess Beyond Boundaries: Worshipping the Eternal Mother at a North American Hindu Temple, is in process and under contract with Oxford University Press.