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Tropes, Territories and Competing

Over 30 scholars from North America, Europe, South Asia, and Australasia will come together for an interdisciplinary Tamil Studies conference to be held at Trinity College, University of Toronto on May 11-14, 2006. All attendees are required to register for admission.

Ram Mahalingam

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
University of Michigan

Culture, Idealized Beliefs about Gender and Psychological Well Being
Saturday, May 13, 2006 | 16:30 - 18:30 EST
* Presenter has withdrawn paper.

In my talk, I will focus on the relationship between social marginality and idealized beliefs about various identities. Based on my research in India in communities with male biased sex ratios (as a result of extreme forms of female neglect including female feticide and infanticide), I argue that social marginality contributes to idealized notions of gender such as chastity and machismo. Internalizing such idealized notions of gender has positive and negative consequences. These ideals are a source of pride and pressure. While they positively contribute to a positive sense of self, they also become a source of stress because of the pressure to live up to these ideals leading to shame and depression. In my talk, I examine the role of intersecting identities in various pathways in negotiating the stress and pride associated with the ideals. Further, I discuss the implications of this dual pathway model to study immigrant’s health.

Dr. Mahalingam’s research primarily focuses on how the relationship between social marginality and intersecting social identities shape psychological well being. He is particularly interested in the relationship between gender and immigration. His recent publications include "Essentialism, culture and power: Representations of social class" in Journal of Social Issues 59:4 (2003), and Cultural Psychology of Immigrants (forthcoming).