Sheleyah Courtney holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the University of Sydney, 2003. Her research over the past fifteen years has been among marginalised and impoverished women of Varanasi, a holy city in North India. She explores issues of violence, power relations, cosmology, sexuality, and gender in poor Indian urban and slum diasporic communities. Her work embraces phenomenological and psychological anthropology; and is informed by critical feminist theory. Sheleyah teaches on Indian society, culture, religion and politics as well as related subjects of gender, migration, media and popular culture most recently in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at The University of Sydney. Recently, her expertise in South Asian religion and gender relations has been called upon to write reports for use in support of LGBTI people applying for refugee status on the basis of persecution in their own countries regarding their sexuality. Sheleyah is a catlover and Bollywood movie enthusiast.
2012 - "Hindu Widows on the Margins:
Savitri the UnshackledÅakti, Goddess Identification, Violence and the Limits of Cultural Subversion in VÄrÄnÄsÄ«" forthcoming in South Asia.
2012 - "Religion and Sexuality: Writing Reports for use in the Refugee Review Tribunal", forthcoming in Expert Evidence.
2009 "Dharma." Juergensmeyer, Mark, and Helmut K. Anheier, eds. Encyclopedia of Global Studies. Sage Publications.
2008 - "Attraction, Amusement and Anxiety: Aging Women in Varanasi." Social Analysis, Volume 52, Issue 3, Winter 2008, pp 7598.
2007 - Essay (Film). "The Storm of Deepa's 'Water': From Violent Tempest in Varanasi to Glacial Account of Hindu Widowhood." in The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 18: 1 pp 115 - 120.
2006 - "Creating a Living Goddess: Status, Sacrality and Urban Contests of Desire," in The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 17: 2 pp 127 - 146.
2003 - Ph.D. Thesis in Social Anthropology: "Shaping Shakti: the Formation of Feminine Power Through the Life Cycle of Liminal Hindu Women of Varanasi."
Author's website: Sheleyah Courtney's staff page