Ms. Jennifer Ortegren
Specialization: Religious Study
Home institution in US: Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
Host Institution in India: University of Delhi  
Start date/Month in India: September 2012
Duration of grant: 9 months

Brief Bio:
Ms. Jenn Ortegren is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University, Georgia where she studies Hindu women’s religious practices. She received a B.A. in religion from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 2003 and a M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, Massachusetts in 2005. Following her master’s degree, she spent one year volunteering for Seva Mandir, an NGO in Udaipur, Rajasthan committed to rural development. There, she worked in the Women and Children’s development unit and first developed her interest in the differences between rural and urban life in contemporary India. She returned to India on two subsequent occasions to participate in language programs sponsored by the American Institute of Indian Studies; first to study Sanskrit in Pune and again to study Hindi in Jaipur. She has taught as an adjunct instructor at Nebraska Wesleyan and a teaching associate at Emory University. Her primary areas of research are Hinduism, women in religion and the intersections of religion and class

Ms. Ortegren’s Fulbright research project, “Women, Upward Mobility and Ritual Change in Contemporary Rajasthan,” examines the role of religion and women’s ritual practices in constructing and negotiating socio-cultural understandings of class in contemporary India. Through analyses of aesthetic, narrative and ritual performances, it will explore the ways in which upwardly mobile women who have moved from rural areas to the urban neighborhoods of Udaipur, Rajasthan are reconfiguring their daily and ritual practices in order to form new class identities for themselves and their families.