This event occurred on February 13, 2009
The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs
Georgetown University

A dynamic tension exists in practices of giving: while impulsive philanthropic giving allows no claims on the donor by the recipient, welfare-oriented giving transforms the recipient into a claimant with rights. These conflicting pressures on giving frame this examination of contemporary humanitarian and philanthropic practice in New Delhi, and its relation to sacred Hindu conceptions of dān (donation) in light of the response to the 2004 tsunami disaster. The February 13, 2009 talk, part of an ongoing series The Anthropology of Religion, Money and the Economy, co-sponsored by the Anthropology Department and the Berkley Center, drew upon a nexus of institutions and individuals: schools raising money for tsunami relief, NGOs delivering charitable goods, and individuals giving donations, to show how humanitarian efforts mirror larger ethical struggles about how money should be spent and tracked, how need is identified, and what constitutes a worthy recipient.

Erica Bornstein is assistant professor of anthropology at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has conducted research on philanthropy, charity, religious humanitarianism, and non-governmental organizations in Zimbabwe and India.

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