- Letter from the Editors
It has come to our attention that the article "Subverting Patriarchy through Celibacy, Renunciation, and Ritual Performance: The Kanyas of Sakori Ashram in India," by Samta Pandya, published in the JFSR Spring 2019 (35.1) issue does not conform to our standards regarding plagiarized content. The following statement is taken from our Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement:
"The Journal of Feminist Studies (JFSR) is dedicated to following best practices on ethical matters, errors, and retractions. The prevention of publication malpractice is one of the important responsibilities of the editorial board. Any kind of unethical behavior is not acceptable, and JFSR does not tolerate plagiarism in any form. Authors submitting articles to JFSR affirm that manuscript contents are original" (https://www.fsrinc.org/publication-ethics-and-malpractice-statement/).
In this case, the author of the material in question is cited, but there are no quotation marks around the material nor specific page numbers given which would indicate that specific phrasing is the work of another author. On page 30 of the JFSR article, the author uses the phrase "devotional asceticism" without quotation marks and thus without acknowledging that this phrase was coined by Antoinette E. DeNapoli to describe the practices of female sadhus in southern Rajasthan and which are documented in her book, Real Sadhus Sing to God: Gender, Asceticism, and Vernacular Religion in Rajasthan (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2014).
Furthermore, we wish to draw our readers' attention to the following sentences:
Page 30 of the JFSR article reads:
"In the performance of devotional ascetism, kanyas take the Brahmanical renunciant values of suffering, sacrifice, and struggle and selectively adjust their meanings in accord with bhakti to craft a vernacular asceticism."
Page 117 of DeNapoli's book reads:
"In these performances, the sadhus take the Brahmanical renunciant values of suffering, sacrifice, and struggle and selectively adjust their meanings in light of multifaceted bhakti frameworks to craft vernacular asceticism in Rajasthan." [End Page 7]
Page 30 of the JFSR article reads:
"They enact a divine call of duty and devotion to Upasani Baba and Godavari Mata, to one's spiritual community, and to the larger community as well as to the deities in the Hindu pantheon."
Page 118 of DeNapoli's book reads:
"Their performances comparably show that a life of singing enacts a divine call of duty and devotion to God, to one's spiritual community, or to one's guru."
In our estimation, page 30 of Pandya's article is indubitably derivative of DeNapoli's work. At the same time, the editors recognize (and state on our website) that "different regions of the world have their own scholarly sources, feminisms, styles, and standards." The fact that DeNapoli's book was cited at footnote 20 (again, without specific pages) just before this phrase and these sentences suggests that the author may not have been fully informed of the protocols pertaining to scholarly citations.
Regardless, we are deeply disturbed to have published work that is not original. We also profoundly regret this oversight of Dr. De Napoli's scholarship. Finally, we remain deeply grateful to those authors, reviewers, and readers who reach out to us to alert us to our errors and prompt us to be faithful to the high standards we have set for the JFSR. [End Page 8]