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Research Focus Group Talk: Self-Formation and Selflessness in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Tradition

3041 HSSB HSSB, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA

The sixteenth-century Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava tradition proposes a unique model of grace that decenters the paradigm of atonement and forgiveness and instead centers on forgetting and remembrance. In this Kṛṣṇa bhakti tradition, jīvas, embodied beings, occupy a unique intermediary position that identifies them both in relationship to Kṛṣṇa, the supreme Godhead, and to the material world of prakṛti. Jīvas can therefore choose to either turn toward or away from Kṛṣṇa. A person turns away from or ...

Research Focus Group Talk: Amritlal Thakkar: A Gandhian “Intervention” in the “Tribal Question”

3041 HSSB HSSB, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA

Debates on the “tribal question” constituted an important part of intellectual politics during the late colonial period in South Asia, especially during the decades leading to the Partition and Independence in 1947. Present-day "reservation" (affirmative action) policies for the "Scheduled Tribes" owe much to these debates. The “tribal question” was framed as a question that attempted to resolve how the British colonial government, and later the post-colonial Indian government, should engage groups of tribal communities ...

Research Focus Group Talk: For He Gladdens the Earth: Consent and Conjugality in the Astral State

3041 HSSB HSSB, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA

Traditional discussions of gender in Hindu traditions often begin with a critique of patriarchy in orthodox Brahmanical Dharmaśāstras, followed by a turn to potential feminist resources—for example, in goddess worship, Śākta traditions, and Tantra. One effect of this line of thinking has been a relative absence within Hindu studies of reflections on gender in relation to state power, a thematic hallmark of feminist postcolonial histories of South Asia. Geslani’s talk reframes the question of gender ...

Research Focus Group Talk: The Politics of Eros and Ecofeminism in India

3041 HSSB HSSB, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA

Herbert Marcuse (1898–1979), the German-American philosopher and political theorist who was a prominent member of the Frankfurt School of critical social theory, envisioned a new form of feminist socialism in which Eros, desire, the domain of the body and the passions, would be restored to its proper place as equal to Logos, reason. In this talk Savita Singh will explore the politics of Eros articulated by Marcuse through an analysis of the politics of ecofeminism ...

Research Focus Group Talk: Mediterranean Pathways: GIS, Network Analysis, and the Ancient World

3041 HSSB HSSB, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA

We live in a world of maps and networks. GPS enabled phones allow us to instantly locate ourselves on the earth’s surface, guide us to stores or restaurants, or announce to the world our location through social media. Likewise, programs like Google Earth and desktop Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have revolutionized our engagement with maps, map-making, and have challenged traditional notions of space and place. The proliferation of GIS technologies and the “spatial turn” in ...

Research Focus Group Talk: Land, Lineage, Embodied Practices, and the Khora of Migration: Himalayan Lives Between Nepal and New York

3041 HSSB HSSB, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA

This presentation will explore what it means for people from Mustang, Nepal, including those who have migrated to New York, to care for each other, steward a homeland across time and space, remake home elsewhere, and confront distinct forms of happiness and suffering through these movements. How do people honor and alter their shared responsibilities and senses of connection to people and place through migration? How do different generations abide with each other, even when ...

Research Focus Group Talk: The Dirt on Rubbish: What Discard Tells us about Home Life in Roman Egypt

3041 HSSB HSSB, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA

This paper explores activities of cleaning and disposing because they represent key principles of social organization. Close attention to discard behavior helps us to understand how people related to the material goods and places that once made up their object worlds – their material habitus (c.f. Meskell, 2005: 3). Human relationships to defilement, in particular, must be seen in in the context of how human identity as a rational being is established and maintained (Kristeva, ...

Research Focus Group Talk: Photography as Embodiment? Questions of Representation and Duplication in the Cult of Sai Baba of Shirdi

3041 HSSB HSSB, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA

Portraits of Sai Baba of Shirdi (late 1830s–1918) are everywhere to be seen in public space in Mumbai. Are these images sacred? According to the saint himself, historical exponents of his teachings, and many ordinary Mumbai residents, the answer is “Yes.” What does it mean to encounter divine power in a mass-reproduced image? Drawing on material from his just-released book, The Neighborhood of Gods: The Sacred and the Visible at the Margins of Mumbai (University ...

Research Focus Group Talk: Buddhism and Sexuality: A Primer

3041 HSSB HSSB, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA

Although an ascetic religion that touts celibacy as the norm (at least for the clergy), Buddhism has a lot to say about sexuality. José Cabezón’s talk will focus on ancient South Asian sources and will present an overview of what classical Buddhist authors have had to say about sex. Based on his recently published book, Sexuality in Classical South Asian Buddhism (Wisdom Publications, 2017), the talk will explore the themes of sexuality in Buddhist cosmological ...