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Mahabharata and Classical Hinduism Seminar

Call for Proposals for November Meeting

The President's theme is an opportunity to reflect upon one of the Mahābhārata's most consuming preoccupations: violence and non-violence. Papers might address questions of practicality and philosophy, narrative and history, ethics and aesthetics, centre and margin. We invite papers from a broad range of source materials and methodologies. In accordance with the internal theme of the Seminar, we particularly encourage proposals related to structural features of the text, as well as commentaries, appendices, and adaptations.


Call for Proposals for Online June Meeting

Same as above.

Statement of Purpose

The Mahābhārata and Classical Hinduism Seminar seeks to facilitate the academic exchange so necessary to progress through a format similar to a workshop, with pre-circulated papers. This seminar will bring together philologists, Indologists, ethnographers, scholars of performance theory and practices, and generalists taking on the daunting task of incorporating India’s great epic into their coursework on Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, or Yoga. Over the course of the five-year seminar, we hope that these varied approaches will prove mutually illuminating and raise new questions. The seminar’s scope includes not only the Sanskrit text, but also dramatic and fictional retellings, regional and vernacular versions, etc. We will select papers by asking the following four questions, which will change somewhat according to each year’s topic: Does the paper shine a new light on some previously underappreciated aspect, episode, character, or form of the epic? Does the paper either represent or respond to the most current trends and arguments in Mahābhārata studies? Does the paper help to demystify the Mahābhārata, helping non-specialists who are intimidated by its length and complexity to incorporate it into their teaching or scholarship? Does the paper provide a model for interdisciplinary practice (e.g., Does it bridge the gap between philology and new forms of critical textual analysis or between ethnography and history of religions?).


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members