Karel Werner 1925-2019

Karel Werner, the founder of the Spalding Symposium, passed away peacefully at the age of 94 on Tuesday last week (26th November). His funeral service, for those who wish to attend, will be held, according to Buddhist rites, on Monday December 9th at 2 p.m. at the New Southgate Crematorium, Brunswick Park Road, London N11 1JJ.

Karel Werner founded this symposium in 1975, and convened it for many years before passing it into the hands of others; he returned for a special symposium in 2010 in honour of his 85th birthday. Many will remember his scholarship and collegiality, and we are all grateful that he made the effort to set up an event that remains a valued place for scholars to gather and share their work.

Call for papers: 2020 Symposium

We invite proposals for papers for the 45th Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions, which will be held at the University of Edinburgh, on 24th-26th April 2020. The theme this year is “Comparison(s)”. Our purview includes both religions of South Asian origin wherever in the world they are being practised, and those of non South Asian origin present within South Asia. We welcome papers based upon all research methods, including textual, historical, ethnographic, sociological and philosophical.

Presenters are allocated forty minutes for their paper and twenty minutes for discussion, and will normally be expected to pay their own conference registration and expenses. The Symposium fee, including food and accommodation, will be in the region of £245, with a non-residential rate of around £85. Registration details will be released in the new year. Limited financial assistance may be available for early career scholars or scholars from South Asia. If your participation depends upon such support please indicate this when you submit your abstract.

We also welcome proposals from doctoral students, who will be allocated twenty minutes for their paper and ten minutes for discussion, and offered free registration at the Symposium. PG papers need not address the symposium theme, though it is an advantage if they do so.

We are delighted to announce our keynote speakers: Dr Jacqueline Suthren Hirst, who recently retired from Manchester University, will speak on “A Life of Comparisons”, and Prof. Oliver Freiberger of the University of Texas at Austin, will speak on “Comparing Religion Within and Beyond South Asia”.

If you would like to give a presentation, please send a title and abstract (maximum 500 words) to Dr Brian Black, b.black@lancaster.ac.uk, by the end of November 2019.

Booking open for 2019 Symposium

Booking is now open for the 2019 Symposium, which will be held at the Storey Institute, Lancaster, from Friday 12th to Sunday 14th April. A provisional programme is below.

As always, we offer two booking rates: residential £190, non-residential £85

We do not offer a reduced rate for students or other unwaged attendees. However, if you are a PhD student or early-career academic in the UK and unable to access institutional funding please email naomi.appleton@ed.ac.uk as there may be some financial assistance available.

The residential rate includes two nights of accommodation, in this case at the Travelodge in central Lancaster, where we have secured preferential rates, with breakfast served at the Storey Institute.

Both the residential and non-residential rates include teas/coffees throughout, dinner Friday and Saturday, and lunch Saturday and Sunday.

Please note: We regret that we are unable to issue a visa invitation letter unless you are a speaker at this event. We can provide confirmation of your booking, but this will not normally be sufficient for a visa application.

Booking this year is through PayPal. You do not need your own account to book – if you follow the link it will give you the option of booking using a credit or debit card.

Residential rate: £190

Non-residential rate: £85

 Draft programme for 2019 Symposium

Friday 12th April

2:00-2:15: Arrival; Welcome

2:15-3:30: Keynote Speaker: Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad (Lancaster University): Anger and Gender: A Sideways Look Through Rasa Theory at Draupadī and Bhīma

3:30-4:00: Break

4:00-5:00: Lidia Wojtczak (SOAS): Menstruation, Transgression and the Othering of the Female Body in the Sanskrit Tradition

5:00-6:00: James Mallinson (SOAS): Women and early haṭhayoga

Saturday 13th April

9:00-10:00: Veena Howard (California State University, Fresno): Queen Gāndhārī’s Mapping the Battlefield through the “Divine Eye:” Toward the Hermeneutic of Reversing the Masculine Gaze and Resisting Violence

10:00-11:00: Emily Hudson (Independent Scholar): Hard-Hearted Kings and Their Abandoned, Long-Suffering Queens: Gendered Aesthetics in the Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa

11:00-11:30: Break

11:30-12:00: Katie Work: (Lancaster): Gender Balancing in Vālmīki’s Rāmāyaṇa and the Adbhuta Rāmāyaṇa

12:00-1230: Joanna Gruszewska (Krakow): Dialogues between women and Brahmins in the Therīgāthā

12:30-1:00: Annalisa Bocchetti (Naples): Gender constructions in the theological dimension of the Sufi premākhyāns: a look at Usmān’s Citrāvalī

1:00-2:00: Lunch

2:00-2:30: Monika Hirmer (SOAS): Becoming the Goddess: Reimagining Gender and Motherhood in a Contemporary South Indian Śrīvidyā Tradition

2:30-3:00: E. Sundari Johansen Hurwitt (CIIS): The Goddess and Her Shadow:
Gender, Menstruation, Purity, and Power in Kumārī Worship in Assam

3:00-3:30: Ruth Westoby (SOAS): Rajas: female principle of the yogic body

3:30-4:00: Break

4:00-5:00: Ofer Peres (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem): Worldly Affairs: Femininity and Divinity in a Premodern Tamil Literary Work

5:00-6:00: Simon Brodbeck (Cardiff University): Patrilocality in the Harivaṃśa

Sunday 14th April

9:00-10:00: Marzenna Jakubczak (Pedagogical University of Cracow): The motif of tree goddess and women’s empowerment in the ancient and contemporary India

10:00-11:00: Paolo Rosati (Sapienza University of Rome): The origin of the yoni pīṭha in Tantric mythology: Gender dialectic and śakti’s supremacy at Kāmākhyā

11:00-11:30: Break

11:30-12:45: Keynote Speaker: Sondra Hausner (University of Oxford): Gender, Ritual, and Hierarchy: Ascetic Inversions at the Great Indian Kumbh Mela

12:45-1:00: Closing Remarks

1:00-2:00: Lunch, then departure

Call for papers, 2019 symposium

We invite proposals for papers for the 44th Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions, which will be hosted by Lancaster University, 12-14 April 2019.
The theme this year is ‘gender’. Our purview includes both religions of South Asian origin wherever in the world they are being practised, and those of non South Asian origin present within South Asia. We welcome papers based upon all research methods, including textual, historical, ethnographic, sociological and philosophical.
Presenters are allocated forty minutes for their paper and twenty minutes for discussion, and will normally be expected to pay their own conference registration and expenses. The Symposium fee, including food and accommodation, is predicted to be £190, with a non-residential rate of £85. Registration details will be released in the new year. Limited financial assistance may be available for early career scholars or scholars from South Asia. If your participation depends upon such support please indicate this when you submit your abstract.
We also welcome proposals from doctoral students, who will be allocated twenty minutes for their paper and ten minutes for discussion, and offered free registration at the Symposium (including accommodation). Doctoral student papers do not have to address the theme of gender, but are more than welcome to do so.
We are delighted to announce our keynote speakers and their provisional paper titles:
  • Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, Fellow of the British Academy and Distinguished Professor of Comparative Religion and Philosophy at Lancaster University: ‘Anger and Gender: A Sideways Look Through Rasa Theory at Draupadī and Bhīma’
  • Sondra Hausner, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oxford: ‘Gender, Ritual, and Hierarchy: Ascetic Inversions at the Great Indian Kumbh Mela
If you would like to give a paper, please send a title and abstract (maximum 500 words) to Dr Brian Black, b.black@lancaster.ac.uk, by Friday 16 November 2018.

Plans for 2019 and 2020 Symposia

After having an excellent time in Durham this past spring, we have provisional details for 2019 and 2020:

The 2019 Symposium will take place in Lancaster, 12th-14th April, with the theme of Gender. A call for papers will be circulated in August, and further details will be posted on the website.

The 2020 Symposium will be held in Edinburgh, dates tbc (but in April sometime), with the theme of Comparison(s).

After these two symposia, we will be looking for a new person (or people) to take on the running of the symposium. If anyone is interested in becoming the convenor, secretary or treasurer from 2020, or in finding out more about these roles, please let me know: naomi.appleton@ed.ac.uk.