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The programme for this year’s Spalding Symposium (slightly adjusted from the last version) can be found below. Booking is still open (follow this link: but please note that residential bookings can only be taken until Friday 6th March.

In the days leading up to the Symposium there will be two extra events that are open to all:

Public Lecture by Professor Stephen Berkwitz (Missouri State University) – ‘Locating ‘True Buddhism’ in the Modern World’ (Thursday 9th April, 5.30-6.30pm, Martin Hall, New College, University of Edinburgh)

Story of Story in South Asia project roundtable (Friday 10th April, 1.30-3.00pm, Senate Room, New College, University of Edinburgh) With project researchers Naomi Appleton (University of Edinburgh) and James Hegarty (Cardiff University), invited participants Brian Black (Lancaster University) and Jonathan Geen (Western University, London, Ontario), and other participants from the Symposium. All are welcome, but please let Naomi Appleton know if you plan to attend as space is limited. (More information on the project can be found here:

Symposium Schedule

Papers will be in the Martin Hall and refreshments in the Rainy Hall. Both are on the first floor of New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh EH1 2LX. A lift is available.

Friday 10th April

3.00-4.15pm Registration, tea and coffee in the Rainy Hall

4.15-4.30 Welcome, announcements

4.30-5.30 Opening Keynote Lecture: Professor Stephen Berkwitz (Missouri State University) – ‘So Near Yet So Far: Sri Lankan Strategies for Superseding Indian Cultural Forms’

5.30-6.30 Elizabeth Harris (Liverpool Hope University) – ‘Art, Liturgy and the Transformation of Memory: Christian rapprochement with Buddhism in post-independence Sri Lanka’

6.30-7.30 Dinner

7.30-8.30 Jessie Pons (Ruhr Universität Bochum) – ‘Visual Dialogues:
 The Archaeology of Inter-Religious Encounters in Pre-Modern India’

Saturday 11th April

9.00-10.00 Jonathan Geen (Western University, Ontario) – ‘Dialogue through Myth: Jain Forays into ‘Hindu’ Mythology’

10.00-11.00 Brian Black (Lancaster University) – ‘In dialogue with Krishna, in dialogue with the Bhagavad Gita

11.00-11.30 Tea and coffee

11.30-1.00 Postgraduate papers:

James Morris (St Andrews University) – ‘Hinduism and Japanese Religion’

Anja Pogacnik (University of Edinburgh) – ‘The Changing Marital and Familial Lives of Leicester Jain Women’

Lucian Wong (University of Oxford) – ‘Bhadraloka and Brāhmaṇical Polemics Against Vaiṣṇava Deviance’

1.00-3.30 Lunch and free time to explore the city

3.30-4.30 Martin Fárek (University of Pardubice, Czech Republic) – ‘Christian or Colonial? Debates about the Nature of Inter-Religious Dialogue in Nineteenth Century India’

4.30-5.30 Deborah Nadal – ‘Cows under crossfire: Interreligious debate on the economic exploitation of Indian cattle’

5.30-6.00 Tea and coffee

6.00-7.00 Keynote Lecture: Professor Uma Chakravarti (National Fellow, Indian Council of Historical Research) – ‘Contentious Dialogues: Three Moments From an Argumentative Past’

7.00-8.30 Reception and dinner in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Spalding Symposium

Sunday 12th April

9.00-10.00 Lisa Wessman Crothers (College of Wooster, USA) – ‘Testing the Good Woman: Dialogue, Deception, and the Marriage of Amarā in the Bodhisattva Career’

10.00-11.00 Nathan McGovern (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) – ‘Brahmanical vs. Non-Brahmanical: Rethinking a Fundamental Dichotomy in Early South Asian Religion’

11.00-11.30 Tea and coffee

11.30-12.30 Hephzibah Israel and Matthias Frenz (University of Edinburgh) – ‘Dialogue and Narrative: Negotiating Religion, Language and Identity in Conversions to Christianity in South India’

12.30-1.00 Closing discussion

1.00-2.00 Lunch, followed by departure

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