Conference announcement (fwd)

Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at UCL.AC.UK
Mon Nov 18 00:19:43 UTC 2002

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 16:37:26 +0100
From: Armin W. Geertz <geertz at>
Subject: Conference announcement

Call for Papers
IAHR Regional Conference
Theme: Religions in the Indic Civilisation
Organised by
Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
in collaboration with
India International Centre, New Delhi

December 18 - 21, 2003
New Delhi, India

Madhu Kishwar

Professors T. N. Madan and Robert Thurman
Phone: (91-11) 395-1190; 3942199
Submission of Proposals, Manuscripts and Other Conference
Fax: (91-11) 394-3450
Correspondence via E-mail to madhuk at

The Indic universe gave birth to four major world religions, as well as a
vast diversity of schools of metaphysical thought and religious practice.
It has witnessed dramatic and sometimes cataclysmic encounters with
non-Indic religious traditions.

The sub-continent also nurtured several persecuted religious traditions
(e.g., Jews, Zoroastrians, Bahaiis) from different parts of the world.
Within the Indic world, the diverse communities developed innovative ways
of living together that are being continuously reworked, as well as modes
of religious dialogue and renewal that often altogether bypass theological
differences. Through this process, they evolved many common cultural
symbols, socio-religious practices and codes of behaviour that facilitate
non-antagonistic coexistence among them, even while they retain their
specific identities. Consequently, the dividing lines between various
religious communities as well as between folk and classical religious
traditions have retained a great deal of fluidity and complexity.

And yet, too often, the interrelations of ethno-religious communities
living in the sub continent have been viewed in the scholarly literature
through simplistic and misleading stereotypes. It is surprising and ironic
that in contemporary India the scholarly study of religion has not become
a well-established discipline within the academic world. While many of the
highly regarded universities in various parts of the world contain
well-developed departments for the study of Indic religions, no university
in India hosts similar rigorous programmes of religious studies.  One of
the consequences of this failure is the continuing hold of misleading
stereotypes of the nature of Indic religious thought and practice.

This Conference aims to encourage rigorous secular studies of religious
traditions in India: Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, Buddhism,
Neo-Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Sikhism including their various
sects and branches.

The Conference also hopes to establish a process for bringing together on
a regular basis scholars in India who are working in the field of religion
to promote the study of religions in India as a rigorous secular

Panels, symposia and individual papers are welcome on themes that include,
but are not limited to the following, offered as examples: 1. Studies of
traditional religious texts with a special focus on:

- Notions of the common or public good; norms about accumulating and
sharing income and wealth;

- Ideal forms of gender, generational, conjugal and familial relations;

- Theories of kingship, justice and political authority; - Relations
between the divine and mortals, rulers and ruled, nature and human beings.

2. Interrelationships among religious dogmas, theologies, philosophies,
folk beliefs, and actual practices; varying concepts of the canonical in
religious traditions

3. Historical and contemporary studies of

- The growth or decay of syncretic traditions in religious texts,
practices and norms;

- The role and functions of dharmasthans, pilgrimage centres as well as
the control and management of religious institutions;

- The rise, decline and renewals of shramanic religious traditions within
Indic civilisation

4. The politics of religious conversion historically and/or in
contemporary India; Limits of religious authority within specific systems
of religious beliefs, norms, and practices for participants, dissenters
and outsiders.

5. The historical and contemporary impact of the rise of nationalism on
religious beliefs and practices, Gandhi's religion, and Hindu-Muslim
relations in 20th Century Indic civilization.

6. Special methodological concerns in the study of religions within Indic
civilization, and ways of approaching their resolution.

7. Contributions of Indic religions to cosmological speculation in 20th
century science.

Those who wish to submit preliminary ideas for major addresses, panels or
symposia to the Programme Committee chaired jointly by Professors T. N
Madan and Robert Thurman for possible selection should send a three
hundred word abstract to:  madhuk at

There will be a total of two hours allocated per session, including
presentations and discussion. Unless otherwise indicated, the person who
submits the proposal for a panel or symposium will be considered the
chair. He or she should list at least two but no more than four scholars
who make a commitment to present a paper on the topic, as well as one
other person who will respond to the panel of speakers. Each presenter
will have 20 minutes to give their paper; the respondent will have 10
minutes at the end of the presentations to make comments on the papers.
The remaining time will be devoted to discussion from the floor.

The abstracts for panels or symposia should include the main title of the
session and fully delineated subtitles for each of the presentations.

It will be the responsibility of the organiser of each of the panels or
symposia to make all efforts to assure that the scholars who will present
a paper are fully committed to participate, as well as confirm the
accuracy of the titles of the papers and the names of the participants
accepted as part of the agenda of the Conference.

Kindly furnish the following information along with the abstracts:

Designation (Prof/Dr/Ms/Mr)
Type of Presentation
(Panel/Symposia/Major address)

Mailing address and phone number of correspondent, including, if possible,
E-mail address

For panel/symposia submissions, please provide full names and mailing
addresses of all the panelists, specifying the name of the panel organiser
along with their e-mail addresses.

Last date for submission of abstracts has been extended to December 15

Final Date for Confirmation of accepted proposals: January 31, 2003

Postal correspondence:
The Programme Committee, IAHR Conference
Centre for the Study of Developing Societies
29 Rajpur Road, Delhi-110054, (India)
Fax: 0091-11-394 3450
Programme Dates:
December 18, 2003: Opening of the Conference & Inaugural Address followed
by dinner
December 19, 2003: Academic Sessions
December 20, 2003: Academic Sessions
December 21, 2003: Academic Sessions (Full Day) and the farewell dinner

Registration Fee:
Local Participants: Early Bird (July 31, 2003): Rs 500; Late Registration:
Rs 600
Foreign Participants: Early Bird (July 31, 2003): US $ 175; Late
Registration: US $ 200
Full Time Students: Rs 300
Full Time Students: US $ 75

The India International Centre, the venue of our Conference, has very
comfortable air-conditioned rooms. The occupancy rates are as follows:
Single Room: US$ 40 (without breakfast) plus taxes
Double Occupancy: US$ 65 (without breakfast) plus taxes

Programme Committee

Ashis Nandy D.L. Sheth Muzaffar Alam Rama Kant Agnihotri Shail MayaramShiv
Visvanathan Suresh Sharma Wagish Shukla

Internationa Committee

Prof. P. Kumar (Chair) Prof. A. Geertz (Gen. Secretary, IAHR) Prof. A.
Khan (Canada) Prof. Karma Oraon, Indian Association for the Study of


Armin W. Geertz
Professor, Dr. Phil.

Department of the Study of Religion
University of Aarhus, Taasingegade 3
DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
ph.: +45-89422306
fax: +45-86130490
e-mail: geertz at

General Secretary of the
International Association for
the History of Religions (IAHR)

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