Monthly Archives: January 2016

Conference news

After a successful New Delhi workshop in December 2015 the project team have a panel at the 24th ECSAS (European Conference on South Asian Studies)  at the University of Warsaw from 27 to 30 July 2016.

Keep up to date with all our conference news here.

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Translation and Religion: Interrogating Concepts, Methods and Practices

University of Edinburgh, 1-3 September 2016

What is the relationship between ‘translation’ and ‘religion’? While all ‘religions’ travel and engage in translation of one kind or another, what gets translated? How do the different components of what is currently understood as ‘religion’—texts, practices, experiences, inner faith or belief systems—translate differently? How can we analyze such commonly held beliefs that some languages simply are sacred and should not be translated? And what are the implications of such questions for understanding religious conversion? What can translation concepts and methods tell us about the way religions and the study of religions are constructed?

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Narratives of Transformation: Language, Conversion, and Indian Traditions of ‘Autobiography’

Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, December 14-15, 2015

The project team organised an intensive workshop examining traditions of life writing in Indian languages in December 2015. The workshop’s theme on the articulation and representation of ‘self-transformation’ across a range of texts and language traditions gave us the opportunity to embed the project’s focus on conversion accounts in a wider comparative context. There was an enthusiastic response to our Call for Papers from scholars in India working on specific autobiographical texts exploring various kinds of transformation, including the perceived self-transformation engendered by religious conversion.

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Narrating Self-transformation: The inexpressible and the inexplicable

What elements of a ‘life’ can be captured in narrative and conversely how do narratives handle the ‘unspeakable’?

In several of the autobiographical narratives we discussed at the Delhi workshop, we noticed the palpable presence of emotion, challenging us to examine the function of the ‘affective’ in narratives of transformation. At various points, narrators are overcome by doubt, fear, anger, remembered pain, shame or even disgust. Accompanying these emotionally charged moments, we noticed references to the inexplicable: ‘sins,’ ‘miracles,’ ‘tears,’ ‘prayers,’ even ‘physical illness.’ These moments of pain, recollected through narrative, connecting reason and the irrational, associating the body,

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