We invite paper submissions to participate in a full-day symposium at the 50th Annual Conference of South Asia, Madison - Wisconsin on Wednesday, October 19th, 2022. The theme of the symposium is “Provincializing Brahmins: New Directions in the Study of Caste in Premodern South Asia.” We especially invite papers from early-career scholars.
Symposium description: The study of caste in the premodern period has historically proceeded from the perspective of Sanskrit legal digests (dharmaśāstra) composed by Hindu Brahmins. But Brahmins never had a monopoly on defining caste. And Brahminical articulations of caste often proved difficult to put into practice. Philosophers contested the ontology of social classes, religious reformers challenged the boundaries of caste, and even Hindu Brahmins themselves came to question the practicality of strict social and religious boundaries. This symposium aims to “provincialize Brahmins” by exploring premodern constructions of caste from the perspective of texts, languages, and religions that have been neglected by the study of Hindu Sanskrit dharmaśāstra.
This symposium brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars whose research establishes a new program in the study of premodern caste. Each of our panelists examines how either an individual caste or the caste system as a whole was constructed, contested, or represented outside of Sanskrit, Brahmanical religions, and legal texts. In displacing the perspective of Hindu Brahmins, this panel explores new perspectives on the understanding of personhood, agency, and subjectivity in premodern South Asia.
If you are interested in presenting, please submit a paper title and 150-word abstract to the following link by April 30th, 2022: https://forms.gle/pNube3mePcAC2Psz7
Eric and Seema
PhD Candidate, South Asian Languages and Civilizations and
Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science
University of Chicago
Seema K. Chauhan
Asoke Kumar Sarkar Early Career Fellow in Classical Indology
University of Oxford Balliol College