Workshop 'The Mahabharata in Modern Intellectual History: Perspectives from South Asia, Europe, and East Asia'


Dear colleagues,

I am delighted to announce the workshop, 'The Mahabharata in Modern Intellectual History: Perspectives from South Asia, Europe, and East Asia', organized as part of the event series 'Global Intellectual History as Political and Ethical Critique', and co-sponsored by the Interfaculty Programme for the Study of Religion, LMU. Date: 24 November. Venue: Professor-Huber-Platz, Room W 401, LMU Munich. Please find all details here:


The Mahabharata has played a momentous role in inciting the birth of political thought in modern India and Nepal, as well as in provoking philosophical reflections in Europe and East Asia. This workshop brings to the fore these modern political stakes and avatars of the Mahabharata: not by regarding it as a singular (elite canonical) text, but by seeing it as a polyvalent signifier linked to multiple written, oral, and liturgized corpora with plural and raucous lives. The Mahabharata is analysed as a locus for the production of dominant political concepts, such as relating to sovereignty and statehood, empire and nationalism, as well as a site for the manufacture of revolutionary counter-power and militant theory, particularly via female, subalternized (along lines of class, caste, and community), and minority voices. The Mahabharata is studied for the ways in which it has enunciated lordship, possession, violence, and agonism, as well as for the manner in which it has inspired new democratic and decolonial horizons, and even practices of insurgent gathering. Further, the workshop intervenes within recent debates in global intellectual history by positing new optics for bridging transregional discursive width with the rigour of deep sight that transtemporal orientation demands.