Inaugural workshop for the Body and Embodiment in the Middle Bengali Imaginary project

Body and Embodiment in the Middle Bengali Imaginary” is an exciting new research project in the field of Bengali religion and literature co-directed by Dr Robert Czyżykowski (Jagiellonian University) and Dr Lucian Wong (OCHS). This 2-year project, which was recently awarded a € 50,000 grant by Jagiellonian University’s Strategic Program Excellence Initiative, aims to bring a varied team of specialists together to examine how ideas of the body and embodiment take shape in premodern Bengal’s rich and multi-religious corpus of vernacular literature.

The project held its inaugural workshop, funded by the OCHS, on 16-18 January 2023 at the Institute of Religious Studies at Jagiellonian University. Participants presented preliminary papers examining the theme of the body and embodiment in such diverse religious currents as Sufism, Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism, Śāktism, regional epic literature, hāṭha-yoga, and tantra.

Over the next 2 years, this working group will continue to develop these papers through monthly virtual meetings, an EASR conference panel, and a second workshop in Krakow in spring 2024. The project will culminate in an Open Access volume of critical essays and translations, which will make some of this fascinating premodern Bengali body-discourse available in the English language for the first time.  

Workshop participants (in the order of presentation):

  • Joel Bordeaux (Leiden University)
  • Keith Cantu (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg)
  • Rebecca Manring (Indiana University Bloomington)
  • Mriganka Mukhopadhyay (University of Amsterdam)
  • Naba Gopal Roy (Sidho-Kanho-Birsha University)
  • Ayesha Irani (University of Massachusetts)
  • Lucian Wong (Oxford Center for Hindu Studies)
  • Robert Czyżykowski (Jagiellonian University)
  • Ishan Chakrabarti (University of Chicago)

For more info about the project, click here