Graduate Seminars (Session Three) (HT 14)

Location: OCHS Library
Speaker: Tristan Elby and Lucian Wong
Date: March 14, 2014
Time: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Deconstructing Taxonomies: How Can We Study ‘Modern Hinduism’?

Anthony King, Blackfriars, University of Oxford

The category ‘Modern Hinduism’ is often assumed to be a comprehensive and all-encompassing taxonomy, one that carefully delineates all the modern manifestations of the pre-existing religions of India. However it is far from being an innocent signifier. It is the site of significant contestation between post-colonial and Enlightenment claims to truth and knowledge. Scholars are divided on the issue of the ‘construction’ of Hinduism, but what is certain is that the study of Hinduism is in a crisis.

How can we address the issue of the validity of the taxonomy ‘Modern Hinduism’? Is there a way to give a voice in the debate to those who perhaps hold the answer – ‘Modern Hindus’ themselves? This paper will address these issues and possible methodologies of such an approach.

The idea of ahamkara in Samkhya and Yoga

Ramesh Pattni, Blackfriars, Oxford

Central to the Samkhya and Yoga perspectives is the ego and its central role in the continuation of subjectivity through grasping and ownership of experience. We look at this notion of the subject in relation to the underlying metaphysics of the systems of thought.