Age of Vedanta: 2019 Conference

Chamundeshwari Temple
November 15-16, 2019
Stanford Humanities Center

India in early modernity (ca. 1500 – 1800) witnessed significant transformations in the structure of religious institutions and the nature of intellectual dialogue. Perhaps most significantly, the philosophical school of Vedānta rose dramatically in popularity to become the preeminent discipline through which Hindu theology would be articulated up through the Colonial encounter. Originating as a highly technical approach to scriptural exegesis, with the onset of early modernity, Vedānta displaced rival philosophical schools as the language through which competing Hindu communities articulated their distinctive identities and defended their claims to royal patronage through public debate.

As the culmination of a multi-year SSHRC collaborative research project, this conference explores how the early modern period became The Age of Vedānta. We trace transformations from the early generations of Vedānta thought through the early modern and modern periods to understand how Vedānta changed the shape of early modern intellectual dialogue and mediated competition between Hindu religious communities.

Organizer: Elaine Fisher, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies


Friday, Nov. 15th

8:30 am: Coffee and refreshments

9:00 am – 10:30 am

Gary Tubb
Anand Venkatkrishnan

10:30 – 11:00 am: Coffee Break

11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Larry McCrea
Valerie Stoker

12:30 – 1:30 pm: Lunch (Humanities Center)

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Elisa Freschi
Ajay Rao

3:00 – 3:30 pm: Coffee Break

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm   

Jason Schwartz
Christopher Minkowski


6:00 pm – 7:30 pm: Sanskrit Literary Aesthetics colloquium with dinner (Humanities Center)

Larry McCrea and Whitney Cox


Saturday, Nov. 16th

8:00 am: Coffee and refreshments

8:30 am – 1:00 pm: Śaivism text readings

8:30 am: Florinda DeSimini, readings from the Śivadharmottara

10:30 – 11:00: Coffee Break

11:00 am: Alexis Sanderson, readings from the Tantrāloka

1:00 – 2:00 pm: Lunch (Humanities Center)

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm 

Patrick Cummins
Jonathan Peterson

3:30 – 4:00 pm: Coffee Break

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Elaine Fisher
Arun Brambhatt


Event Sponsors: 

The Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, Department of History, Department of Religious Studies, Ho Buddhist Center, Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford Humanities Center, Center for East Asian Studies, Stanford Global Studies, Department of Classics, and the Philosophy Department.