Call for Papers–Jan 8 Deadline: Religion and Ritual: Poetics and Performance of the Ineffable

South Asian Studies

Religion and Ritual: Poetics and Performance of the Ineffable

4 – 6 April, 2018

Annual Symposium

Center for South Asian Studies

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Deadline for abstracts – January 8th 2018

Notification of acceptance – January 22nd, 2018

Send 300 word abstract to all three of the following emails:,,

The symposium will focus on South Asian religious and philosophical traditions and the ways in which they bring together ritual and art to conceptualize, understand, express, as well as communicate with that which they deem as the Divine, Universal Being, the Absolute (or lack thereof) etc. The symposium is particularly interested in the idea and practice of “ineffability”, the paradox of “expressing” the ineffable, with poetics of language, plunging beyond language, with music, dance, chanting, rituals, and other ways in which the ineffable is performed and experienced – intellectually, emotionally, culturally, etc. This includes issues of communal as well as personal practices that are meant to elucidate higher states of consciousness. Because many of the elements mentioned above are prevalent in a variety of other religious and indigenous traditions, comparative/ cross-cultural/ inter-religious presentations on Inter-Asia, Asia-Pacific, and other world traditions are also welcome. Such presentations can serve to place South Asia in context and connection with other regions and to promote a dialogue among world traditions.

We invite papers from scholars from all academic disciplines, performing and other artists, practitioners, filmmakers, activists, and others with critical reflections on their scholarly work as well as personal narratives surrounding the central theme. The papers can address and problematize a spectrum of topics, from ancient to modern, from textual analysis to popular depictions, from indigenous nuances to cross-cultural homogenization, from personal narratives to politics and violence. Since the Center for South Asian Studies tries to create links and flow through its annual symposia, addressing last year’s theme of “Community Building” within this year’s topic is also welcome.

Papers/creative presentations may address, but are not limited to, the following themes:

— Philosophy of the ineffable and its cross-cultural / inter-religious connections

— The power as well as inadequacy of language to express the ineffable

— Representations of the ineffable

— Storytelling and folk traditions

— Silence

— Being, Nothingness, and in the middle of it all!

— Dance, music, chanting, and other performative practices

— Literatures, theater, and film

— Ritual and worship: meaning, practice, performance

— Sacrificial, austerity

, and other practices as means for pursuing and attaining higher/altered states of consciousness

— Intimacy with God vis-a-vis mediation through religious institutes

— Individual experiences of connection with the divine as a means of connecting with each other

— Community building

— Academic/scholarly vis-a-vis personal/practitioner’s paths to understanding/experiencing religious values

— Social strata, power structures, political strategies

— Religion, ritual, and violence

— Mental and physical health and healing practices

DEC 10 DEADLINE!! J. Watumull Scholarship


Deadline: December 10, 2017

The J. Watumull Scholarship for the Study of India provides support for University of Hawai`i undergraduate or graduate students with focused and well-developed proposals to study for a minimum of two months in India. The scholarship will support students in any field, including the professional schools and community college programs.

For AY 2017-2018, students may compete for awards of up to $5,000 each. Applications for support are due December 10, 2017. The award must be used by the end of Summer 2018.  Graduate students can undertake advanced study or research at a recognized Indian institution. Alternatively, students may conduct pre-approved independent study overseen by a faculty member at UH in cooperation with a scholar in India. Applicants should review and fulfill the eligibility criteria (see below).


  • Recipients must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • Recipients will be expected to use the scholarship to support them in a pre-approved program of courses at a reputable Indian institution or collaboration with an Indian scholar.
  • Undergraduate and graduate students from any UH campus and in any degree-seeking, professional or community college program may apply.
  • Students must earn credit for their program.
  • Awards will be made on the basis of academic merit to students in good academic standing. It is expected that students will have a minimum GPA of 2.5. Consideration will also be given to service to the community and other activities and experiences of the applicant.
  • The proposed course of study must contribute to a broader understanding and deeper appreciation of Indian culture and contemporary issues. The program does not necessarily have to be directly related to the student’s major area of study, but must be approved by the student’s academic advisor.
  • Preference will generally be given to students who 1) are not in their graduating year and 2) have had no prior first-hand experience in India.
  • At the time, the program in India takes place, recipients are expected to be continuing University of Hawaiʻi students.
  • Funding shall be used to support recipients’ travel to and from India, and their day-to-day living expenses while in India.
  • Recipients must submit a written report of their experience and research objectives that were met while in India to the Foundation Scholarship Office within one month upon their return to the United States.


How to apply

  • Applicants must submit the application form.
  • Three confidential letters of recommendation including one from the applicant’s academic advisor.
  • If students are participating in a pre-approved independent study program, the recommendation letter from the academic supervisor should include information regarding the specific requirements of the applicant’s research project.
  • A 2-3-page double-spaced essay must be submitted describing what the applicant is looking forward to achieving from the study program, the applicant’s plan of study, and preparedness to complete the project.
  • Applicants must submit a one-page, detailed budget.
  • Official transcripts from UH and any other colleges attended.
  • Evidence of in-country support or sponsorship in the form of a letter of affiliation or agreement from the host institution/scholar.
  • All the application materials must be submitted directly to

2017 Watumull Application – Form Fillable

Applicants are encouraged to contact the CSAS Director, Prof. Sai Bhatawadekar, at with any questions regarding the application process.