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