Each intellectual tradition has to be grasped through a programmatic view of its full toolkit of sciences, and then through a close-grained examination of the details of one or a few of its disciplines. The Indian intellectual landscape is characterised by the complex and deeply interconnected network of various knowledge traditions – scholarly and general, worldly and otherworldly, philosophical and quotidian. The richness and variety of these traditions is further enhanced by the fact that they are found in texts as well as in practice, in Sanskrit as well as in the many regional bhāṣā-s, growing, maturing and adapting over time.

The conference aims to explore the idea of a śāstra as a unit and a mode of disciplinary thought, and the intellectual apparatus and commitments that a śāstra entails. By taking a broad perspective of śāstra as meaning knowledge-discipline, we aim to understand the formation of disciplinary traditions in all possible realms. Further, we hope to take stock of the current state of the art regarding individual śāstra-s, and to discuss possibilities to update methods of studying, teaching and archiving them.

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Bearing this background in mind, we invite papers, and proposals for panels touching upon the following themes –

Building disciplinary identities, forging traditions of thought

  • The self-description of the major śāstra-s
  • Criteria for śāstratva, śāstra-lakṣaṇa
  • Philosophical preliminaries and conceptual taxonomies of each śāstra
  • The dialectic between śāstra and prayoga
  • Histories and textual canons

Cross-fertilization between śāstra-s

  • Shared and exclusive terminologies in technical disciplines,
  • The unique genres of each śāstra
  • The major league – darśana-s, mīmāṁsā, vyākaraṇa and nyāya
  • Sheep in wolves’ clothing: Sāhitya śāstra, jyotiṣa, dharma-, artha- and kāma- śāstras
  • śāstra as śāsana – norms, prescriptions and violations in tradition

Boundaries and margins – Pandits’ śāstra, commoners’ śāstra

  • Lesser know śāstra-s: taking stock of the literature
  • laukika śāstra-s – indigenous metallurgy and rasaśāstra, ayurveda, siddha and other biomedical practices
  • Traditional arts and śāstra – texts and practice, śāstra beyond the text.
  • indigenous art forms – citra-śāstra, śilpa and vāstu śāstra-s, saṅgīta and nāṭya śāstra-s

Śāstra in other languages – lost in translation, gained in translation

  • Śāstric literature in other languages, unique disciplinary configurations seen in other Indian linguistic cultures
  • the influence of Sanskrit on other linguistic cultures – lexicon, grammar, poetics, religious literature, belletristic literature
  • Backflows : the bhāṣā-s’ influence on Sanskrit intellectual spheres

Śāstrādhyāpana – teaching and learning a śāstra in the digital age

  • New modes of śāstrādhyāpana, current pedagogical innovations
  • Innovations in curricula, textbooks, teaching technologies
  • Digital tools for representing, editing and analyzing śāstric material
  • The śāstra-s and digital humanities –tools for lexicography, epigraphy, manuscriptology, philology & textual criticism
Conference Dates
December 17-19, 2018
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