January Talks in India

Apologies for the long absence from posting. As academics we are all to familiar with the amount of work from all sorts of places that gets piled on. I wanted to kick this post off by picking up on Malcolm’s post about India, especially the conference at RMIC.

First I wanted to note that the conference at the RMIC in Kolkata, which focused on Mind, Knowledge, and Reality, was the first in a series of conferences that I and Jay are aiming to organize together. It is important to note that both the topics and methodology of the first conference are not at all indicative of a research paradigm of content or method. The central goal that Jay and I have as a vision for having a conference at RMIC every year or every other year in January is to focus on cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary engagement. Sometimes that might look more like analytic philosophy + Nyāya, something we might all be a little tired of, other times it might look like phenomenology + buddhism. For example, for the next conference we are considering having the discussion be on : Attention, Causation, and Suffering. Where we focus on phenomenological accounts of attention and suffering in relation to classical Indian philosophical accounts of attention and suffering while discussing causation in psychiatry and Indian philosophy. And I can easily imagine future conferences that aim simply to discuss issues about the history of Indian philosophy, Sanskrit studies, and continental philosophy. The aim is to get people from different cultural zones of philosophy to engage with other disciplines and each other with the hopes of having an enlightening conversation that showcases new work across various levels, from novice to expert.

Second I wanted to note that although we are trying our hardest to have a regular spot in India, such as the RMIC, we are open to other centers in India for future conferences. On this very trip I made it out to Kerala, to the Sree Sankaracharaya University of Sanskrit. I also think this is a great place to hold a conference, and then head either to the ocean or the mountains of Kerala.

Third, I want to use Indian philosophy blog comments thread or perhaps an email list to construct a conversation with other scholars working in the area about: (i) what topics would be of interest to them for a conference in India? (ii) what locations in India would be interesting? (iii) what dates are best in January for going to India?

I am attaching a short video: https://youtu.be/6EJ3PLEMd6k

In case you want to get a sense of some of the places I went and what it was like.  I went to Santiniketan as well to give a talk, and I also believe this would be an inspirational place for a conference.

Glad to be back. Will be posting more soon!



3 thoughts on “January Talks in India

  1. That is a nice post. Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit at Kalady is a good place. You can also consider Dehradun. The Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh can also be a nice location.
    A conference bringing together different philosophers of religion from across the globe would be nice.

  2. Many thanks for asking and sorry for the long delay in answering.
    I think the idea of conferences in India is great and your focuses (Nyāya–analytic philosophy and Buddhism–phenomenology) are more than apt for your purposes.
    Personally, I would be thrilled to also attend a conference in South India (Chennai, Mysore…) on some topic of Philosophy of Religion (say “How shall we conceive God’s body?” or “Monism and pluralism and God’s nature”). My (selfish) reasons for that would be that 1) I would like to have more chances to interact with the living Vaiṣṇava communities (many Śrī Vaiṣṇava scholars I know are often amazing scholars under each perspective) and 2) I would be happy to have a chance to combine a manuscript search with a more rewarding intellectual experience.

    • Hi Elisa

      Thanks for answering and contributing. I am quite confident that your interests line up with a lot of other people that I have talked to in India as opposed to the US. In addition, Purushottama Bilimoria who I work with a lot is very interested in such topics, and would support having a conference with that included. And I also know that Chennai is a great place to do philosophy. I personally go to Chennai every January and I think there are great venues there for a conference. Perhaps I can set up a rotation between north, south, east, and west. For example: year 1: Kolkata, year 2: Delhi or Mumbai, year 3: Madras or Bangalore, year 4: Cochin. That way people get to go to various places. In addition, if other people would like to go to smaller cities, as opposed to big cities, I might set up a polling system to find out if there is a preference for some that. Finally, I should also clarify that I am not trying to do these conferences around my interests or Jay Shaw’s interests. Rather, I am trying to get a rotation cycle for a certain kind of philosophical engagement off the ground regardless of topic, although sometimes topic does play a role in determining methods.

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