During the current pandemic almost all academic conferences have been canceled or postponed. In my own case, for instance, I was planning to have a busy April and May. I was supposed to present on women philosophers in ancient India last week at a student workshop at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, I was planning to present on impermanence in Buddhist philosophy at the History of Philosophy Society Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah this weekend, and I was scheduled to present on Ratnakīrti’s arguments about other minds at the East-West Philosophers’ Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii in late May. All of these events have been canceled or rescheduled, and wisely so given the current global pandemic.
I was lucky to receive an invitation from Oren Hanner, whom I had met at a workshop on Buddhism and skepticism in Hamburg in 2017. He invited me to present on April 10 on Nāgārjuna for his Buddhist Philosophy course at the University of California, Berkeley. I spoke to his students (via Zoom) about the skeptical of interpretation of Nāgārjuna from my 2018 book Three Pillars of Skepticism in Classical India: Nāgārjuna, Jayarāśi, and Śrī Harṣa. I’ve been missing philosophy conferences, so it was great to interact with these excellent students. Unfortunately we didn’t document the event via photo or video, so you will have to accept our testimony (whether this is a pramāṇa I will let readers decide).
I share all this not merely to inform the blog’s readers of my erstwhile plans and recent online interactions, but I’m hoping we might use this space to share examples for how we as scholars and teachers of Indian philosophy are proceeding during the present worldwide crisis as well as ideas for how we might move into the future.
Are you making use of new technologies to present your work and share ideas with others?
Are there any upcoming online conferences or other online activities you’d like to share with readers of this blog?
How has the pandemic affected your ability to do your research?
What other conferences and events have been canceled? Are there plans to reschedule?
What would you like to see on this blog? What would be most helpful to the field and to a general audience at this time?
Lastly, I hope that you, dear reader, are staying healthy and safe and are as well as can be expected given our difficult circumstances. The intellectual traditions of South Asia often discuss concepts such as loving kindness, compassion, and wisdom, which are all things I think the world could use right now. Take care.