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Faculty Seminar | Considering the Soul and its Ways for the Practice of Anthropology


Conference Hall, Ground Floor, Training Centre, NLSIU


Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 4:00 pm

In this week’s faculty seminar, Dr. Atreyee Majumder will present a paper titled “Considering the Soul and its Ways for the Practice of Anthropology”, on Wednesday, March 20th, 2024. Dr. Karthick Ram Manoharan will be the discussant.


In anthropological commonsense, we often take for granted some easy theses about where the self is located and when and where and how it can be accessed by the researcher? In this essay, I reflect on Jonardon Ganeri’s examination of a corpus of religious texts of Vedic Hinduism and Buddhism and consider the question of their potential implications for anthropological understanding of the self. I use his theses based on the study of religious texts – like the Upanishadic texts from two thousand years ago that decisively shape Indic philosophy – as philosophy or theory. I take these texts to be equivalent to a Foucault, Agamben, or Benjamin, whose work would generally smoothly pass muster as theoretical tools for the purposes of theorising in anthropology. I introduce in this essay, a different axis , of what constitutes Theory for the purposes of anthropological methods, from the domain of Religion, but not necessarily religious.