Lecture Topic: "Writing about an Epic that Continues to Speak: Banned Books, Politics, and the Academic Study of Religion"
INFORMATION ABOUT THE LECTURE
Richman considers ethical, scholarly, and professional questions that arise when a book about a religious epic is banned by a cultural organization which claims that only one “true” interpretation of the text exists. The Ramayana, one of Hinduism’s two-preeminent epics, whose characters and plot are known to virtually all Hindus and many non-Hindus as well, has circulated in the Indian subcontinent for more than two millennia in textual form, performances, dance, and folksongs.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Paula Richman ’74, William H Danforth Professor of South Asian Religions at Oberlin College, specializes in study of the Ramayana, a Hindu epic, and Tamil, a language spoken in south India and abroad by more than 75 million people. In addition to publishing two books on Tamil poetry, she recently completed a book on 20th century retellings of the Ramayana in Tamil. She is most widely known in India for three edited volumes: Many Ramayanas: Questioning Ramayanas; and Ramayana Stories in Modern South Asia. She has received a Guggenheim fellowship and several grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Institute of India Studies.
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Photograph by Tanya Rosen-Jones ’97