Joseph W. Elder Keynote Lecture

Each year, the conference chair invites a distinguished scholar or expert on topics related to South Asia to attend the Annual Conference on South Asia and deliver the keynote lecture on Friday night.

Previous Joseph W. Elder Keynote Lecturers here.



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Wendy Doniger

Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions

University of Chicago

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The Kautilyan Kamasutra:
Sex and Politics in Ancient India
 

The influence of the textbook of politics (the Arthashastra) on the textbook of sexuality (the Kamasutra) is deep and pervasive, most evident in the high incidence of distrust, betrayal and force in sexual relationships. And the subsequent influence of the Kamasutra upon not only the erotic literary traditions of India but the eroticism of the bhakti tradition accounts in part for the darkness of that tradition, its emphasis on divine abandonment, betrayal, and even violence.

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About the Speaker

Wendy Doniger (Ph. D., Harvard University; D. Phil., Oxford University) is the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago and the author of forty books, most recently The Woman Who Pretended to Be Who She Was, The Hindus:  An Alternative History, On Hinduism, and Hinduism in the Norton Anthology of World Religions.