University of Wisconsin–Madison


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.

Rachel McDermott

Friday, October 12
6:45 pm – 7:45 pm
Wisconsin Ballroom

“The Unexpected Journeys of Omar Khayyam, and What Some of Them Mean”

Rachel McDermott is Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures and specializes in South Asia, especially India and Bangladesh. She received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1981, her M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School in 1984, and her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1993. Her research interests focus on Bengal, in eastern India and Bangladesh; she has published extensively on the Hindu-goddess-centered religious traditions from that part of the subcontinent and is now involved in a research project on Kazi Nazrul Islam, both the “Rebel Poet” of India and the National Poet of Bangladesh. She is also committed to the study of comparative religion, and teaches comparative courses in which important religious themes are traced across cultures.