Reading Groups

Religious Genealogies of Contemporary South Asia Reading Group (RGCSA-RG, formerly: The Hindu Studies Reading Group)


RGCSA-RG, 2014-15

Organizer and chair: Christoph Emmrich


Robert Levy’s Mesocosm, Read With or Against Benjamin’s Arcades Project
Hosted by the Department for the Study of Religion, supported by the Centre for South Asian Studies
Room JHB 319, time 2-4pm


You are invited to join a discussion of the “poetic imagination” of the city as proposed by one of the most creative and influential anthropologists of Nepal in his defining monograph on the Kathmandu Valley town of Bhaktapur. As we grapple with how to Bhaktapurians their city appears, in Levy’s words, “both strange and true”, participants will be encouraged to take Benjamin’s fragmented project on Paris as a companion to wonder about the phantasmagorical character of the city as inventory and to imagine what it would be like to be a flâneur in Bhaktapur.



Session 1: October 16, 2014, Introduction and Part One, Orientations and Contexts

Session 2: November 13, 2014, Part Two, The Construction of the Mesocosm (I), ch. 1-8

Session 3: January 8, 2015, Part Two, The Construction of the Mesocosm (II), ch. 9-13

Session 4: March 19, 2015, Part Two, The Construction of the Mesocosm (III), ch. 14-16

Session 5: April 2, 2015, ch. 17 and Mesocosmic Paris or the Arcades of Bhaktapur


You can find Mesocosm online here.


For having this reading group accredited as an independent reading course and for all other information, please contact Christoph Emmrich at



The Hindu Studies Reading Group, 2012/13
Chair: Srilata Raman


Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe. An Essay in Understanding


Fri, Oct. 5, 2012, JHB 214, 9-11 am: chapters 1-10, India in the History of European Self-Understanding


Fri, Nov. 2, 2012, JHB 318, 9-11 am: chapters 11-16, The Indian Tradition and the Presence of Europe (part 1)


Thu, Jan. 17, 2012, JHB 317, 9-11 am: chapters 17-20, The Indian Tradition and the Presence of Europe (part 2)


Fri, Feb. 15, 2012, 8-11 am: chapters 21-24, Appendices. Illustrations and Reflections



The Hindu Studies Reading Group, 2011/12
Chair: Arti Dhand; organization: Eric Steinschneider


Johannes Bronkhorst, Greater Magadha



The Hindu Studies Reading Group, 2010/11

Chair: Christoph Emmrich


Michael Witzel, Selected Articles


Session 1: November 4, 2010, JHB 318: Linguistics


(1) Tracing the Vedic Dialects. In: Colette Caillat (ed.), Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes. Paris, 1989, 97-265

(2) The Languages of Harappa (Early linguistic Data and the Indus civilization). In:  J. Kenoyer  (ed.) Proceedings of the Conference on the Indus Civilization, Madison 1998

(3) Substrate Languages in Old Indo-Aryan (Rgvedic, Middle and Late Vedic), EJVS Vol. 5,1, Aug. 1999, 1-67

(4) Linguistic Evidence for Cultural Exchange in Prehistoric Western Central Asia. Philadelphia: Sino-Platonic Papers 129, 2003


Session 2: December 2, 2010, JHB 318: History


(1) On Indian historical writing: The case of the Vamsavalis. Journal of the Japanese Association for South Asian Studies, No. 2, 1990, p.1-57

(2) Rgvedic history: poets, chieftains and politics. In: Language, Material Culture and Ethnicity. The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia, ed. G. Erdosy, Berlin/New York (de Gruyter) 1995, 307-352

(3) Early Indian History: Linguistic and Textual Parameters. In: Language, Material Culture and Ethnicity. The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia, ed. G. Erdosy, Berlin/New York (de Gruyter) 1995, 85-125.

(4) “Early Sanskritization. Origins and development of the Kuru State”. In: Recht, Staat und Verwaltung im klassischen Indien. The State, the Law, and Administration in Classical India. B. Kölver (ed.). München : R. Oldenbourg 1997, 27-52


Session 3: February 10, 2011, JHB 318: Literatures and religion
(1) “The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools: The Social and Political Milieu.” In: Inside the Texts, Beyond the Texts. New Approaches to the Study of the Vedas. Harvard Oriental Series. Opera Minora, vol. 2. Cambridge 1997, 257-345

(2) How to Enter the Vedic Mind? Strategies in Translating a Brahmana text. In: Translating, Translations, Translators From India to the West. (Harvard Oriental Series, Opera Minora, 1) Cambridge : Harvard Oriental Series 1996

(3) The Rgvedic Religious System and its Central Asian and Hindukush Antecedents. In: The Vedas: Texts, Language and Ritual. A. Griffiths & J.E.M. Houben (eds.). Groningen: Forsten 2004: 581-636

(4) The Vedas and the Epics: Some Comparative Notes on Persons, Lineages, Geography, and Grammar. In: P. Koskikallio (ed.) Epics, Khilas, and Puranas. Continuities and Ruptures. Proceedings of the Third Dubrovnik International Conference on the Sanskrit Epics and Puranas. September 2002. Zagreb: Croatian Academy of Sciences and the Arts 2005: 21-80


Session 4: March 10, 2011, JHB 318: Indus inscriptions and Indocentrism


(1) with Steve Farmer, Horseplay in Harappa. Frontline, Oct. 10, 2000

(2) with Steve Farmer and Richard Sproat, The Collapse of the Indus-Script Thesis: The Myth of a Literate Harappan Civilization, EVJS, vol. 11 (2004), issue 2 (Dec)

(3) Indocentrism: Autochthonous Visions of Ancient India. In: The Indo-Aryan Controversy : Evidence and Inference in Indian History. Edwin F. Bryant and Laurie L. Patton (eds.). London & New York : Routledge, 2005: 341-404

(4) Hindutva View of History. Rewriting Textbooks in India and the United States (with K. Visvesvaran, Nandini Majrekar, Dipta Bhog, and Uma Chakravarti). Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. 10th Anniversary edition. Winter/Spring 2009, 101-112



The Hindu Studies Reading Group, 2009/10
Chair: Ajay Rao


Sheldon Pollock, The Language of the Gods in the World of Men


Thu, Oct. 15, 10 am – 12 pm


Thu, Dec. 19, 10 am – 12 pm


Thu, Jan. 7, 10 am – 12 pm


Thu, Mar. 4, 10 am – 12 pm


All meetings: JHB 317


The discussions culminated in a roundtable session in Spring 2010 with two of Pollock’s former students, Professor Yigal Bronner of the University of Chicago and Professor Lawrence McCrea of Cornell University, sponsored by the Department of Language Studies, UTM.