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Lecture in Hindu Studies - David L. Haberman

Thursday, 08 March, 2018

"Drawing Personality Out of a Stone:  Environmental Possibilities in the Worship of Natural Entities in India"

How do we regard the nonhuman world?  For the past couple decades Professor Haberman has been researching Hindu worshipful interaction with natural entities in northern India that are considered to be essential forms of divinity: sacred rivers, specifically the Yamuna; trees, chiefly the pipal, banyan and neem of Varanasi (Banaras); and mountains, particularly Mount Govardhan.  Although there are distinctive features in the specific worship of these three entities, they share a significant similarity: they all employ strategies of personification.  IProfessor Haberman is particularly interested in the boundary between the human and nonhuman and the devotional tendency within Hinduism to intentionally humanize the nonhuman as a way to cross this boundary to establish and strengthen the connection between these nonhuman entities and their human worshipers.  This lecture will include the investigation of the religious worldview that informs this devotional tendency and will explore the nature of such devotional practices with the aid of PowerPoint slides.  The emerging field of Religion and Ecology examines religious conceptions of and behavior toward the nonhuman world as possible resources for conservation efforts.  This presentation will consider the worship of natural entities within Hindu practice as a possible resource for environmental conservation within India, focusing particular attention on the religious practices associated with neem trees and stones from Mount Govardhan.




McClung Museum auditorium, room MM63
1327 Circle Park Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996

Event Contact

Karen Windham

Phone: 865-974-2466
Website: Click to Visit

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