All events are free and open to the public

Fall Term 2016

Thursday, September 8, 2016, 5 pm
Rise of Neo-Buddhist Visual Culture: Assertion, Alternative, and Difference
Y.S. Alone, Visual Studies, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
10 Stephens Hall, ISAS Conference Room, UC Berkeley

Y.S. Alone

The term "Neo-Buddhism" is associated with the Buddhist population that were converted under the dynamic leadership of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. Dr. Ambedkar was the first person in the twentieth century India to offer a constructive critic of Imperial, Brahmanical, and Marxian discourses. The recent interest in the neo-Buddhist visual culture has focused on "how dalits express" themselves, however, the quest of the Ambedkarite movement has always been to create alternative and non-confined spaces for articulation, spaces and cultures that are expressive of the Neo-Buddhist community, aimed at changing the powers imbedded in forms of articulation. Dr. Ambedkar was himself very conscious of choosing certain forms from the ancient Buddhist tradition to create a distinct cultural identity. After his demise, there was an upsurge of the visual culture that has redefined the cultural identity in opposition to the Brahmanical cultural nationalism. Buddha viharas, statues, calendars, and many more objects have the markers of cultural assertion as a part of the social, political and democratization of society. This lecture will illustrate the rise of the Neo-Buddhist visual and material cultures, drawing examples from Maharashtra and other parts of India, along with the examples of gallery art practices, as the basis of a constructive critic of the nomenclature "subaltern" in the paradigm of discursive realm in relation to Dalit community.

Dr. Y.S. Alone is Professor in Visual Studies, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and has written on Ancient Indian Art, critic of Walter Spink, Buddhist caves, modern Indian art, Neo-Buddhist Visual culture, Dr. Ambedkar's critical frame work, he is engaged in conceptual formulation of "protected ignorance." He was nominated as ICCR chair visiting Professor in Shenzhen University, China. He has been engaged in popular lectures as part of social movement, his recently published book — Early Western Indian Buddhist Caves: Forms and Patronage, Kaveri Books, New Delhi, 2016.

Sponsors: Institute for South Asia Studies, Department of History of Art, The Asian Art and Visual Cultures working group at the Townsend Center for the Humanities at UC Berkeley, Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies, Catherine and William L. Magistretti Chair in South and Southeast Asian Studies

Event made possible with the support of the Sarah Kailath Chair of India Studies


Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 5 pm
Failed Missions: Early 20th Century Searches for Sanskrit Manuscripts in Tibet
Birgit Kellner, Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, Austrian Academy of Sciences
180 Doe Memorial Library

First page of ms of Kamalaśīla’s 3rd Bhāvanākrama

First page of ms of Kamalaśīla’s 3rd
Bhāvanākrama. The manuscript was given
to Agvan Dorzhiev by the 13th Dalai Lama,
and ended up in the Asiatic Museum of the
Academy of Sciences in Leningrad.
(E. Obermiller in Journal of the Greater
India Society,
2/1, January 1935). It was
published in facsimile in Moscow in 1963.1

In the late 19th century, scholarly interest in Sanskrit manuscripts as sources of authority on ancient India gradually came to expand to Tibet. Information that such manuscripts might be found in the land of snows transpired from reports of travelers in pursuit of knowledge on Indian literature as well as Buddhism, notably the Bengali scholar Sarat Chandra Das and the Japanese monk Ekai Kawaguchi. More or less simultaneously with the large expeditions to Central Asia led by Stein, Pelliot and Grünwedel/Le Coq, several attempts were made to organize search missions in order to catalogue Sanskrit manuscripts in Tibet — by Emil Schlagintweit from Prussia and Theodor Stcherbatsky from Russia. British Orientalists also requested that the Younghusband mission to Tibet should “collect” Tibetan literature as well as Sanskrit materials for their libraries. What do these ultimately failed missions — and the specific ways in which they have been reported and represented — tell us about the status of Sanskrit manuscripts in the early 20th century, especially of those that were suspected in Tibet?


Thursday - Friday, September 29–30, 2016
Thunder from the Steppes: New Perspectives on the Mongol Empire
180 Doe Library

Sponsors: Institute of East Asian Studies, UC Berkeley Mongolia Initiative

Thursday, September 29, 4pm - 6 pm Keynote Address
Friday, September 30, 9 am - 6 pm

The Mongol Empire orients history between Asia and Europe, ancient and modern, rural and urban, settled and nomadic, scientific and faith-based, and soteriological and aristocratic worlds. This conference invites new research on the Mongol empire in an effort to re-situate and re-evaluate the study and the significance of the Mongol empire in a global context. Organized by the UC Berkeley Mongolia Initiative.

Speakers include:
 •  Reuven Amitai, Hebrew University of Jeruselem
 •  Christopher Atwood, University of Pennsylvania
 •  Brian Baumann, UC Berkeley
 •  Dashdondog Bayarsaikhan, National University of Mongolia
 •  Michal Biran, Hebrew University of Jeruselem
 •  Bettine Birge, University of Southern California
 •  Nicola Di Cosmo, Institute for Advanced Study
 •  Johan Elverskog, Southern Methodist University
 •  Matthew Mosca, University of Washington
 •  Roxann Prazniak, University of Oregon
 •  Morris Rossabi, Columbia University
 •  Uranchimeg Tsultem, UC Berkeley
 •  Leonard Van Der Kuijp, Harvard University

Event Contact: ieas@berkeley.edu, 510‑642‑2809