Vol. 14 No. 2 (2006): Journal of Vaishnava Studies
Journal of Vaishnava Studies

The essays collected here first came together at a conference entitled “Epic Constructions: Gender, Myth and Society in the Mahåbhårata,” held at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, from the 7th to the 9th of July 2005. This conference was arranged as part of a three-year Arts and Humanities Research Council project of the same name, currently running in the Department of the
Study of Religions at SOAS. It brought together fifty-five scholars from many different parts of the globe, predominantly Europe and North America. Twenty-four research papers were presented and discussed, in addition to a keynote address delivered by James Fitzgerald of the University of Tennessee; and a closing plenary session reprised the principal threads discussed and took stock for the future. Most of the papers focused exclusively on the Sanskrit Mahåbhårata and employed a text-critical methodology to illuminate the text in terms of its historical context or in terms of its own internal logic. Some papers considered more recent Mahåbhårata (or Mahåbhårata-inspired) texts or, using an anthropological
approach, explored the integration of Mahåbhårata characters into localised religio-political structures in the present day.