A series of lectures about North East India

VP tartu lekt2019 m. rugsėjo 19 d. 16:30 Japonų auditorija

Magicians, were-tigers and assistant spirits in vernacular Hinduism of Assam

‘Vernacular religion’ as a category and methodological approach was initiated by Leonard N. Primiano in his research on ‘lived’ and ‘individual’ dimensions of religion, and its ambiguous relationship with the hegemonic and the authoritarian. Vernacular beliefs are often expressed in narrative forms and this storyworld is in constant variation, often contradicting the concept of stable truth. How is vernacular knowledge of the supernatural produced if there is no authoritarian control over religious discourse and even the factual data in experience narratives is subject to constant variation? The lecture addresses these problems, focusing on beliefs, magical practices and storytelling tradition in Assam, North Eastern India.

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Discussion „Why do we think that Africa has to be saved?"

Afrikos dienos 2019 intMinistry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania and the Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies of Vilnius University in cooperation with the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO and UNICEF are organising a panel-discussion “Who needs to rescue whom? Why do we think that Africa has to be saved?“.

Local and international experts will share their experience and insights on stereotypes while providing humanitarian assistance to African countries, and will discuss why it is so important to properly communicate about such activities for both donor and recipient communities.

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South Asia Research Seminar

VP Azijos seminaras intMay 10, 2019

Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies, Vilnius University, 

Hindi Auditorium

9.00 – 11.00 Session 1. Moderator - K. Garalytė

Kristina Dolinina (Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies, Vilnius University)
Institution within Institution: Guru-śişya Parampara and Changing Institutional Setting in the Context of Kathak Performing Tradition

Deimantas Valančiūnas (Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies, Vilnius University)
Evil Spirits, Black Magic and the Exorcist: Discussions on Indian Gothic

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Documentary film screening and discussion with Nicolas Jaoul

Filmas Sardarji LaukahaShot in the late 1990s, Sangharsh takes us deep into the lifeworld of Dalit Panther activists in Uttar Pradesh. One is taken on a rough trip in the slums and villages where they are spreading the revolutionary anti-caste messages of Ambedkar, encouraging Dalits to assert one's humanity, while caste humiliation, exploitation and violence remain always around the corner.

Nicolas Jaoul is a french anthropologist based at CNRS/EHESS (Paris), who has specialized on the anti-caste movement in India. He was trained in the anthropological film school of Jean Rouch. Sangharsh, his first long feature movie, was shot during his PhD fieldwork in Kanpur, during four years in the late 1990s, and edited in 2017.

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Legacies of a Jewish Past in 20th Century Ghana

VP Levi intThe lecture will discuss briefly the history of Jews in West Africa and how this history has potentially been transmitted throughout a millennium. The talk will more broadly discuss the historical method and how histories can be informed by both documented and imagined pasts.

Janice R. Levi is a Ph.D. Candidate in History at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on the history of Jewish presence in West Africa.

She began her research on this topic in 2009 and has since conducted archival and fieldwork in Ghana, Mali, Senegal, and Morocco.

The lecture will be held in English.

Lecture will take place at 15:00 on the 24th of April, in Japonų kalbos auditorija, Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies.


Lok Sabha 2019: Insights into the Indian General Elections

KG apskritas stalas 20190408As the citizens of the world’s largest democracy prepare to go to the polling booths in April and May 2019, this round-table discussion aims to understand why the upcoming Indian general elections have been named as one of the most important elections in the recent Indian history.

It will investigate how the controversially evaluated 5 years’ term of the currently ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) affected India’s social, cultural and political milieu as well as its international relations and how this could affect the 2019 Lok Sabha election results.

We are particularly interested in the current cultural, social and religious dynamics of the Indian politics and how this is felt and experienced at the grassroots level. Uniting Indian and Lithuanian scholars from international relations and area studies, this round-table discussion will attempt to provide insights into the current political situation in India and its effects on cultural, social and everyday life of Indian citizens.

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Decolonial narratives: We are not told. We tell

VP Kamal AbamadaFrom Europe to South America, there seems to emerge what we can call ‘an epistemic awakening’ which consists in advocating and implementing new forms of knowledge based on local histories and experiences.

In other words, many minority groups in Europe and in the Global South refuse `to be told’. Western-centric understanding of the world or an epistemicide of the indigenous knowledge is now being countered by theorists, artists and activists from all over the world.

The presentation will examine how some academic projects and art expressions of globally marginalized communities from different places of the world (Europe, Africa, South America) are engaged in decolonizing Western knowledge as a further step for imagining and building democratic and non-imperial post-colonial societies.

We shall see that the notion of decoloniality is gaining much success in European universities as it challenges not only the content and modes of production of Western knowledge but it also seeks to dismantle the neo-colonial apparatus still existing in former colonies as well as within the former-colonizer states, such as the United Kingdom or France.

Kamal Ahamada is an educator, traveler, and activist who grew up in France, studied in Denmark and England, and is now based in Vilnius, where he currently works as a teacher. His areas of academic interests include: Postcolonial-decolonial theories, Pedagogy of liberation, alternative education, arts and cultures of resistance, psychoanalysis and race, transgenerational and colonial trauma, solidarity politics, Africa and Middle East politic and theology of liberation.

Lecture will take place at 17:30 on 10 April, in Japonų kalbos auditorija,
Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies, Vilnius University.


Mongolian Buddhism: between continuity and change of tradition

Demchig copyAn anthropologist Dr. Lhagvademchig Jadamba, from the National University of Mongolia (Ulan Bator), will be visiting the Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies at Vilnius University (VU ATSI). As an Erasmus+ visiting lecturer, Dr. Lhagvademchig will be giving two lectures on Mongolian Buddhism from anthropological and historical perspectives. Dr. Lhagvademchig has received PhD in socio-cultural anthropology from the University of Shiga Prefecture (Japan), he has also studied Buddhism at the Central University of Tibetan Studies, Sarnath (Varanasi, India) and Hong Kong.

Lecture topics:

1 April 2019
Tibetan Buddhism or Mongolian Buddhism? History and Identity Politics of Mongolian Buddhism
(Filosofijos fakultetas, 201 aud., 17.00-19.00)

Is Buddhism in Mongolia an outgrowth of Tibetan Buddhism or could it be termed as a unique Mongolian Buddhism? Contemporary Mongolian Buddhists prefer to say it is a Mongolian Buddhism. During the socialist period of the Mongolian People’s Republic it is officially documented as Buddhism of the Mongolian People’s Republic. In this lecture, Dr. Lhagvademchig will discuss why the Mongols dissociate Buddhism in Mongolia from Tibetan Buddhism in socialist and post-socialist period within the context of identity politics and historical narration.

3 April 2019
Abbot or Reincarnated Lama? Post-socialist Dilemma in Mongolian Buddhist Institution
(Filosofijos fakultetas, 201 aud., 17.00-19.00)

During the socialist period, the Mongolian People’s Republic abolished the system of reincarnated lamas. The highest reincarnated lama in pre-socialist period was the Eighth Bogd Jebtsundamba Khutugtu (1870-1924), the first and the last temporal and religious leader of Mongolia. In the place of his religious leadership, the socialist government installed an abbot of Gandantegchenling Buddhist monastery as a head of Mongolian Buddhism.

Yet, after the collapse of socialism in Mongolia in 1990, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama officially recognized the reincarnation of the Eighth Bogd Jebtsundamba Khutugtu in 1991, whose reincarnation was banned to search by the socialist government in 1929.

Interestingly, few days before the Dalai Lama’s announcement, Mongolian monastics elected the abbot of Gandantegchenling monastery as the head of Mongolian Buddhism. Thus, a question of who is the leader of Mongolian Buddhism became unavoidable. Socialist-created abbot, a Mongolian citizen in Ulaanbaatar, or pre-socialist Jebtsundamba Khutugtu, a Tibetan refugee in India? Dr. Lhagvademchig will discuss whether this question, which emerged in 1991, has been answered by 2019.

More information: Dr. Renatas Berniūnas, el. p.


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