Past Events 2015-16

  • At the 4th Early Hindi and Braj Bhasha Workshop-Retreat (held in Třešť, Czech Republic, from 31st of July to 10th of August 2016), Eva De Clercq led a reading group through sections of Svayabhūdeva’s Apabhraṃśa Paümacariu (9th-10th century). The workshop also featured readings of poems by the 17th century Digambara author Banārsīdās, a.o. his Adhyātma phāg, conducted by Monika Horstmann. There was much interest in the study of Apabhraṃśa from the assembled scholars, and there are plans to organize a dedicated Apabhraṃśa Workshop in the summer of 2017. 
  • At the XIVth Annual Conference of the European Association for the Study of Religion (EASR), held in Helsinki from 28th June to 1st July 2016, UGhent Jaina Studies member Tine Vekemans co-hosted a panel on contemporary Jainism with Anja Pogacnik (University of Edinburgh). In keeping with the general conference theme 'Relocating Religion', the panel convened under the title 'Relocating Jainism', and was spread over two sessions, each featuring three papers:
    • Relocating Jainism: Exploring New Frontiers, Settling New Places'
      1. Locating Jainism: Building a Jain Maharashtra' - M. Whitney Kelting (Northeastern University, USA)
      2. 'Jains in Switzerland: Establishment of a Supra-Denominational Community' - Mirjam Iseli (University of Berne, Switzerland)
      3. 'Digital Derasars: Online Ritual in the Jain e-Diaspora' - Tine Vekemans (Ghent University)
    • Relocating Jainism: Adapting, Re-appropriating, and Transmitting Tradition
      1. 'Jain Pathshalas of North America: Changes and Continuities in Contemporary Times' - Shivani Bothra (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
      2. 'Religion, Ethnicity and Citizenship: Mapping the Organisation of Contemporary Jain Identity in Britain and USA' - Bindi Shah (University of Southampton)
      3. 'Tell Me What You Eat and I’ll Tell You How Religious You Are: The Role of Food in the Practice of Jainism in India and Abroad' - Anja Pogacnik (University of Edinburgh)
  • In the Leiden Indian Philosophy Symposium. Marie-Hélène Gorisse presented `Inference and its foundation in the lineage of Akalanka. Some problems' (20 May 2016).
  • Marie-Hélène Gorisse lectured on "The debating hall in Ancient India: Buddhist and Jain theories of argumentation" as part of the MA-students' course ‘Culture in Perspective: South and East Asia’ (11th of May 2016).
  • The students of the UGhent BA-course 'Religious Traditions of India', which is taught by Eva De Clercq and devotes ample attention to Jainism, went on a visit to the Jain temple in Antwerp (4th of May 2016). During Mrs. Chris De Lauwer's guided tour, students could marvel at the architectural features, and experience the feel of the temple while rituals were performed.

        Visit Jain Mandir Antwerp 4th May 2016


  • The Permanent Training 'Religious Traditions of India', organised by the Department of Indian Languages & Cultures of Ghent University from March to May 2016 featured two lectures on Jainism by UGhent Jaina Studies researchers. Tillo Detige spoke on "Fanatics vs. Pacifists? Rethinking the fortunes of Digambara Jainism under Muslim rule" (12th of April); and Tine Vekemans on "Tradition & Technology - Resisting and Embracing Media Innovation in South Asian Religious Contexts" (19th of April). In her contribution to the lecture series, Monika Horstmann (Universität Heidelberg) honoured the long tradition and current flourishing of Jaina Studies at UGhent by engaging Jaina materials in her comparative look at various traditions of Rajasthan (3rd of May). Her lecture, titled "Interior Religion: A Religious Paradigm in Early Modern North India", referred to the work and thought of amongst others Banārsīdās.

       Monika Horstmann UG Lecture May 2016 Monika Horstmann UG Lecture May 3rd 2016


  • Sander Hens contributed to the prestigious, 41st Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions, held at Cardiff University, from 15th to 17th of April, 2016. He presented a paper titled “From Foolish King to Rajput Hero: Reworking the Life Story of Prithviraj Chauhan during the Delhi Sultanate Period”.
  • Sander Hens participated in the First Annual Sikh and Jain conference, held at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, from 25th to 27th of February 2016. Connecting to the conference theme "The Music and Poetics of Devotion in the Jain and Sikh Traditions", Hens spoke on “Criticism, ambivalence, and irony in Jaina Sanskrit narratives of the Chauhan kings and the influence of bardic literature".

  • Marie-Hélène Gorisse contributed to the proceedings of the 18th Jaina Studies Workshop "Jainism and Science", held at the Centre of Jaina Studies, SOAS, London, on 18th and 19th of March 2016. She read a paper on "Scientific knowledge in Jainism."



  • Marie-Hélène Gorisse presented her research `Reaching an agreement through reasoning in inter-faith contexts: A case-study on the foundation of inference in Jainism' in the Study of Religion Research Seminar, London, 12 January 2016
  • In the first term of 2015-16, the MA-courses "Language, Text & Context" taught at Ghent University featured readings of Jaina texts in various languages. Claire Maes read sections of the Prakrit Vajjālaggam with the Master students, while Marie-Hélène Gorisse included Guṇaratna's 15th cent. CE Sanskrit Tarkarahasyadīpikā in her classes. Lecturing on 'Bhakti in Jainism', Tillo Detige included the reading of and reflection upon devotional and ritual Jain compositions in Hindi.

  • Claire Maes contributed a paper titled "The Development of the Concept of Ahimsa in Early Jaina Scriptures" at the 4th International conference of the Gyan Sagar Science Foundation, held at Sonagiri, India, 5th-6th of December 2015. (Photo © Meltem Elmas)

    Meltem Elmas - Acarya Gyan Sagar & The Planets

  • This year, the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR), held in Atlanta from 21st to 24th of November 2015, saw a remarkably high number of papers on Jainism. UGhent researchers also contributed. Tine Vekemans participated in the Jain Studies Group panel on 'Jain Modernities', with a paper titled "Jain Digital Modernities: (Re)presenting Jainism in New Media". Tillo Detige presented on "Absence, Agency & Immanence: The Ritual Veneration of Deceased Ascetics as a Technology of the Self in Digambara Jainism", in the panel "Tomb and Mortuary Relic Worship in South Asia", convened by Mark McLaughlin and co-sponsored by the Religion in South Asia section and the Space, Place, and Religion group.

  • Tillo Detige also participated in a panel on "Jain Contemplative Praxis: Meditation, Mantra, & Mindfulness", at the 13th DANAM conference (Dharma Academy of North America), held in conjunction to the AAR (Atlanta, 20th-21st of November 2015). This year's conference theme was "Contemplative Studies in Dharmic Religions". Tillo's contribution was titled "Calling upon the (Un)responsive? Ritual veneration as Contemplative Praxis in Digambara Jainism."