Monday, December 2, 2019 at 12:15pm
Uris Hall, G08
In this lecture, Nag Chowdhuri will explore the ways in which discourses of self-transformation create transnational communities. Centering the period of 1950s to 1980s, during which India became the land of ‘spiritual self-discovery,’ Nag Chowdhuri examines encounters and entanglements between figures, networks and ideas across eastern and western philosophy. She will provide glimpses of three modes of self-transformation mediated by the figures of Ramana Maharshi, Jiddu Krishnamurti and Osho. Nag Chowdhuri's project further makes three novel theoretical contributions: first, a theory of the figure that unsettles familiar tropes of the ‘guru’ or ‘spiritual master’; second, a rethinking of the term philosophy as necessarily constituted and mediated by the visual, oral and pedagogical; third, tracing the production of ideas in liminal spaces beyond the boundaries of a given religion, philosophy or nation.
Yagna Nag Chowdhuri is currently completing a PhD dissertation titled “Of Gurus, Enlightenment and the Ethical Life: Discourses of Self-Transformation in Modern India”. Her larger intellectual interests are in the fields of transnational spiritual countercultures especially of the 1960s and 70s, discourses of utopia, pedagogy and transmission of knowledge, and intersections between psychology and spirituality.
*Photo credit: still from film "The Razor's Edge" (1946); Larry looking up at Arunachala Mountain