This panel examines the "practice of texts" in South Asia as a way to explore the analytic category of ritual. In light of the ways texts have been and are used in South Asia, presenters on this panel will theorize the constitutive components, uses, and expectations of ritual activity.
This panel examines the "practice of texts" in South Asia as a way to explore the analytic category of ritual. Looking at the ways in which texts have been and are used in South Asian history and contemporary society, presenters on this panel will theorize the constitutive components, uses, and expectations of ritual activity. Panelists ground their theoretical investigations of ritual on specific case studies of textual practices, covering an array of locations and focusing on disparate cultural domains, including religion, medicine, and politics.
In theorizing ritual through textual practice, this panel approaches the categories of "ritual" and "text" in South Asia as indeterminate methodological fields, which frequently exist only when caught up in some form of discourse or discursive activity. Texts, for example, may be identified in multiple ways—as manuscript, image, the body, and oral narrative—while ritual may be seen in various institutions of culture—such as medicine, education, art, and religion. Panelists will employ a number of different methodologies, such as ethnography, historiography, and textual hermeneutics, and examine the efficacy of ritual and text as analytic categories to study human experience, activity, and production.