The panel addresses the perception and representation of relationships between religion and the environment in regional-language cultures with an emphasis on (oral) literatures and performance traditions.
The interrelatedness of religious concepts and practices with perceptions of nature and environment has been an important topic since the pioneering work of Guenther D. Sontheimer. In the age of environmental change the topic appears to be of even wider interest today, in particular with regard to how it is dealt with in different regional cultures of the Indian Subcontinent. This includes a broad spectrum of interconnected issues, such as religious sites in selected natural settings as being of particular relevance for a region (for instance, "sacred groves" or other pilgrimage places), the role of sacred plants and animals in the regional religious contexts, (oral) texts and performances. Another aspect of this topic is how it is dealt with in the often pluralistic religious culture in the regions. This includes questions such as whether there are "sacred" sites or an acceptance of the religious significance of natural settings which are shared or negotiated across the traditions, or which kinds of environments are evoked in or chosen for the performance of (oral) regional literatures. The panel invites papers studying these topics in different regions of the Subcontinent on the basis of regional languages and performances. Tentative panellists: Eric Ferrie (Paris), Irina Glushkova (Moscow), Megha Budruk (Arizona), Alexander Henn (Arizona)