Seema Kiren Chauhan



Martin Marty Center Fellow 2020-2021

My dissertation, (Mis)Understanding Brahamanism: Representations of Brahmanism from Digambara Jaina Purāṇas, 7th-9th Century CE, examines Jaina parodies of Brahmanical discourses. I argue that Jaina narratives ought not to be ignored in the study of premodern Hinduism because they exhibit deep, sustained engagements with Brahmanical discourses that allow us to better reconstruct the historical reception of Brahmanism than if we were to confine ourselves to Brahmanical texts alone. 

The object of my research, Jaina Purāṇas, requires attention to multiple fields and disciplines in the Study of Religion. On the one hand, Jaina parodies about Hindu discourses require an understanding about the history of Jainism and the history of Hinduism. On the other hand, my study of Jaina Purāṇas requires a methodology that is attentive to the literary, historical and philosophical aspects of these narratives since they re-imagine tales from the Brahmanical Epics as well as epistemological discourses from systematic texts. With this in mind, I am excited to share join the Martin Marty Centre seminar because that I will be able to discuss my work and the challenges of undertaking interdisciplinary research in an environment that brings together candidates from diverse fields and disciplines. I aim to spend my time as a MMC fellow presenting two completed chapters from my dissertation and more importantly, refining the broader implications of my work beyond the Study of South Asian Religions such that my work is rendered accessible to those in the Study of Religion at large.