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‘The Lord’s Own Temple-Museum:’ Memory, Myth, and Monuments in Swaminarayan Hinduism
October 19, 2013 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
A lecture with Cynthia Packert (Christian A. Johnson Professor and Chair, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont).
On Saturday, October 19th, Cynthia Packert will be giving an afternoon talk at UF’s Harn Museum of Art.
In this richly illustrated lecture, Cynthia Packert discusses the background and significance of a recently-established museum in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. It is dedicated to the memory of and glorification of a religious leader and social reformer known as Sahajanand Swami, or most popularly, as “Bhagwan –or Lord– Swaminarayan” who, in the late 18th and the first quarter of the 19th century, made a significant positive social and religious impact in the state of Gujarat.
Professor Packert will review the early history of the art and architecture of the Swaminarayan sect and will examine the contemporary importance of preserving Lord Swaminaryan’s memory in a museum setting.
Cynthia Packert is the Christian A. Johnson Professor and Chair of the Department of the History of Art and Architecture. She teaches courses on all aspects of Asian art, with a particular focus on India. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1988, and has been teaching at Middlebury College since 1989. She is the author of The Sculpture of Medieval Rajasthan (E.J. Brill, 1997) and several articles on Indian art and iconography. Her research focuses on the visual culture of Hinduism, and she has recently published The Art of Loving Krishna: Ornamentation and Devotion (Indiana University Press, 2010). Her current project is focused on new Hindu temples in India and the North American diaspora, with special attention on the BAPS Swaminarayan Hindu community. She is also working on a collaborative museum exhibition project entitled Global Ganesha: Temple, Market and Museum.