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CHiTra Mela II

CHiTra Mela 1 Participants
CHiTra Mela I Participants

The Center for the Study of Hindu Traditions (CHiTra),
The Department of Religion, and the Office of the Vice-President for
Research at the University of Florida present:

CHiTra Mela II

Research and Pedagogy in South Asia and Global Hindu Traditions:

A Symposium for Faculty and Graduate Students in Florida

February 10, 2018 9:00AM-6:30PM

February 11, 2018 9:00AM-12:30PM

216 Anderson Hall, University of Florida


Keynote Speaker:

Professor Philip Lutgendorf

Professor of Hindi and Modern Indian Studies, University of Iowa

Philip Lutgendorf is Professor of Hindi and Modern Indian Studies and has taught in the University of Iowa’s Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literature since 1985. His book on the performance of the Hindi Ramayana, The Life of a Text (1991) won the A. K. Coomaraswamy Prize of the Association for Asian Studies. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship for research on the popular Hindu deity Hanuman, which appeared as Hanuman’s Tale, The Messages of a Divine Monkey (2007). His interests include epic performance traditions, folklore and popular culture, and mass media. He maintains a website devoted to Hindi popular cinema, a.k.a. “Bollywood” ( His research on the cultural history of “chai” was supported by a Fulbright-Hays Senior Overseas Research Fellowship (2010-11). He is presently translating the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas, in seven dual-language volumes, for the Murty Classical Library of India ( He has served, since 2010, as President of the American Institute of Indian Studies (


  • Iqbal Akhtar ( Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies, Florida International University, Visiting Fellow at Africa Studies Centre and International Institute for Asian Studies in Leiden and Professeur Invité at l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales (IISMM))
    • “The Tamil Nur Nama (Book of Light)”
  • Kanchana Krishnan Ayyar (Author)
    • “The Challenges in the Genre of Historical Fiction”
  • Muttaki Bin Kamal (Graduate Student, Florida International University)
    • “Differing Functionality and Forms of Shiva”
  • Yudit Kornberg Greenberg (George and Harriet Cornell Endowed Professor of Religion; Director, Jewish Studies Program; Co-Director, Center for India and South Asia, Rollins College)
    • “The formative role of Jewish Indian women in Bollywood and their influence on gender roles in 20th Century India”
  • Sucheta Kanjilal (Assistant Professor of English and Writing, University of Tampa)
    • “The Goddess Trope as Paradox”
  • Gil Ben-Herut (Assistant Professor of South Asian Religions, Department of Religious Studies, University of South Florida)
    • “Digital Asia: Developing the Connected Bhakti Bibliographies Database”
  • Michael Fiden (Graduate Student, University of South Florida)
    • “Subsuming a Tradition: Māheśvaras in the Siddhāntaśikhāmaṇi”
  • Dustin Shane (Graduate Student, University of Florida)
    • “Siva in the Ramacaritamanasa”
  • Bhakti Mamtora (Graduate Student, University of Florida)
    • “Vato as a Genre in 19th-century Western India”
  • Josh McKinley (Graduate Student, University of Florida)
    • “Examining the Significance of Natatur Ammal and the Prapanna Parijata”
  • Venu Mehta (Graduate Student, University of Florida)
    • “From Romantic Tale to Religious Tale: Identifying Vāsudeva Hiṇḍī as Historiographic Metafiction; and its Repletion with Jaina Belief”
  • Roland Mullins (Graduate Student, Florida State University)
    • “The Atharvaveda and its Connection to Tantric Vidyā: Reception in Literature and Ritual Manuals”
  • Deepa Nair (Assistant Professor, History, University of Central Florida)
    • “Finding Women’s Voices in Indian Textbooks”
  • Prea Persaud (Graduate Student, University of Florida)
    • “From Kala Pani to Gangadhara: Creating a Hindu Pilgrimage in Trinidad”
  • Madelyn P. Ramachandran (Graduate Student, University of South Florida)
    • “Living Tradition through Pilgrimage: Kedarnath and the Mahabharata in Contemporary India”
  • Priyanka Ramlakhan (Graduate Student, University of Florida)
    • “Hindu Cremation and the Politics of Resistance in Trinidad”
  • Ian Reed (Graduate Student, Florida State University)
    • “Ritual Communities: Religious Co-Participation in Durga Puja and Murharram Celebrations”
  • Rodney Sebastian (Graduate Student, University of Florida)
    • “Mapping the Manipuri rāsalīlā: Theme, Ritual and Structure”
  • Padma Sugavanam (Professional Musician and Independent Scholar (Sanskrit))
    • “Female Narratives in the Musical Compositions of Annamacharya”
  • Steven Vose (Bhagwan Mahavir Assistant Professor of Jain Studies, and Director of the Jain Studies Program, Department of Religious Studies, Florida International University)
    • “A Fifteenth-century Collection of Jain kathās on women’s śīla in Old Gujarati”
  • Albert Kafui Wuaku (Associate Professor, Ethnography and African/African Diaspora Religions, Graduate Program Director, Department of Religious Studies, Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, Florida International University)
    • “We see ourselves in Veera and Kumkum Bhagya”: Indian Soap Operas in Ghana and Ghanaian Viewers”

CHiTra Mela 1 Picture Gallery