LECTURE. Nonviolence, Magic and Snake Charming: Ambiguous Jains in Indo-Persian Sources

Data evento: 31 May 2024 Indirizzo: Online

Nonviolence, Magic and Snake Charming: Ambiguous Jains in Indo-Persian Sources (Dr. Jean Arzoumanov)

We are happy to invite you to the next lecture in our “Emerging Scholars in Jain Studies” virtual series co-organized by the Departments of Religious Studies at UC Davis and UC Riverside. The lecture will be delivered by Dr. Jean Arzoumanov on Friday, May 31, 20249:00-10:20am PDT. You will find more information about the lecture and the speaker below.

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Nonviolence, Magic and Snake Charming: Ambiguous Jains in Indo-Persian Sources

From the late 16th century to the early 19th century, Jain monks are a recurring subject in various Indo-Persian historiographical and ethnographical writings. Persophone writers generally noted the significance of nonviolence among Jain monks and laity. They highlighted their concern with protecting all forms of life and described the various practices following this imperative. In the meantime, Jains were disparaged as repellent atheists and were sometimes associated with dark magical practices, including, in one instance, snake charming. This lecture will survey the known Persian sources and analyze the contradictory perceptions of Jain communities.

Dr. Jean Arzoumanov is the Ludo and Rosane Rocher Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of South Asian Languages & Civilizations at the University of Chicago. As a historian of early modern and modern Persianate intellectual history in South Asia, Jean works on textual encounters between Islamicate and Indic cultures. In 2021, he obtained his PhD in South Asian Studies from the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3 with a dissertation on the representation of Indian sects and ascetics in Indo-Persian literature between the Mughal and colonial periods (16th-19th centuries). Building on this research for a forthcoming book, he studies the involvement of non-Muslim literati in Persian literary production, and more particularly in the development of Hindu devotional literature in Persian. In a forthcoming article, he analyzes in depth the only two known Persian translations of Jain texts, dating from 1796. His other areas of interest include the history of astral sciences in early modern South Asia, and he has published several articles on the astronomical and astrological works of Mullā Farīd and Mullā Ṭayyib, two brothers active in the early 17th century.

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