WMU News

Lectures by Cambridge scholar focus on Hindu identity, influence

Nov. 10, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- A professor from Cambridge University, England, will visit West Michigan Tuesday through Thursday, Nov. 16-18, to lecture on Hinduism at Western Michigan University, Albion College and Kalamzoo College.

Dr. Julius Lipner, director of the Dharam Hinduja Institute of Indic Research in the Centre for Advanced Religious and Theological Studies of the Cambridge University Faculty of Divinity, will present "Remaking Hinduism" at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16, in Room 3508 of WMU's Knauss Hall. He will describe "Hindu Religious Identity and the Encounter of Religions" at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17, in the Olmstead Room of Kalamazoo College's Mandel Hall. He also will talk about "Hindutva: Politicization of Religion in Contemporary India" at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 18, in Albion College's Norris Hall.

During his visit, Lipner also is scheduled to lead an open discussion on religion and politics at Albion College. That event will take place at noon Tuesday, Nov. 16, in the Wendel Will Room.

In his WMU lecture, Lipner will explore the portrayals of Hinduism in the Asian Indian media, especially television and newspapers. His second lecture will address the issue of religious identity suffusing nationalist movements and the implications of different religions encountering one another. Lipner's third lecture will focus on how politics in India is being reshaped by attempts to blend the Indian identity with that of the Hindu belief and value system.

The free public lectures are sponsored by the WMU Department of Comparative Religion, the South Asia Committee of WMU's Diether H. Haenicke Center for International Studies and the Religion Departments of Kalamazoo and Albion colleges.

Lipner, who has been at Cambridge since 1975, specializes in issues of truth and dialogue in religion, the Vedantic school of Indian philosophical teaching and the religious movements of 19th and 20th century Bengal. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in India and a doctoral degree from King's College, Oxford.

His publications include "Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices," "The Fruits of our Desiring: An Enquiry into the Ethics of the Bhagavad-Gita for our Times" and "Brahmabandhab Upadhyay: the Life and Thought of a Revolutionary," a book about a late 19th century Bengali leader who combined elements of Hinduism with Christianity.

Media contact: Pauline Oo, 616 387-8400, pauline.oo@wmich.edu

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