Anne Monius, Professor of South Asian Religions at Harvard University is a Numata Program visiting speaker on Friday, 4th  February, 2011, at University of Toronto, Jackman Humanities Building 317 (4-6pm)

She will lead a Numata Reading Group/Hindu Studies Colloquium session on “The Viracoliyam: Language, Literature Theory, and Religious Community, and Imagining Community through Commentary.”

Anne Monius is a historian of religion specializing in the religious traditions of India. Her research interests lie in examining the practices and products of literary culture to reconstruct the history of religions in South Asia. Her first book, Imagining a Place for Buddhism: Literary Culture and Religious Community in Tamil-Speaking South India, examines the two extant Buddhist texts composed in Tamil; her current research project, “Singing the Lives of Siva’s Saints: History, Aesthetics, and Religious Identity in Tamil-Speaking South India,” considers the role of aesthetics and moral vision in the articulation of a distinctly Hindu religious identity in twelfth-century South India. Both works point to a larger research focus on the ways in which aesthetics and ethics define religious identity and community in South Asia, as well as to the creative and productive encounters among competing sectarian religious communities. Future research projects will explore the relationship of Hindu devotional and philosophical literature in Tamil to its Sanskritic forebears, as well as consider the transmission of South Indian strands of Buddhism and Hinduism to Southeast Asia.