From August 5–6, 2022, the South Asia Center at the University of Washington hosted Braj and Beyond: A Hindavi Reading Workshop. Organized by faculty members Heidi Pauwels (Asian Languages and Literature) and Purnima Dhavan (History) in conjunction with Anne Murphy of the University of British Columbia, this workshop brought together scholars from the University of Washington, University of Chicago, McGill University, Wake Forest University, the University of British Columbia, and the Sorbonne to collaboratively explore texts of Old Hindi and its associated vernaculars.
This was an exciting and rare opportunity for scholars to read together texts related to their research in the company of other experts in order to widen their inter-disciplinary engagements with pre-modern primary source texts. Over the course of two days in UW’s Smith Hall, conference participants discussed such wide-ranging primary texts as Teghnāth’s Bhagavadgītā, Rasik Prakāsh Bhakt-māl, Dīvān-e Imtiyāz Luft al-Nisā, and Vāris Shāh’s Hīr, among others.
After the workshop, the participants shared that this was very impactful for scholars who had not had a chance to meet during the two pandemic years. They hoped it will be offered it again in coming summers.
Purnima Dhavan and Heidi Pauwels have also received a 2-year NEH Collaboration grant to support their co-authored book, Urdu’s Origins Revisited: Vali Dakhani’s Reception in Multilingual South Asia. The grant will also support the initial stages of Prof. Jameel Ahmad’s new podcast on the history of Urdu literature, which will incorporate research from the book for a popular audience.