Seminar: Politics, Pluralism, and Patronage in Ancient India

Image: Ashoka Pillar at Vaishali, Bihar, India


Both political history and political theory in India are badly understudied and underestimated. In this seminar, two presenters probe contemporary questions about the nature of the political through the lens of the ancient India. Renowned political theorist Rajeev Bhargava will explore pluralism in time of Ashoka (3rd cent. BCE) for insights into the theoretical problem of studying concepts from the ancient world in relation to modern political vocabulary and the practical challenge of taking ancient political ideas seriously. Indologist and religious historian Timothy Lubin in turn will describe his groundbreaking recent work on diplomatics (especially epigraphical documents) in ancient India in relation to patterns of patronage and political ideals that transcend the state. From these different starting points, this seminar invites us to work both backward and forward in time as we seek to develop a richer understanding of India’s political history and its contributions to political theory.



"The Distinctiveness of India's Religious Pluralism"

Rajeev Bhargava, Center for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi


"Pluralism, Patronage, and Documentary Protocol"

Timothy Lubin, Washington & Lee University



Patrick Olivelle, University of Texas at Austin

Donald Davis, University of Texas at Austin


Sponsored by: Department of Asian Studies

Friday, November 3, 2017 at 9:30am to 12:30pm

Will C. Hogg Building (WCH), Meyerson Conference Room, (WCH 4.118)
120 INNER CAMPUS DR, Austin, Texas 78712

Event Type

Academics, Arts & Humanities, World & Culture, Diversity & Social Justice


All Departments

Target Audience

Students, Staff, Faculty, Alumni


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