03 Mar Kabir Says, “Listen!” Bringing the Oral-Performative into Textual Studies in India
Linda Hess (Religious Studies, Stanford University)
Friday, March 3 / 2:00 pm
3041 Humanities and Social Sciences Building
After a brief reflection on the bias towards text-based methods in Religious Studies, the lecture addressed the all-pervasive importance of oral transmission, music, and other performance forms in the bhakti (devotional) poetry of North India. The lecture focused more specifically on the case of Kabir, in which the original poetry was orally composed and oral traditions have been continuous—although ever more complicated in their interactions with written and other recorded forms—for nearly 600 years.
Linda Hess teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University. A specialist in Hindu traditions, her research focuses on the poetry of North India’s great fifteenth- and sixteenth-century bhakti poets, the modes of performance and reception of their works, and their ongoing popularity and influence in contemporary India. Her publications include The Bijak of Kabir and articles on the interpretation and performance of the Ramayana.