Questions about the nature and functions of myth in diverse cultural contexts have been raised and discussed by scholars from varying disciplines like anthropology, religious studies, folkloristics, history of literature, philosophy and psychology. The very concept of myth seems to change radically from camp to camp. Specialists talk about cult-myths and ritual-myths. Folklorists foreground the entertainment value of myths and their diffusion across space and time, historians and critics of literature emphasize their literary quality and philosophers seek their truth-value. Scholars like Richard Chase, A. B. Rooth, A. E. Jensen, Jane Ellen Harrison, Kluckhohn and B. Malinowski have their own interpretations of myth depending on their filed of work and discipline. Myth is a genre of its own with defined qualities and functions and can be studied from plural cultural and religious perspectives.
There is no doubt that myth is a vital ingredient of human civilization and an important cultural force. Myths have ever been powerful tools in managing societies and have helped naturalise social orders which could otherwise have been seen as unnatural and even unjust. The seminar is meant to show how deeply the sacred tradition of myth intervenes in human pursuits and how strongly it controls their moral and social behaviour.
India is a country rich in myths, some pan-Indian and many regional and local. They serve as a storehouse of wisdom and lend themselves to any number of readings, reinterpretations and rewritings. Artists constantly go back to myths and explore their semantic and aesthetic potential to articulate their world views and critique society. While this has happened in fiction, poetry, theatre and several other forms of art, this seminar concentrates on the interpretation of myth in folk dramatic forms and their performance in varying cultural contexts asking them questions like how and why they are doing it and what function does the myth serve in specific social and cultural contexts : in other words, the politics of the employment and interpretation of myth in folk-performances.
Several popular myths have been subverted, distorted and manipulated in order to serve the interests of hegemonic social groups from time to time. As a consequence many myths have lost their original meaning, mooring and intent and often come to signify the very opposite. Constant misuse and what M N Srinivas would call ‘Sanskritisation’ has made many of them completely unrecognizable and far removed from their original forms and functions. The purpose of this seminar is to look at the nature and functions of myth in specific cultures, societies and historical contexts such inversions and transformations and uncover the underlying tactics of assimilation and subversion.. With this view we would invite myth scholars, folklore specialists, anthropologists, theatre activists and performers from different parts of the country and request them to discuss an debate the social, cultural and political implications of myth-creation, myth-transformation and myth-manipulation.
Points for discussion:
A limited number of participants will be invited for the seminar. Those interested in participating should send an abstract (500-700 words) of the proposed paper along with their C.V. to following Email ID’s:
A limited number of participants will be invited for the Seminar. Those interested in participating should send an abstract (500-700 words) of the proposed paper along with their C.V. to:
Professor A. Achuthan
Indian Institute of Advanced Study,
Rashtrapati Nivas, Shimla- 171005.
Mobile No: 09447884370
Shri Kamal Sharma
Academic Resource Officer,
Rashtrapati Nivas, Shimla- 171005
Tel: 0177-2831385; +91-9418450024 (Mobile)
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
The last date for submission of abstract (500-700 words) is 15 April, 2016. The Institute intends to send Invitation letters to selected participants by 20 April, 2016. It is the policy of the Institute to publish the proceedings of the seminars it organizes. Hence, all invited participants will be expected to submit complete papers (English or Hindi), hitherto unpublished and original, with citations in place, along with a reference section, to the Academic Resource Officer, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla – 171005 by 06 June, 2016. Style sheet for the submission of papers may be downloaded from the IIAS website http://www.iias.org/content/shss.
IIAS, Shimla, will be glad to extend its hospitality during the seminar period and is willing to reimburse, if required, rail or air travel expenses from the place of current residence in India, or the port of arrival in India, and back.
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