17-18 June | International symposium – Narratives of exclusion: the othering of forest-dwellers in pre-modern Indian texts

This symposium aims to explore the multifaceted portrayals of Indian forest-dwellers in pre-modern textual sources, shedding light on the complex dynamics of “othering” and its implications for understanding historical interactions between sedentary civilisations and indigenous forest communities. Drawing upon a wide array of pre-colonial texts, including religious scriptures, epic narratives, and regional historical documents, we will delve into the narratives and characterisations that have historically marginalised forest-dwellers, casting them as the “Other.”


Daniela De Simone (Ghent University) and Ananya Vajpeyi (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi)

Keynote lecture

Brian Black (Lancaster University), Nāgas in the jātakas and Mahābhārata: Narratives of exclusion and inclusion

Full programme available here.

Time & venue

17th June 2024, 09:30-17:00

18th June 2024, 10:00-15:00

Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Room 6.60, Blandijnberg 2 (Campus Boekentoren), Gent.





21/06: International Yoga Day

The Indian Studies team at Ghent University in collaboration with the Indian Embassy to Belgium and the Yoga Federatie Nederlandstaligen België organise two free yoga sessions to celebrate the International Day of Yoga on 21st June at 9:30 AM in Koning Albertpark.

No registration is required, both beginners and experts are welcome (and don’t forget your Yoga mat!)

16th May | guest lecture by Dr Yixiu Jiang (Leiden University)

On 16th May 2024, Dr Yixiu Jiang (Leiden University) will give a lecture titled “Dreaming of Buddhahood—Measuring Bodhisattva Progress in Early Mahāyāna”.

This will be a hybrid talk, so everyone is welcome to attend in person or follow along online!

Time: 16/05/2024, 14.30 (2.30pm)
Location: Camelot meeting room (3.30), Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Gent
For registration & link: contact Prof. Charles DiSimone (charles.disimone@ugent.be)

The gradual progress toward liberation—the path (mārga)—constitutes a central concern for almost all Buddhist discourse. The bodhisattva path, intended for those who aspire to buddhahood, is commonly presented within a scheme of ten stages or bhūmis. While most scriptures on the ten bhūmis describe a bodhisattva’s progress in terms of his virtues, one unique sūtra—the *Svapnanirdeśa (lit. “Teaching on Dreams”)—instructs bodhisattvas how to determine their current developmental stage through 108 kinds of dreams. This presentation will approach the concept of the bodhisattva bhūmis in early Mahāyāna from the new perspective that the Svapnanirdeśa provides.


17th April | online ceremony: Saarthak Singh awarded the SAAI Dissertation Prize 2024

Congratulations to our Saarthak Singh, Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek – Vlaanderen (FWO) Junior Postdoctoral Fellow, for the prestigious South Asia Art & Architecture Dissertation Prize 2024 awarded by the South Asia Art Initiative at the Institute for South Asia Studies at UC Berkeley!

His award winning work is titled Places of Piety, Sites of Sovereignty: Architecture and urbanism in medieval Malwa, c.1050–1450.

Online award ceremony

Wednesday 17th April, 5-7 pm CET.
To follow the event on Zoom, please register HERE. The event will also be live streamed on SAAI’s FB page at SAAIatUCBerkeley.

Religious Foundations: Recent Research on Built Environments in South Asia | online lecture series from 29 Feb to 16 May

Religious Foundations: Recent Research on Built Environments in South Asia is the new online lecture series organised by South Asian Network Ghent.

We will delve into the intricate relationship between religion and the built environment in South Asia. Throughout six lectures, scholars from different disciplines will examine the religious diversity of this region and unravel how these diverse groups have influenced architecture, spatial organisation, and the urban landscape. The series aims to foster a nuanced understanding of how religion, as a fundamental aspect of South Asian societies, has shaped and reshaped the built environment, forging an enduring bond between faith and architecture from antiquity to the present.

All the lectures will take place on Thursdays at 4pm CET.

Programme and registration links

29/02Saarthak Singh (Ghent University), Temple urbanism in North India: case studies from medieval Malwa, 10th-13th centuries



14/03Vera Lazzaretti (ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon), The Kashi Vishvanath Dham in Banaras: a tale of contorted heritage-making and insecurities in new India



28/03Shalin Jain (Delhi University), Making places and claiming cpaces: Jain religious architecture in medieval Gujarat



18/04Elora Tribedy (Nalanda University), Crossing the Ocean of Fear: unveiling monastic foundations and medieval transformations of the cult of Tārā in India



02/05Roshan Mishra (Taragaon Museum), Reclaiming Nepal’s heritage



16/05Sara Mondini (Ghent University), Transforming architectural vocabularies, reshaping religious identities: the impact of modern Muslim patronage on the urban landscape of Kerala



Celebration of World Hindi Day 2024

On 10th January students, language instructors, researchers and professors of South Asian studies at the Department of Languages and Cultures celebrated the World Hindi Day 2024 (विश्व हिंदी दिवस 2024) at the presence of Mr. Debasish Prusty, CDA (Chargé d’Affaires) and Mr. Jitendra Rawat, FSPIC (First Secretary Press, Information and Culture) of the Embassy of India, Brussels.

With students’ performances (rigorously in Hindi), classical Indian music and delicious Indian food, Hindi language, which counts over 600 million speakers worldwide, has been the true protagonist of the evening in the beautiful frame of UGent’s Boekentoren.

धन्यवाद, thanks to the Embassy of India and the Department of Languages and Cultures for generously supporting this event!


Hindi in Europe at LinGhentian Doctorials 2023: keynote by Dr Aaricia Ponnet on 20/12

Our very own Dr Aaricia Ponnet will present as a keynote speaker at the 2023 edition of the LinGhentian Doctorials (20-21 December) with a talk titled “Linguistic and diversity”, based on her research experience on Hindi as a minority language in Europe and on how linguistic studies interact with the topic of diversity. Full abstract available here.

Time and venue: 20th December, 9:15-10:00, campus VTC.




Lecture series from 2 October 2023 to 6 May 2024: Dialogues in European Jain Studies

We are proud and excited to present the online lecture series Dialogues in European Jain Studies which illuminates the diverse and innovative research work being done on Jainism and Jains.

The full program is available here.

Each session consists of two thematically linked presentations, and is presided over by an expert on the subject. We hope this set-up will generate conversations, fruitful discussions, and plans for further collaboration between scholars in different parts of Europe and the world.

Dialogues in European Jain Studies is a collaboration between Ghent University, University of Birmingham, and Arihanta Institute.

Lectures take place on the first Monday of the month, at 4pm GMT / 5pm CET

More info and registration at: https://dialogues.arihantainstitute.org/