Text and Ritual in Śākta Tantra Conference

3rd – 4th June 2024

As part of the Śākta mudrā project under Śākta traditions research programme, this conference will explore the performative cult of Śrīkula and Kālīkula traditions, its textual sources and practices. Bringing together scholarly acumen, practitioner’s first-hand knowledge and highly commendable inquisitiveness, this conference hopes to make some meaningful interventions into the current discourse about text and ritual practice in Tantric traditions.

This virtual conference will be delivered in two parts. The first part will have senior research scholars presenting papers and will address the synergy, interplay and overlap between ritual performance and texts in Śākta traditions. This part will also explore methodological challenges and documenting problems that we face in relation to the study of ancient rituals. The second part will have speakers who are eminent tantric practitioners from Kerala. This Kerala part will focus on the ritual training, embodied practice, and the rich lived experience of performing Śākta rituals. This will map out a relatively new avenue of research where it will explore presentation of Śākta rituals in Keralan tantric texts and how these are interpreted through practice within lineages, and tantric practitioners in Kerala.

The goal of conducting this conference in two parts is to provide an international platform to bring forth theoretical (part 1) and practical (part 2) dimensions of Śākta tradition, thereby facilitating an intersection between academics and practitioners. All paper presentations will be pre-recorded and will be launched online on Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies website. Recordings of the whole conference will be available after the conference on 5th of June. We will produce an edited book from the conference and conversations are currently underway with our potential publisher – Routledge Tantric Studies Series.

Our Team

Conference Director
Dr Janaki Nair, OCHS, East 15 Acting School, University of Essex

Advisory Board
Dr Bjarne Wernicke-Olesen, OCHS, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford
Professor Chris Dorsett, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford
Dr Rembert Lutjeharms, OCHS, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford
Ms Tanja Louise Jakobsen, OCHS

Committee Members
Dr Shawna Stanwood, OCHS
Ms Sharvi Maheshwari, OCHS, DPhil Student, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford
Dr Gelu Varghese
Mr Sasidharan Nair

Translation Panel
Mr Radhakrishnan S.
Mr Paremwswaran B.K.
Dr Suchitra Devi