Introducing our new Mellon fellow, Marko Geslani...
As an undergraduate at McMaster University, Prof. Geslani pursued an honors degree in Religious Studies. He took courses in Method and Theory, Judaism, Christianity, East Asian Religion, and of course, the Religions of South Asia. While his interest in Religious Studies was rather wide ranging, he was especially drawn to the rich literature of the medieval Hindu pilgrimage cult and to the study of Sanskrit, leading him to specialize in Indian Religion.
After graduating from McMaster he entered the PhD program in Asian Religions in the Religious Studies department at Yale University, where he became engrossed in the challenge of reading and writing about ritual manuals. Using such manuals, his dissertation dealt with the early history of a ritual called “śānti” (pronounced, shaanti), or “appeasement.” The ritual was meant at first to counteract (hence “appease”) inauspicious omens, and made use of new methods for astrology and astronomy that were emerging in India in the early first millennium CE. The form of the appeasement ritual also interacted in interesting ways with other Hindu practices, such as image worship and gift giving. Prof. Geslani's current research focuses on the role of the ancient Vedic priesthood in the development of mainstream Hindu image worship and temple planning; the formation of the royal ritual calendar; and how the new specialization of astrology affected the style and organization of Hindu rituals in mainstream texts of the medieval period.
Prof. Gesani has taught introductory and advanced courses in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sanskrit at Wesleyan University and at the University of British Columbia. This year at Oxy he will be teaching Introduction to Hinduism, Pilgrimage and Sacred Space in South Asian Religions, and Hindu Ritual in Theory and Practice (desriptions below).
RELS 140 Introduction to Hinduism (Fall 2012)
In this course, students will study the formation and transformation of Hindu traditions from the ancient Vedic hymns to the mainstream Hindu texts of the early medieval period. Student encounter a range of sources: from pre-modern texts (in which students survey Hindu notions of divinity, ritual, liberation, identity and authority) to modern ethnographic accounts. Throughout, students will consider how understandings of "Hinduism" have been constructed from different perspectives over time.
RELS 215 Pilgrimage and Sacred Space in Asia (Spring 2013)
This course examines the practice of pilgrimage as a pan-Asian phenomenon. It focuses especially on the religious traditions of India (Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism), but also traces how these traditions have spread, through pilgrimage, to Tibet, East and Southeast Asia, and how their pilgrimage practices have changed in the process. Using premodern and contemporary sources, we will investigate such topics as: relic worship; the role of myth, biography, and landscape in the creation and discovery of pilgrimage sites; pilgrimage networks; sacred spaces and political power; pilgrimage vs. travel; and sacred space in cyberspace.
RELS 315 Hindu Ritual in Theory and Practice (Spring 2013)
This new course brings modern theories of "Ritual" (as a cross-cultural anthropological category) into conversation with rites and language of ritual found in the primary sources of the Vedic-Hindu tradition. The course thus offers an advanced introduction to ritual theory in Anthropology and Religious Studies, while also engaging the central ritual categories of Indian Religion (such as sacrifice, worship).
- Location: Fowler Hall, 4th floor
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: (323) 259-2787