BAHAR Report October 2009 to January 2010

1. Introduction

This is an update on the activities of BAHAR members, October 2009 to January 2010. The report follows on from the report for RELIG Research Committee on 21 October, and as with that report it is concerned primarily with BAHAR members who were at that time employed or working in RELIG. Geoffrey Samuel and Santi Rozario were transferred to the School of History and Archaeology (HISAR) from 1 November 2009. Bulbul Siddiqi, Colin Millard and Dawn Collins continue to be attached to RELIG.

2. AHRC Tibetan Longevity Project

As noted in the previous report, the funding for this project ended on 30 September 2009. Cathy Cantwell and Geoffrey Samuel have continued working on writing the joint book, which is intended as the principal outcome of this project. We have been in negotiation with University of Washington Press about this book. They initially expressed interest but have now told us that the book is too expensive for them to publish alone (as planned at present it includes numerous photographs of Tibetan ritual and religious art relating to longevity practices) and have suggested that we look into a co-publication between them and the Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. We are planning to follow up on this suggestion.

We are also continuing to work on the projected exhibition of photographs, videos and religious art relating to the project.

A number of journal articles and book chapters relating to this project are in press or forthcoming.

3. ESRC project on Islam and Young Bangladeshis

Santi Rozario, Geoffrey Samuel and Bulbul Siddiqi’s joint ESRC-funded project on Islam and Young Bangladeshis is continuing to make good progress. Bulbul and Santi were in Bangladesh working on the project for most of the period of the report; Geoffrey was also there for some of January 2010.

Santi and Geoffrey visited Sydney in December 2009 for the Australian Anthropological Society conference at Macquarie University, at which they organised a panel on ‘Islamic Piety and Gender Relationships among Contemporary Muslims’. We are currently negotiating with Contemporary Islam regarding the publication of the papers from this panel (with one or two additional items) as a special issue of the journal. We are also working on a number of other publications from this project.

An international workshop will take place at Cardiff University in November 2010 in connection with the Islam and Young Bangladeshis project.

4. Publication from Delhi workshop

Work has continued on the collection of papers from the 2007 Australian Research Council-funded workshop in Delhi, From Village Religion to Global Networks: Women, Religious Nationalism and Sustainability in and beyond South Asia. We have been informed by Women’s Studies International Forum and Elsevier that the special double issue devoted to the papers from this workshop will appear in June 2010 as vol.33 no.3 of the journal.

5. Leverhulme Bon Medicine project

This project also continues to make good progress. A forthcoming session on ritual and healing in Tibetan societies at the International Association of Tibetan Studies conference in Vancouver, September 2010, will include Colin Millard, Dawn Collins and Geoffrey Samuel, all BAHAR members, along with a group of Bon doctors.

An international workshop will take place at Cardiff University in connection with this project in late 2010 or early 2011.

6. Further IATS session

At the IATS conference, Geoffrey will also be giving a paper in The Boundaries of Tibetan Anthropology panel, convened by Charlene Makley and Giovanni da Col. Geoffrey’s paper for this session will be entitled “‘Zomia’: New Constructions of the Southeast Asian Highlands and Their Tibetan Implications”

7. American Academy of Religion Conference

Geoffrey attended the November American Academy of Religion conference in Montreal, where a panel took place on his recent book, The Origins of Yoga and Tantra. While at the AAR, Geoffrey also acted as respondent for Hiroko Kawanami’s panel on ‘Buddhism and International Relief Work’. Dr Kawanami is working on publication of the papers from this panel, with additional contributions and an introduction by Geoffrey.


BAHAR’s affiliated group, ASPARRG (Autism Spectrum People and Religion Research Group), held a workshop in Birmingham in December 2009. The next workshop is planned for June, and will again take place in Birmingham.

9. Dawn Collins

Dawn carried out two further research trips to Rebkong in Northeast Tibet (Amdo) though had to return early because of her father’s and mother’s illness. She will be working on the thesis in Cardiff this year.

10. Queenie Eng

Queenie Eng (Eng Sookhoe) has been undertaking a PhD on the use of Chinese medicine for diabetes among first-generation ethnic Chinese in the UK. She has transferred to Cardiff University and will be completing the thesis under Geoffrey’s supervision.

11. Postgraduate Seminars

The first of a series of postgraduate seminars for BAHAR staff and research students at Cardiff will take place on February 17th, when Queenie Eng will give a presentation on her research.

12. Other Seminars

Colin Millard and a visiting Tibetan amchi (doctor) from Mustang in Nepal, Nyima Samphel, gave a seminar Friday 27th November 2009, jointly sponsored by the Research Group on Body, Health and Religion (BAHAR) and the new HISAR & University of Glamorgan Collaborative Interdisciplinary Study of Science, Medicine and the Imagination Research Group (CISSMI). The topic was ‘Bon Medicine in Mustang: The Medical Practice of Amchi Nyima Samphel.’

We are in the process of arranging a series of further public seminars under BAHAR auspices for Spring Term 2010.

13. Geoffrey’s Sydney visit next July-Oct.

Geoffrey will be visiting the University of Sydney as a Visiting Professor in Buddhist Studies from August to October 2010. While in Sydney, he will be giving a series of seminars on Tibetan Buddhism in an ecological perspective, as well as a number of public lectures. In Dec. 2009 he gave a paper entitled ‘Buddhism and a Sustainable World: Some Reflections’ as the keynote Address for the Annual Conference of the Australasian Association of Buddhist Studies at the University of Sydney, as an introduction to the seminar series he will be giving during his visit.


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