Associate Professor of Religious Studies Abhishek S. Amar was invited to participate in the Bodh Gaya Global Dialogues on Sustainable Development, Heritage and Enlightenment. Held in association with the Government of India’s Ministry of Culture, the event took place at Bodh Gaya, a World Heritage Site, in March.
In a talk titled “Contextualizing Bodhgaya: Sangha, Settlements, and Others,” Amar provided a historical overview of Bodhgaya, the site of Buddha's enlightenment. He also chaired a session on “Understanding Multiple Buddhism: Experience and Practices.”
Amar was also invited to present a paper at a symposium on “The Buddha Image in South Asia: Trans-Regional Diversity, Localized Idioms, and Iconographic Innovation” at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, in March. The symposium was organized to celebrate the opening of the exhibition Images of Awakening: Buddhist Sculpture from Afghanistan and Pakistan at the Georgia Museum of Art.
Amar’s paper, “The Hindu Buddha? Recontextualization and Appropriation of Buddhist Images in the Magadha Region,” focused on the appropriation of early medieval Buddhist images into Hindu temples and their subsequent role in creating new religious histories in the south Bihar region.
Later in March, at the invitation of the Center for South Asia and Indian Ocean Studies at Tufts University, Amar presented a talk titled “Archiving Hindu Gaya: Sacred Centers in India. ” He discussed the challenges of developing a digital archive and its implications on study of religions in South Asia.
In addition, an article by Amar appears in the edited volume Records, Recoveries, Remnants, and Inter-Asian Connections, published by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore.
In “Heritage Preservation in the Gaya Region,” Amar analyzes how the rematerialization of early medieval images has resulted in heritage preservation and the emergence of new histories across the Gaya region in India.