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Center for South Asian Studies pres.

CSAS Lecture Series | Widows under Hindu Law: an Overview

David Brick, Assistant Professor of Sanskrit Literature, University of Michigan

David Brick, Assistant Professor of Sanskrit Literature, University of Michigan David Brick, Assistant Professor of Sanskrit Literature, University of Michigan
David Brick, Assistant Professor of Sanskrit Literature, University of Michigan
This talk will present a broad history of the Hindu widow, as she is treated within works of the voluminous, two-millennia-long tradition of classical Hindu law known as Dharmaśāstra. Specifically, it will show how the opinions of jurists working within the Hindu legal tradition changed over time on four major issues related to Hindu widows. These issues are: widow remarriage and levirate; a widow’s right to inherit; widow self-immolation or sati; and widow-asceticism. This talk will then argue that the shifting opinions of Hindu jurists on these four issues are, to a significant extent, causally related to one or another and that they allow us to identify and track major shifts in orthodox Brahmanical attitudes toward women during the early medieval period (c. 500-1300 CE).

David Brick is assistant professor of Sanskrit literature at the University of Michigan. His research deals with diverse aspects of early India and Sanskrit literature with a special focus on the influential tradition of classical Hindu law known as Dharmaśāstra. His first book, Brahmanical Theories of the Gift: A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation of the Dānakāṇḍa of the Kṛtyakalpatura (Harvard Oriental Series 2015), comprises the first critical edition and translation into any modern language of a dānanibandha, a classical Hindu legal digest devoted to the culturally and religiously important topic of gifting. His next major project will be a comprehensive study of widows under Hindu law.

If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation to attend this event, please reach out to us at least 2 weeks in advance of this event. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
David Brick, Assistant Professor of Sanskrit Literature, University of Michigan David Brick, Assistant Professor of Sanskrit Literature, University of Michigan
David Brick, Assistant Professor of Sanskrit Literature, University of Michigan

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