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Leela Prasad

Professor of Religious Studies
Religious Studies
Box 90964, 118C Gray Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
118C Gray Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Office hours on leave, 2023-24  

Selected Presentations & Appearances


"That Religion Which Underlies All Religions" - 2023 Dawe Lecture · March 15, 2023 Keynote/Named Lecture Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, Virginia

Abstract: Sanmati, the practice of generous orientation, underlies Mahatma Gandhi's moral ecology and ethic of pluralism. In Sanskrit, sanmati variously means "goodwill," "wisdom," "good sense," or "truth perceiving." In this lecture, Dr. Prasad will show how contemporary moments suffused with sanmati help us understand what Gandhi meant by "a religion which underlies all religions." This understanding has immense potential; it yields a politics founded on collective-mindedness--one that appreciates and accepts religious difference/s.

A Sovereign Knowing: Audacious Evocations of Hinduism in Colonial India - New Directions in the Study of Hinduism Lecture Series · January 26, 2022 Invited Talk Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Oxford, U.K.
Co-Being: Toward a Gandhian Praxis - Fulbright Series · January 31, 2020 Invited Talk GITAM University, Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Embodied Commemoration: Enchanting History in Colonial India · November 7, 2013 Lecture EFL University, Shillong Campus
Reconceptualizing the Classical/Folk Divide in Indian Culture · December 1, 2011 Lecture Cornell University
"That Religion Which Underlies All Religions" - 2023 Dawe Lecture · March 15, 2023 Keynote/Named Lecture Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, Virginia

Abstract: Sanmati, the practice of generous orientation, underlies Mahatma Gandhi's moral ecology and ethic of pluralism. In Sanskrit, sanmati variously means "goodwill," "wisdom," "good sense," or "truth perceiving." In this lecture, Dr. Prasad will show how contemporary moments suffused with sanmati help us understand what Gandhi meant by "a religion which underlies all religions." This understanding has immense potential; it yields a politics founded on collective-mindedness--one that appreciates and accepts religious difference/s.

A Sovereign Knowing: Audacious Evocations of Hinduism in Colonial India - New Directions in the Study of Hinduism Lecture Series · January 26, 2022 Invited Talk Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Oxford, U.K.
Co-Being: Toward a Gandhian Praxis - Fulbright Series · January 31, 2020 Invited Talk GITAM University, Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Embodied Commemoration: Enchanting History in Colonial India · November 7, 2013 Lecture EFL University, Shillong Campus
Reconceptualizing the Classical/Folk Divide in Indian Culture · December 1, 2011 Lecture Cornell University
Textures of Familian Terrain: A Telugu Folklorist Imagines India in a Colonial World - Annual Conference on South Asia · October 1, 2010 Lecture University Of Wisconsin-Madison, University Of Wisconsin-Madison
State of Public Elementary Education in India: Change Through Civic Engagement, Not Charity · January 7, 2010 Lecture Kasturba Gandhi College, Hyderabad.

Service to the Profession


Referee : various journals (JAAR, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute; Intl Jrnl of Hindu Studies, Asian Studies, Asian Ethnology, etc · 2013 - 2016 Editorial Activities

Papers Refereed

Material Religion · January 8, 2010 Editorial Activities