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Kāmaśāstras/Kokaśāstras: an interdisciplinary corpus

This panel considers the large and understudied corpus of kāmaśāstras/kokaśāstras as a place of encounter of various disciplines and languages. By examining recensions of various works, we will trace the dynamics of transmission of erotological knowledge in relation to their evolutive audiences.

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Convenors:

· Nadia Cattoni University of Lausanne (Lausanne, Switzerland)
· Sonia Wigh University of Exeter (Exeter, United Kingdom)

Long Abstract

The kāmaśāstra/kokaśāstra (Treatise on Kāma/Sex) tradition spread throughout South Asian literary cultures in multiple languages. Its main purpose was to discuss diverse gender relationships and major aspects of their sexual and social life. As we know from the number of manuscripts of some of the works of the tradition, these texts circulated very widely and as such were translated, transformed, and interpreted in regard of their historical and linguistic context. Some of these manuscripts were also largely illustrated. In this process, contents were modified and dialogues with other disciplinary fields emerged, such as arthaśāstra literature, courtly poetry, and/or medical traditions. This panel will examine works belonging to the kokaśāstric tradition, highlighting and analysing the interdisciplinarity of this corpus and its adaptation over time in order to improve our knowledge of the tradition and its diffusion. Through a systematic enquiry into kokaśāstric and allied texts, this panel will explore longue durée evolution of South Asian readership, consumption, and patronage patterns. We invite papers examining the kokaśāstric tradition through Sanskrit, Persian, Hindi, or Urdu and vernacular textual sources. Papers analysing visual sources are also most welcome. Papers can interrogate one source in particular, can focus on one aspect of the kokaśāstric tradition or can examine the evolution of the tradition. We encourage the use of approaches ranging from philology, gender studies, women studies, history, literary history, art history, cultural studies or manuscript studies.