ANUBhasha, playing on the Sanskrit word for ‘conversation’, is a collective of scholars of premodern South Asia, working at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, Australia. This group works to promote the usage of digital tools to engage scholarly and cultural communities in the study and use of manuscripts and literature. Currently, this includes several long-term projects focusing on different linguistic and cultural communities of the South Asian past.
Although divergent in time and methods, these projects all consider how the study of South Asian texts, literature, and culture can be enhanced by combining: (1) community input and engagement, (2) academic study and rigour, and (3) digital frameworks and technology. These goals are informed by the collaborator’s joint roles as researchers and educators.
Current ANUBhasha projects include:
All of our personal current and future projects are presented in conjunction with events and workshops held at the ANU.
Dr. Christopher Diamond – Lecturer in Hindi (ANU)
Christopher’s current project concerns the literary legacy of a medieval multi-lingual poet from the North Indian region of Mithila, Vidyapati (c. 1370-1450). His, at the time, new vernacular language of song and poetry became a standardised classical style across Nepal, the Eastern Gangetic Plains, Bengal, and further afield. Christopher is currently working on a new edition and translation of some of the oldest manuscript that contain this poet’s songs and a critical analysis of the ways kings and brahmins in Nepal and Bihar employed them to project their own power and prestige. Other projects include an examination of Maithili-language drama in Nepal and the Epic and Puranic traditions of East India. Christopher works with texts in Hindi (including Braj Bhasa and Avadhi), Bengali, Maithili, Sanskrit, and Apabhramsa. He also teaches classes in Hindi language & South Asian culture at the Australian National University and through Open Universities Australia (OUA).
Dr. Stephanie Majcher – Lecturer in Sanskrit (ANU)
Stephanie Majcher is Lecturer in Sanskrit in the School of Culture, History & Language. Her primary research interests are the composition of Vedic texts, early South Asian perspectives on language, and how modern approaches to textual analysis have influenced the interpretation of Vedic teachings and culture. Her research questions the divide between modern and traditional understandings of Sanskrit and asks how our methods can benefit by listening closely to what Vedic texts say about themselves. In particular, her work grapples with the way that modern approaches can be narrow and unable to accommodate the nuances that cultural understandings of language can bring to textual interpretation.
Stephanie’s other major research interest is the study, translation, and digitization of ancient Buddhist manuscripts from Gandhara. She is part of an international team of scholars and digital humanists developing the capacity for digital editions that reach beyond small groups of expert scholars to wider academic communities. Stephanie’s current contribution to the study of Gandharan Buddhist manuscripts is the critical examination of how these existing developments can be a means of “digital repatriation” – making inaccessible scholarly research available to cultural communities and encouraging the open sharing of knowledge.
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ANUBhasha works in collaboration with a wider consortium of scholars, researchers, and digital humanities specialists based at ANU, Prakaś Foundation, and the University of Sydney. This consortium is focused on the development and expansion of the digital infrastructures underpinning the Digital Repatriation Framework (DRF) that supports our projects. In 2021 – 2022, the consortium will be expanding to include our current project partners at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU, Canada), University of Washington (UW, Seattle USA), Stanford University (USA), and Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS, Pakistan).