Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions @ King's College London


Our annual symposium is finally back in person, at King's College, London. Join us for three days of talks and discussion

About this Event

The 48th Spalding Symposium on Indian ReligionsTheme: ‘Authority, Lineage and Schism’

21st to 23rd April 2023

For schedule, see: www.spaldingsymposium.org

Lecture Theatre 1, Bush House, King’s College London, 30 Aldwych, London WC2B 4BG

Closing Date for Registration: April 11, 2023.

Opening Keynote Address

Professor Tulasi Srinivas (Emerson College, USA) [Online]

The Lake of Fire: Water, caste and gender in India's climate apocalypse

Closing Keynote Address

Professor Gwilym Beckerlegge (Open University, UK)

From Gurus and Svāmīs to Workers, Trusts and Managing Committees


Panel: Sikh traditions

Nirinjan Khalsa-Baker (Loyola Marymount, USA)

Subjectivity, Sovereignty, and Authority in the Sikh Kirtan Renaissance

Satnam Singh (Independent Scholar, Denmark)

Intellectual Authority in the Early Modern Sikh Tradition: A case study of Bhai Mani Singh

Julie Vig (York, Canada)

Imagining Early Modern Punjab in Gurbilās Literature: Tensions, affinities, and conflicts

Panel: Constructing authority on texts, and writing texts on/for authority

Avni Chag (SOAS, UK)

Sources of Schism Formations in the Svāminārāyaṇa Sampradāya

Nabanjan Maitra (Bard, USA)

Provincializing the Digvijaya: Jain antecedents to Śankara's rule at Śṛṅgeri

Rosina Pastore (Gent, Belgium)

How Does a King Become a Philosopher? Jasvant Singh of Mārvāḍ (1626–1678) and his Vedāntic writings

Panel: Gender and leadership

Leah Comeau (St Joseph's, USA & Hamburg, Germany)

Organic Leadership at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram: The Samadhi, the Mother, and her flowers

Dr Waithanji Mutiti (Gretsa University, Kenya)

Patriarchy, Women and Leadership Contestations in Hinduism in Kenya

Panel: Constructing self-made identity/authority 1

Taushif Kara (King’s College London, UK)

The Imam between the Merchant and the King

Christine Marrewa-Karwoski (Columbia, USA)

The Political Dynasty of Gorakhpur’s Godmen: The Nath Mahants, the Ramjanmabhoomi Movement, and A New Era For India

Panel: Constructing self-made identity/authority 2

Amanda Lucia (California-Riverside, USA)

‘Self-styled God man’: Lineage versus criminality in media discourse

Jon Keune (Michigan State, USA)

Babasaheb’s Heavy Mantle: Buddhism and community leadership after Ambedkar

Panel: Narrative lineage constructions in early Hindu literature

Sanne Doktor-Mersh (Leiden, Netherlands)

Purāṇic Influencers: Authoritative lineages in the Bhaviṣyapurāṇa

Simon Brodbeck (Cardiff, UK)

Taking Back the Disgraced Wife in the Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata

Panel: Tradition, lineage and succession

Jonathan Edelmann (Florida, USA)

Lineage and Ontology: The construction of tradition and conversion in Hindu and Christian scholasticism

Mans Broo (Abo Akademi, Finland)

Rupture and Reform of Succession: The case of the Gauḍīya Maṭha

Postgraduate papers

Tushar Shah (Cambridge, UK)

‘The Guru Never Leaves the Earth’: Death, transition and continuity

Kirtan Patel (Texas at Austin, USA)

Politics of Piety: Schism, Sovereignty, and Obedience in Colonial Gujarat, 1870-1905

Lucy May Constantini (Open University, UK)

Evolutions in the Transmission of Kaḷarippayaṟṟ ̆, a South Indian Martial Art

Arkamitra Ghatak (Heidelberg, Germany)

The Divine Mother as Vaishnava Guru: Female Leadership, Charismatic Authority and Succession Dispute in the Nimbārka Sect in the early Twentieth Century

Imran Visram (Oxford, UK)

The Shi'a Imam as the Satgur: Religious Authority in the Satpanth Ismaili Muslim tradition

Tillo Detige (Ruhr-Bochum, Germany)

Successions of Sovereignty: Digambara Jaina Ascetic Lineages of early modern Western India

Supported by:

The Spalding Trust (Registered Charity No: 1188315)

Kings’ College London, Theology & Religious Studies


Bush House is on the Strand Campus and has entrances from both Aldwych and the Strand.

Lecture Theatre 1 Bush House is an accessible venue.

Lecture Theatre 1 | King's Venues (kingsvenues.com)

Food and drink

Tea and coffee will be provided during conference breaks and are included in the registration fee.

King’s College London is in central London and there is a wide range of dining options in the vicinity.

The conference registration has an opt-in conference dinner (at an additional charge) for Saturday 22nd April.

How to get to the Strand Campus

Strand Campus (kcl.ac.uk)

Plan your journey via TFL: https://tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey/.

By underground

Temple (District and Circle lines): 2 minute walk. Charing Cross (Bakerloo and Northern lines): 10 minute walk, Embankment (District, Circle and Bakerloo lines): 10 minute walk, Waterloo (Jubilee, Northern, Bakerloo, Waterloo & City lines): 12 minute walk, Holborn (Central and Piccadilly lines): 12 minute walk, Chancery Lane (Central line): use exit 4 - 15 minute walk.

By train

Charing Cross: 9 minute walk. Waterloo: 12 minute walk. Waterloo East: 10 minute walk. Blackfriars: 12 minute walk.

By bus

Buses stopping outside the university: 1, 4, 26, 59, 68, 76, X68, 168, 171, 172, 176 (24 hour), 188, 243 (24 hour), 341 (24 hour), 521, RV1.

By boat - commuter river service

From the west, Putney - Blackfriars: get off at either Embankment Pier or Blackfriars Pier.


No public parking, but a pay-and-display parking system operates in nearby streets including Surrey Street. Motorcycle bays are available in the Strand, Arundel Street, Temple Place and other nearby streets.

Weekend and evening bicycle parking after 20.00 is permitted at the Strand entrance opposite Security. Please note that any bicycles left in this location after 08.30 Monday to Friday will be removed. No responsibility will be accepted for the replacement of locks or costs incurred. No bicycles are permitted to be brought into the buildings or chained to railings.

Students and staff may park at the Strand Campus secure bicycle park off Strand Lane but must register with Strand Campus Security for access. There is bike parking in the streets, and Barclays Cycle Hire bikes are available close by.


There is a wide range of hotels in all price ranges in close vicinity to the Strand Campus as well as within a 20-minute walking distance or a short commute by public transport.

Some mid to budget options may include:

Strand Palace Hotel - 372 Strand, London WC2R 0JJ. Tel: 020 7379 4737

Strand Palace Hotel London | Welcoming Guests Since 1909

Premier Inn – various branches nearby to King’s College London Strand Campus


Crescent Hotel - 49-50 Cartwright Gardens, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 9EL. Tel: 0207 387 1515 (No facilities for wheelchair users)


Tavistock Hotel, Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury

Tavistock Hotel - Guest Reservations

St Pancras, Youth Hostel Association (dorms and private rooms), by King’s Cross:

YHA London St Pancras Hostel | Cheap Kings Cross Accommodation

Ticket Information Ticket Price
General Admission including Conference Dinner GBP 60
General Admission (no dinner) GBP 35
Student Admission including Conference Dinner GBP 45
Student Admission (no dinner) GBP 20

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