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Guest Lecture: "Modern Postural Yoga in an Expanded Field"

© RIMYI Archives, Pune
Jan 29, 2019 06:00 pm to 08:00 pm
Organiser: Professorship of Global Art History


Nachiket Chanchani

Associate Professor of the History of Art and Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices Fellow 2018-19, Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin.


Drawing on extensive archival research and fieldwork, this talk traces how B.K.S. Iyengar –– widely acknowledged as a man who helped bring yoga to the West –– came to understand postures (asanas) and techniques of breath regulation (pranayama) as artforms and see himself as an artist. Chanchani’s argument is that Iyengar’s construction and display of the figure of a yogi as an artist was shaped by developments transpiring in the art world in India in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, and developments in Europe and North America in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Some of these cultural formations were the focus of art historian’s Rosalind Krauss’s classic essay, “Sculpture in an Expanded Field.”

The lecture is part of a lecture series conjointly organized by the chairs of Buddhist Studies, Intellectual History, and Global Art History.

About the speaker:

Nachiket Chanchani (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2012) is a tenured associate professor jointly appointed in the Department of the History of Art and in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Concurrently, he is an adjunct professor at the Law School at the University of Michigan and a consulting curator at the Detroit Institute of Arts. He has received fellowships from the Victoria and Albert Museum, Asian Cultural Council, Smithsonian Institution, and The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. In spring 2019, the University of Washington Press will publish his first monograph, Mountain Temples and Temple Mountains: Architecture, Religion, and Nature in the Central Himalayas. He has published articles in several journals as well as edited books. His current research project “Scrolling Forward: Manuscript Culture, Literary Production, and the Making of Early Modern Western India,” with which he is fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin during 2018/2019, examines the interplay of poly-linguistic literary text and visual imagery of the Vasanta Vilasa in a context of vernacularizing social, political, and aesthetic realities.


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