Effecting and Affecting Emotion: When Words Are Not Innocent

When and Where

Thursday, April 21, 2022 10:00 am to 11:30 am


Veena Das, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University


Commenting on the suggestiveness of the particle “khalu” (for sure) that appears as the penultimate word in a verse in Kalidas’s famous play, Abhijnana Shakuntalam, David Schulman says: “In a world of continually compounded resonances such as that embodied in a good Sanskrit verse, no word, indeed no syllable, is likely to be entirely innocent.” Taking this aspect of language in which the impishness of words, the capacity for curved speech makes relations fraught with dangers I attempt to put some theories of Austin’s notions of the perlocutionary in conversation with the way the curse appears in Sanskrit grammar and poetics with special reference to Valmiki and Panini. The overarching question here is whether passion is added to language from the outside or is it integral to the experience of language?

Keynote speaker: Veena Das (Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University) → Register for keynote 
Her most recent books are Textures of the Ordinary: Doing Anthropology after Wittgenstein (2020); Voix de l’ordinarie (2022) Slum Acts (2022) and act-edited volume Words and Worlds: A Lexicon for DarkTimes. Das is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the British Academy and has received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Chicago, Edinburgh, Durham, and Bern.

Opening remarks: Christoph Emmrich, Department for the Study of Religion

This event is the keynote presentation in the Centre for South Asian Studies Graduate Symposium.


Asian Institute, Centre for South Asian Studies