Asian Ethnology Podcast

Interview with McComas Taylor: Contemporary Critical Theory and Narrative Sanskrit Texts

Interviewer: Ben Dorman, co-editor Asian Ethnology

Recorded 13 September 2018, Canberra, Australia

McComas Taylor, Associate Professor and Reader in Sanskrit at the Australian National University, discusses how his research lies at the intersection of contemporary critical theory and Sanskrit narrative texts. What makes these texts powerful? What makes them authoritative? What makes them worth copying out by hand century after century? In exploring these questions, he discusses how he applied an ethnographical approach to working on The Bhagavatapurana, interviewing audiences and performers and applying performance theory (published as Seven Days of Nectar: Contemporary Oral Performance of the Bhagavatapurana, Oxford University Press, 2016). He also talks about teaching Sanskrit as a living tradition, and teaching the language online.

Publication discussed in this episode

Taylor, McComas. Seven Days of Nectar: Contemporary Oral Performance of the Bhagavatapurana. Oxford University Press, 2016.  

Music used with kind permission of the performer, shamisen master Koji Yamaguchi.

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