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Annual Thomas R. Trautmann Honorary Lecture | The Exemption that Proves the Rule: Reading Law Between the Lines of South Asian Foundation Charters

Timothy Lubin, Jessie Ball duPont Professor of Religion, Adjunct Professor of Law, and Head of the Law, Justice and Society Program at Washington and Lee University
Friday, March 15, 2024
4:00-5:30 PM
Michigan Room Michigan League Map
This talk presents examples of how medieval South Asian inscriptions, though created to address quite particular circumstances and to serve immediate purposes, can be analyzed to disclose otherwise unrecorded laws and legal principles that had general validity at the time of their inscribing. It will focus on foundation charters: grant decrees that confer on the beneficiary property rights that can include tax exemption and various other immunities and privileges, including a degree of juridical autonomy. By carving out exemptions to otherwise applicable rules and norms, such charters allow us to reconstruct some of what is implicit: the laws generally enforced by royal and other civil authorities. Furthermore, they tell us some important things about the relationship between religion and state.

Timothy Lubin is the Jessie Ball duPont Professor of Religion, Adjunct Professor of Law, and Head of the Law, Justice and Society program at Washington and Lee University. With degrees from Columbia University (BA, and PhD in the study of religion) and Harvard University (MTS), he taught earlier at Harvard and the University of Virginia. He has published widely on shifts in Brahmanical doctrine and ritual in ancient and medieval South Asia, the propagation of Dharmaśāstra (sacred law) and juridical norms reflected in inscriptions, and how these were appropriated in diverse regions including Nepal and Southeast Asia, where they inflected and were in turn transformed by local traditions. This work informs his contributions to the comparative study of premodern law.

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Michigan League
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Asia, Law
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for South Asian Studies, International Institute, Asian Languages and Cultures