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(Photo: © Asitjain / Wikimedia Commons, cropped) CC BY-SA 3.0

Lecture by Professor Arnold Kaminsky (History, CSU Long Beach)

Monday, June 17, 2019
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
UCLA Campus
11282 Portola Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095
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The Gupta Empire (280-550 CE), which controlled much of the Northern part of the Indian subcontinent, played an instrumental role in the expansion of global trade, diffusion of world religions (especially Hinduism and Buddhism), innovative architectural forms and seminal scientific and technological innovations. It has been called the “Classical Age” and the “Golden Age” of India. These labels can be used to examine issues of periodization in Indian history, and perhaps lift the veil of Orientalism often imposed by historians on what is or is not “ancient,” “medieval,” or “modern.” A model for the study of the civilizations created by anthropologist Robert Redfield conceptualizes civilizations as cultural systems of interdependent, coexisting “great” and “little” traditions. In India, this means examining not just the great Sanskritic traditions of the elites, but as importantly the little traditions of the masses, often locally derived-- mainly the emergence of Bhakti (devotional) Hinduism and the puranic and literary traditions that informed this era. This raises questions about the assertion that the Guptan era saw the creation of a “common Indic culture that unified the people of the subcontinent.” But did it?

Arnold Kaminsky is Emeritus Professor of South Asian History at California State University, Long Beach, and former Chair of the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies. He was the Founding Director of the Yadunandan Center for India Studies at CSULB. His research interests lie in the area of Modern South Asian/Indian History, while his teaching interests include World, British Imperial and Southeast Asian History.

A strong advocate of linkages between university and K-12 educators, he is the recipient of awards from the National Foundation for the Improvement of Education Award, sponsored by NEA for enhancing understanding and curricular development of Asian history and culture in the Middle School; a NEH Focus Grant for “Infusing Southeast Asia into the Middle and High School World History Curriculum,” and a Freeman Foundation Grant to infuse Asia into the teacher education curriculum. In recognition of his efforts and the outstanding success of these projects, Dr. Kaminsky received one of the National Education Association’s highest honors, the William G. Carr Memorial Award. He also serves on the Senior Editorial Board of the Association for Asian Studies journal Education about Asia.


Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, UCLA International Institute, UCLA History-Geography Project