Elizabeth Cecil's picture
Affiliated Fellow
Elizabeth Cecil

Elizabeth’s research focuses on Early Medieval North India and the expansion of Śaiva religious networks and institutions among the new localized polities and economic centers that emerged following the decline of the Imperial Gupta rulers.  Her work incorporates the study of Sanskrit textual traditions—particularly the genre of narrative historiography called purāṇa and its subgenre, māhātmya—concerned with communicating religious identities and mapping sacred topography. Elizabeth has conducted fieldwork across South and South East Asia and cultivated multiple sub-specializations in the material and visual cultures of these regions: epigraphy, archeology, and traditions of temple architecture and iconography. In conceptualizing her work, she draws on phenomenological approaches to place and landscape studies current in archaeology and anthropology, engage discussions of the social life and agency of material objects, and incorporates perspectives from art and architectural history to describe how monuments and images are strategically employed to socialize spaces. 

While at the IIAS, Elizabeth is working to complete her first book manuscript, which explores the early history of the Pāśupata movement in North India with particular attention to monuments and temple sites associated with this community. 

Field

  • Religion and Material Culture in South Asia

Country of origin

USA

Period of stay at IIAS

02/02/2017 to 31/07/2017

Home institute

Research topic

Mapping the Pāśupata Landscape: Polity, Place, and the Śaiva Imaginary in Early Medieval North India

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