The study of Jainism expands at UC Davis

February 18, 2021
Posted by Jeffrey Day

Thanks to a $1.5 million gift from longtime UC Davis supporter Mohini Jain and the recent hire of Assistant Professor Lynna Dhanani in the Department of Religious Studies, UC Davis is helping to increase the visibility of Jainism through research, academic and public programming, and course offerings.

“Our goal is to develop the Jain studies curriculum and help people learn about Jainism, one of the most influential religious traditions from the Indian subcontinent,” said Archana Venkatesan, chair of religious studies. “The relatively small number of Jains belies the religion’s large impact through its practices of nonviolence and vegetarianism. We want to integrate it into other religious studies areas and other fields, such as the medical humanities.”

Dhanani, who joined the department in the fall of 2020, will lead the development of Jain studies. She is a scholar of Jainism and other Indian religions, languages, cultural traditions and South Asian religious art forms. She lived and researched in India for several years and spent the 2019-20 academic year there examining the life and work of Muni Jambuvijaya, one of the most influential Jain monastic figures of the 20th century.

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