31 March 2021
The Jaina-Prosopography Database, a new open access tool for the reconstruction of the social and literary history of the Jaina tradition, was launched by Claire Ozanne, Interim Director of SOAS, on 27 March 2021, at the 22nd Annual SOAS Jaina Studies Workshop.
The database was created by Professor Peter Flügel and Dr Kornelius Krūmpelmann of the Centre of Jaina Studies at SOAS in partnership with the Digital Humanities Institute at the University of Sheffield, the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune, and the Prakrit Pali Department of Gujarat University in Ahmedabad. The database was created for the cross-referencing, statistical mapping and visualisation of the complex historical data embedded in the vast corpus of Jaina manuscripts, inscriptions and print publications. At the heart of the database is an inductively generated taxonomy reflecting all relevant variations of historical data in the primary sources. The project was funded by the Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant 2016-454.
Dr Peter Flügel, Chair of the Centre of Jaina Studies said:
"The database offers an entirely new analytical tool to South Asian Studies and Jaina Studies in particular, offering new research opportunities to a variety of academic disciplines. It is hoped that the freely available tool will be widely used by the general public and by researchers from across the globe and that more collaborations in Jaina-Prosopography can be established in the emerging field of Digital Humanities."
In the last two and a half millennia the itinerant Jaina mendicant tradition exerted an important influence on Indian culture and society. From its region of origin in modern Bihar it spread across most parts of South Asia and beyond. In the process it segmented into numerous schools, sects, and lineages, which emerged and differentiated in complex interaction with local social and political configurations.