Project title: The Construction of Religious Authority in the Tīrthayātrāparvan of the Mahābhārata

Project duration: 6 weeks

Description: In this project, the successful applicant will explore the narrative constructions of religious authority in the Tīrthāyātrāparvan of the great Sanskrit epic the Mahābhārata (approx. 200BCE–200CE). In this section of the epic, the Pāṇḍava heroes travel from pilgrimage spot (tirtha) to pilgrimage spot, encountering sages along the way, receiving teachings from them and bearing witness to their extraordinary feats. 

Expected outcomes and deliverables: The summer scholar will give an account of the pilgrimage sites traversed by the Pāṇḍavas and the sages they encounter and provide an analysis of the teachings imparted by these sages to the Pāṇḍavas. Finally, the scholar will offer an analysis of the devices the narrative uses to establish the charisma and authoritative status of these sages.

Primary Supervisor: Dr Adam Bowles, Senior Lecturer, School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry


Project title: Medicine, Law and Gender in Australian History

Project duration: 8 weeks

Description: This project will explore the ways medicine (including clinical medicine and psychiatry) was used in the courtroom in the 1970s and 1980s in Australia. The doctor was one of the key “expert” witnesses called at trial, and may also be required to give evidence at sentencing. Yet we know little of how medicine and the law intersect and collide, especially in Australia’s recent past. This project will explore medical writings on crime in the 1970s and/or 1980s, and how medicine and psychiatry understood criminal offences and potential treatment regimes.  The main source will be medical journals in Australia and overseas; medical jurisprudence texts; and government legislation. Some research in newspapers would also be of use.

Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Lisa Featherstone, School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry