Amy Allocco, an assistant professor in religious studies, presented an invited paper titled "Nagas in the Kali Yuga: Reverence, Fear, and Karmic Retribution" at a multidisciplinary workshop focused on relationships between human and nonhuman animals.
This three-day workshop (Oct. 1 – 3, 2010), titled “Rethinking the Nonhuman: Asian, Continental, and Comparative Perspectives,” was held at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. It brought together philosophers and scholars working in religious studies and was fully funded by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The papers of the 17 international participants will be collected into a special issue of the Journal for Critical Animal Studies and comprise an edited volume.
Allocco’s paper drew on her ethnographic fieldwork and textual study of sources connected to Hindu snake (naga) traditions in southern India. In it she considered what recognizing nagas as manifestations of the snake goddess implies about how snakes (and, potentially, other animals) must be understood and treated by humans, and examined the ways in which the Kali Yuga (the present, degraded world age, according to Hindu cosmology) is invoked in personal narratives concerning the ethics of human behavior toward snakes and the natural world.