About the RBSN
The Regional Bhakti Scholars Network (RBSN) is a virtual community of scholars who study India’s diverse regional bhakti traditions in their broader historical, socio-political, intellectual, and literary contexts. The group’s main purpose is to provide a platform in which people with particular linguistic skills and knowledge bases to share and benefit from each other’s expertise. Members can enhance their own studies by posting questions to the group’s listserv, to discover patterns and connections across regions and languages. It encourages scholars to team up with other specialists to create conference panels and collaborative projects. Broadly, the network fosters the study of regional bhakti traditions as integral parts of South Asian history, literature, and culture. This includes vigorously questioning the term “bhakti” itself, how it has been constructed, and to what ends it has been used.
The RBSN grew out of unplanned and inspiring conversations between Jon Keune and Gil Ben-Herut at conferences, where comparing notes on Marathi and Kannada, Karnataka and Maharashtra, led them to new insights. To make such accidental discoveries more frequent and to bring others into the conversation, they founded the RBSN in December 2013. The group now maintains a listserv, organizes day-long workshops, and works to create resources for teaching and research about bhakti traditions.