Stephanie Majcher
20212021

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Personal profile

Biography

Stephanie Majcher is Lecturer in Sanskrit in the School of Culture, History & Language. Her primary research interests are the composition of Vedic texts, early South Asian perspectives on language, and how modern approaches to textual analysis have influenced the interpretation of Vedic teachings and culture. Her research questions the divide between modern and traditional understandings of Sanskrit and asks how our methods can benefit by listening closely to what Vedic texts say about themselves. In particular, her work grapples with the way that modern approaches can be narrow and unable to accommodate the nuances that cultural understandings of language can bring to textual interpretation.

Stephanie’s other major research interest is the study, translation, and digitization of ancient Buddhist manuscripts from Gandhāra. She is part of an international team of scholars and digital humanists developing the capacity for digital editions that reach beyond small groups of expert scholars to wider academic communities. Stephanie’s current contribution to the study of Gandhāran Buddhist manuscripts is the critical examination of how these existing developments can be a means of “digital repatriation” – making inaccessible scholarly research available to cultural communities and encouraging the open sharing of knowledge.

Prior to commencing at the ANU, Stephanie held numerous roles at the University of Sydney as a lecturer (Sanskrit, Asian Studies), tutor (Buddhist Studies), research consultant and assistant. She is a member of the Managing Committee of the Journal of Gandhāran Buddhist Texts (USYD Open Journals) and a member of the Languages and Linguistics Editorial Board (ANU Press). She has been teaching Sanskrit language both at universities and in the wider community since 2012.

Qualifications

BA Hons (University Medal), PhD, University of Sydney

Research interests

Cultural perspectives on language; textual analysis, interpretation, and translation; religious cultures of South Asia; Vedic studies; manuscript cultures; digital repatriation

Researcher's projects

Stephanie is currently working on a study of the Āraṇyakas. This study presents a close textual analysis of these little-known Vedic texts and challenges the way they have been interpreted in modern scholarship on the Veda – as a miscellaneous collection of texts – by highlighting their internal coherence and the role that grammatical structures play in demonstrating their nuanced perspectives on language. She is also producing a digital edition of Robert Senior Scroll 13, a 2nd century CE Gandhāran Buddhist birch-bark manuscript. This will be accompanied by an in-depth study published in the Gandhāran Buddhist Texts series, University of Washington Press.

  • CHL Flagship Project, “Identity & Ways of Knowing” (2021)
  • Asia-Pacific Innovation Program, “ANUBhasha Project: Textual Digitization and Repatriation in South Asia” (2022)
  • 18th World Sanskrit Conference (Australian Organization Committee and Vedic Panel, 2023)

Teaching

Stephanie is convenor and teacher of the second- and fourth-year Sanskrit language programs at ANU and through Open University Australia (OUA). These courses teach a broad range of Sanskrit literatures, from storytelling and epics to intellectual treatises, commentaries, and Vedic texts. She is also convenor of the Indian and South Asian Studies program.

Stephanie regularly teaches Sanskrit language immersion programs, open to the general public.

Education/Academic qualification

Indian Studies, PhD, University of Sydney

Award Date: 4 May 2017

External positions

Editorial Team, Journal of Gandhāran Buddhist Texts

2020 → …

Governance and Management Collective, READ Workbench

2019 → …

Australian Specialist, Buddhist Texts Research Group - USYD

2018 → …

Keywords

  • PA Classical philology
  • Sanskrit
  • Old Indo-Aryan
  • Middle Indo-Aryan
  • BL Religion
  • South Asian Religious Traditions

Expertise Areas

  • Vedic Studies
  • Sanskrit Language
  • Gandhari Language
  • Gandharan Buddhist Manuscripts
  • Digital Humanities
  • Religious Studies

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