Loading Events

« All Events

Dr. Leela Prasad to Present 2023 Dawe Lecture

March 15 @ 7:30 pm

Lecture Title: That Religion Which Underlies All Religions

Presenter: Dr. Leela Prasad, Professor of Religious Studies at Duke University

Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2023, 7:30 p.m.

Location: Early Center Lake Chapel, Union Presbyterian Seminary, 3401 Brook Road, Richmond, Virginia.

The lecture will be live-streamed as well.

About the Lecture: Dr. Leela Prasad will discuss Gandhi and the practice of generous orientation.

Sanmati, the practice of generous orientation, underlies Mahatma Gandhi’s moral ecology and ethic of pluralism. In Sanskrit, sanmati variously means “goodwill,” “wisdom,” “good sense,” or “truth perceiving.” In this lecture, Dr. Prasad will show how contemporary moments suffused with sanmati help us understand what Gandhi meant by “a religion which underlies all religions.” This understanding has immense potential; it yields a politics founded on collective-mindedness–one that appreciates and accepts religious difference/s.

About the Presenter: Leela Prasad is a Professor of Religious Studies at Duke University whose primary interests are the anthropology of ethics, with a focus on South Asia, colonialism and decoloniality, prison pedagogy and Gandhi, as well as religion and modernity. Her work is at the intersections of religious studies, anthropology, history, and literature.

Leela’s Ph.D. (1998) is in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania, and her two M.A.s are in English from the University of Hyderabad (1988), and also from Kansas State University (1991). She has received fellowships and awards from the American Academy of Religion, National Endowment for the Humanities, American Philosophical Society. In 202, she held a Fulbright-Nehru senior fellowship, and held it again in 2021-2022. Her first book, Poetics of Conduct, won the American Academy of Religion’s prize for the “Best First Book in History of Religions.”

In her free time, Leela can be found playing with her dogs and/or searching for more dogs she can adopt.


The Dawe Lecture is FREE and open to the public, yet registration is requested. The lecture will be presented on the Richmond campus as well as livestreamed.





The Dawe Lecture series is funded through The Donald and Nancy Dawe Fund for Emotional and Ethical Growth. The Fund was established thanks to a generous gift from Dr. Coleman Longan honoring Donald and Nancy Dawe. Dr. Dawe was professor emeritus of Union Presbyterian Seminary until his death in 2012.

The lecture series, which is held annually at Union Presbyterian Seminary, pays tribute to Dr. and Mrs. Dawe and promotes ethical and religious understanding. Because of Professor Dawe’s long-standing interest and commitments in the area of multi-religious and multi-cultural understanding and interfaith dialogue, this lecture series seeks to contribute to deepened awareness and insight in these areas of intellectual and especially practical religious concern.


Early Center
3401 Brook Road
Richmond, VA 23227 United States
+ Google Map