Dr. Lisa N. Owen   
Fulbright-Nehru Project Title: "Rocks, Caves, and Divinity: Creating Places of Worship in
Medieval Southern India"
Field of Study: Study of India
Home Institution in US: University of North Texas, Denton, TX
Host Institution in India: American Institute of Indian Studies, Delhi  
Start date/Month in India: July 2013 and Summer of 2014 (serial grant)
Duration of grant: Four months

Brief Bio:
Dr. Lisa Owen earned a PhD (2006) in art history at the University of Texas, Austin, and is currently an associate professor at the University of North Texas, Denton. While her teaching embraces all aspects of South Asian art, Dr. Owen's research focuses on ancient and medieval rock-cut monuments in India. She is particularly interested in the ways that sacred space is articulated in this medium and what this means for worshippers and devotional practices. Her interests also include the production of imagery in ancient India, patterns of patronage, and how visual forms express certain religious values and goals.

Dr. Owen has presented her work at numerous venues, including the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, the India International Centre, Oxford University and the University of London. Her publications include her recent book Carving Devotion in the Jain Caves at Ellora (Brill, 2012) and an essay in an edited volume, Archaeology and Text: The Temple in South Asia (Oxford University Press, 2010). Dr. Owen has also published her work in Artibus Asiae, Marg, and the International Journal of Jaina Studies.

Dr. Owen's Fulbright project is an art historical study of rock-reliefs in southern India that are overlooked in the scholarship on temple architecture. Unlike traditional cave temples that provide an interior space for worship activities, rock-reliefs are natural rock formations that are carved with imagery across their expansive surfaces. How, then, is devotional space established for these monuments? What types of worship activities might have occurred at these sacred spots? How do we reconcile rock-reliefs with more traditional forms of rock-cut architecture? She aims to address these fundamental questions in her project that examines rock-reliefs at the sites of Badami in Karnataka and Undavalli in Andhra Pradesh.