UPDATE: I received further new suggestions per email or personally. You can add yours in the comments below.
I cannot help but enjoying papers dealing with Mīmāṃsā (especially if from a philosophical viewpoint, as it happened during the last IABS), they are just more interesting to me, but I asked friends and colleagues to forget about their personal interests and to tell me which papers of the IABS and IDhC they enjoyed more and why. The following ones are the results I collected.
Chao-jung Ching, Secular Uses of Writing in Buddhist Monasteries in Kucha: not particularly critical, but one learns a lot through it, especially about Khotanese.
Brendan Gillon: interesting, “but most of all for his wonderful voice”, which can be followed also by non-native speakers (and if you think that this is not important, remember that English native speakers were a tiny minority at these conferences).
Natalie Gummer, Jan Nattier and Luis O. Gomez, i.e., the whole panel on Theories and Methods in the Tranlations of Mahāyāna Sūtras, “because they were good presented, but even more because they made me reflect about my own translations”.
Huanhuan He (with Leonard van der Kuijp), Turning the Wheels: Yet another look at the *Hetucakra[-ḍamaru]: “Though the idea itself had already been noticed and explained by another scholar many years ago without evoking attention in the international academic world, Huanhuan He elucidated how in his Hetucakra Dignāga figures out a good way to make beginners versed in his system of logic, in addition to philological remarks on the text. In her slides, she figured two concentric circles, one for the hetu’s distributions in sapakṣas, the other for that in vipakṣas, and she rotated the two circles round and round like a ḍamaru-drum. It was really funny and impressive in giving a new insight into the well-known text”.
Gergely Hidas, A Dhāraṇīsaṃgraha Manuscript at the Cambridge University Library: He was able to start from the particular and reach to the most general implications.
Karin Lang: clear, well-explained, good balance between speaking and slides. Perfect voice-speed.
Joseph Marino, Two Gāndhārī Saṃyuktāgama Sūtras of the Senior Collection: he spoke about the city as metaphor for nirvana, for the praxis and for the body of the practicant within Buddhism. Apparently a “hit” of the paper has been the explanation of why cities should not have holes in the walls which could have allowed cats to get in (in fact, ennemies used to set the tails of pets on fire in order to put fire on their households and, thus, on the whole city). (this paper is the one which has been recommended to me by the highest number of people)
Patrick McAllister: A bit imprecise, but one could feel that he cared about what he was saying.
Hiroshi Nemoto: Because he focused on a challenging topic, namely on how can
Alexander von Rospatt: informative and clear.
Ryo Sasaki: “a very interesting talk about the early debate tradition, and the different types of debate that can be found mentioned in Buddhist texts.” It “got me thinking about the relationship between these types of debates and the various classifications of dialogues that are found in contemporary formal argumentation research”
Mark Siderits: clear, perceptive, insightful.
Sara Uckelman: very interesting, “although she is not primarily an Indologist…or perhaps
Apparently easier was the list of what we did not like, i.e.:
- Speakers who speak as if they were vacuum-cleaner-sellers
- Speakers presenting their projects as if they were trying to “sell” them
- Speakers presenting their IT projects and explaining only their technical strenghts, with no reflection on which methodological choice they presuppose and which new critical questions they enable, as if they were an end in themselves
- Speakers presenting their IT projects without explaining which software or which encoding system they were using, but rather just explaining how the interface works
- Speakers distributing no handouts: for it is difficult to conceive questions if you have no written basis helping your reflections
- Speakers focusing on too narrow issue (at the IDhC).
- Speakers not respecting their time allotment: it is just disrespectful for others
- Speakers recycling the same paper (or at least the same slides) from the IABS to the IDhC
- Panels made of people who were not really experts in the field or did not really care about it
- Papers ignoring fundamental articles directly related to their topic
- Speakers speaking quickly and “as they were speaking to themselves”
I was striken by No. 5 (since I basically stopped distributing handouts several years back, thinking that they were just distracting. What do you think? Do you read hand outs? And when?
I also need to add something about No. 10. It has been applied to a person who really ignored a fundamental work dealing with his or her topic. Do not take it too strictly, or you will be stop attending conferences altogether.
As for No. 11, you can easily guess that, as a non-English native speaker, I deeply sympathise with the importance of speaking clearly.
You can find my summaries of some IABS papers here. Two IDhC papers are discussed here (Yoshimizu), and here and here (Kataoka). Should you wonder about many absences, please remember that I asked