Past Events of Fall 2006

Brown Bag Event
Southern Asian Institute invites you to attend a Brown Bag Lecture:

"Navigating Development and Change: The Maldives in the 21st Century"
with Donovan Storey
Senior Lecturer in Development Studies, New Zealand
Date: Wednesday, December 6th 2006
Time: 12:30pm – 2:00 pm
Place: IAB, Room 1134

Join SAI for a presentation tracing the development experience of the Maldives, a scattered island state in the Indian Ocean undergoing significant change. Over the past three decades the Maldives has experienced rapid development within a controlled political environment and from a limited economic base. The lecture seeks to assess the past 30 years of the country's development, especially focusing on regional development, poverty, and sustainability.

Donovan Storey is Senior Lecturer in Development Studies at Massey University in New Zealand. His research and teaching interests are in cities, politics/governance, development theory, sustainable development and development practice. He has also consulted for the Asian Development Bank, AusAID, NZAID, and Oxfam.

Mary Keatinge Das Lecture
Professor Jitendra Mohanty, Temple University
"Studying Navya-Nyaya in the Sanskrit College, Calcutta."
Date: December 4, 2006
Time: 4-6 pm
Place: IAB 1512
Reception: 6-7, same room

Navya-Nyaya is a school of Indian logic which thrived in Nabadwip, Bengal (and in Mithila, Bihar) from 11th century onwards for about 500 years. Mohanty will present one philosopher's personal response to it around the sixties of the last century.

Jitendra Mohanty is Professor of Philosophy at Temple University and obtained his PhD. from University of Gottingen. He is Past-President of the Society for Asian, a Gold Medalist of the Asiatic Society, and recipient of the Humboldt Prize. His most recent publications include Between Two Worlds: East and West, an Autobiography, 2002 and Classical Indian Philosophy, 2002.

Brown Bag Event
Southern Asian Institute invites you to attend a
Film Screening of Paris, Autumn
A Short Film by Pushpamala N.
Date: Wednesday, November 29th
Time: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Place: IAB, Room 1134

Pushpamala N was born in Bangalore, India in 1956. She has had many solo exhibitions in India (The Anguished Heart, Gallery Chemould and Nature Morte, Delhi, 2003) and the United States (Indian Lady, a Retrospective, Bose Pacia Gallery, New York ). In France she took part in the Indian Summer exhibition, ENSBA, Paris, 2005 and L'Inde dans tous les sens, Espace Louis Vuitton, Paris 2006.

*The film will be followed by a conversation with the Director

SAI Social
The Southern Asian Institute Presents:
The DESI Social
Date: Monday, November 20th, 2006
Time: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Place: IAB Room 1134

Brown Bag Lecture
Southern Asian Institute invites you to attend a Brown Bag Lecture with:
Vyjayanthi Rao
"Ruins and Recollections: Memory, Historicity and Development in South Asia"
Date: Wednesday, November 15th
Time: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Place: IAB, Room 1134

Most anthropological study of 'development' episodes focus on the future of Culture as an effect of modernized History. Professor Rao looks at the cultural implications of technologies and practices associated with 'development' through fieldwork at a site that is both destroyed and reconstituted simultaneously by a mega-dam and by an archaeological project to salvage cultural heritage.

Vyjayanthi Rao, PhD University of Chicago, is Assistant Professor in Anthropology at The New School. Her publications include Heritage, Habitat, and Diversity, for UNESCO and "Risk and the City: Bombay, Mumbai and other Theoretical Departures" in India Review, April 2006 and a forthcoming book based on her dissertation.

Brown Bag Lecture
Southern Asian Institute invites you to attend a Brown Bag Lecture:
"Regulator's Role in Reforming Indian Power Sector"
with Pramod Deo
Chairman, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission
Date: Monday, November 13th
Time: 12:00pm – 1:30 pm
Place: IAB, Room 1134

Power shortage is widely regarded as the key bottleneck facing the Indian industry today. Because the provision of this key input is largely in the hands of the states, reforms in this sector have been particularly difficult. The Electricity Act 2003, which genuinely opens the door to the private sector and to independent regulation via state electricity regulatory agencies, promises to bring respite to the industry as well as consumers.

Dr. Pramod Deo, Chairman of Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission, is directly involved in reform in the key state of Maharashtra, the home to India's industrial capital--Bombay. He earned his Ph.D. in Infrastructure Economics and authored three books on energy planning, energy management and regulatory practice.

Brown Bag Event
Southern Asian Institute invites you to attend a Brown Bag Documentary Presentation and Discussion with:
Tulsi Bhandari
"Maoist Insurgency and Human Rights Crisis in Nepal"
Date: Wednesday, November 8th
Time: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Place: IAB, Room 1134

Please join us for a discussion on the ongoing armed conflict in Nepal between the Maoist rebels and the existing monarchy. Since the Maoist launched their armed struggle in 1996, the conflict has claimed thousands of lives and many more have been displaced. In April 2006, King Gyanendra agreed to abandon direct rule for a parliamentary style government following weeks of street protests and strikes.

Tulsi Bhandari, MSW is a Nepali social worker and human rights advocate who was recently in Nepal filming a documentary on the escalating human rights crisis, effects of violence, and struggle for democracy from different perspectives.

Contact: Batool (

Brown Bag Event
Southern Asian Institute invites you to attend a Brown Bag Lunch Talk with:
Purvi Shah
"Terrain Tracks"
Date: Wednesday, November 1st
Time: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Place: International Affairs Building, Room 1134

Purvi Shah, Executive Director of Sakhi for South Asian Women, will read from her first collection of poetry, Terrain Tracks, which won the 2005 Many Voices Project prize. Drawing upon her experiences as an immigrant woman born in India and having grown up in the United States, these lyrical poems thread travel and emotion, charting out observations on migration and belonging.

The pieces explore how movement is both potential and loss. Travel, and the physicality of different cities, is often related to growth and exploration, the adventure of the new. But a central current of these poems is longing — the residue of belonging to different terrains.

Purvi Shah is Executive Director of Sakhi, a community-based anti-domestic violence organization. Her poems have appeared in a number of prominent journals including Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Crab Orchard Review, Descant, Many Mountains Moving, and Weber Studies.

Contact: Batool (

Distinguished Lecture
"Inheriting BJP's India: Thoughts on the UPA Government"
Aijaz Ahmad
Date: October 23, 2006
Time: 6-8pm
Place: Rm 1512 International Affairs (SIPA.)

India has gone from one coalition government to another, each supported by a radically different set of forces 'from the outside'. This was originally construed as a great shift of power from one end of the political and ideological spectrum to the other. What has changed, and what remains the same? Aijaz Ahmad, the Senior Editoral Consultant at Frontline magazine, offers a mid-term assessment of a whole range of domestic and foreign policies, from poverty alleviation to corporatization, from `war on terror' to the communal-secular divides, from hydrocarbons to nuclear fuels, and from Indo-US relations to Indo-Pak relations.

Brown Bag Event
Southern Asian Institute invites you to attend a Brown Bag Lunch Film Screening:
No More Tears Sister

Date: Wednesday, October 25th
Time: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Place: International Affairs Building, Room 1134

"No more Tears Sister: Anatomy of Hope and Betrayal" documents the story of human rights activist Rajani Thiranagama, assassinated in 1989. The film, made by Canadian filmmaker Helene Klowdawsky recreates Thiranagama's story as told through the voices of those that knew her. Her story is inextricably linked to the violent Tamil-Sinhalese conflict that has engulfed Sri Lanka for most of its modern history. The documentary is set during the violent ethnic conflict that has enveloped Sri Lanka over decades

Brown Bag Event
Southern Asian Institute invites you to attend a Brown Bag Illustrative Lecture with:

Geeti Sen
"Mother India: Politics of the Nation 1905 - 2000"
Date: Wednesday October 18th, 2006
Time: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Place: IAB, Room 1134

India's aspirations of becoming a nation were invested in a single luminous image, conceived first in 1882 as a 'holy' icon of the country, stirring millions across the country to patriotic fervor in 1905. Over the span of the 20th century the image of Bharat Mata evolved as a symbol to reflect the political aspirations of every decade. She appears on banned posters of militant activists, likened to the goddess Kali. She appears on Congress posters with Gandhi, Nehru and political leaders in jail. Installed now in her own temple in Hardwar in 1983, she is incorporated into the Hindu pantheon - now seen as a religious and no longer a secular icon.

Geeti Sen is an art historian trained at Bryn Mawr and the Univiersities of Chicago (MA) and Calcutta (PhD). Her major books include Paintings from the Akbar Nama (1985); Image and Imagination, Five Contemporary Artists in India (1996); Bindu: Space and Time in Raza's Vision (1997); and Feminine Fables: Imagining the Indian Woman in Painting, Photography and Cinema (2002). Geeti is at the Asian Cultural Council working on cultural memory and dual identities.

Brown Bag Event
Southern Asian Institute invites you to attend Brown Bag Lunch Film Screening and Presentation with:

Yousuf Saeed
"Shared Culture, Literature and Music of South Asia"
Short Films by Yousuf Saeed: Basant, Muharram, Khayal Darpan
Date: Wednesday, October 11th, 2006
Time: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Place: IAB, Room 1134

Yousuf Saeed films portray South Asia's multi-cultural traditions through music and literature. Some of his important films include a 5-part documentary series on Ladakh and a 4-part series on the sufi poet Amir Khusrau. Many of his films have screened at the Mumbai International Film Festival (1998 and 2000) and the Marseilles Short Film Festival (2006).

Brown Bag Event
Southern Asian Institute invites you to attend Brown Bag Lunch Talk:
Unni Krishnan
"The Mystery of Intangible Capital: Bridging the Economic Divide in India"
Date: Monday, October 2nd 2006
Time: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Place: IAB, Room 1134

Unni Krishnan is Country Manager for Brand-Finance India. He will discuss how intangible capital can play a role in bridging the gap between developed economies and devloping economies. His research includes studies on India's most valued brands and the value of intangible assests in India.

Distinguished Lecture Series
"A Thousand Genocides Now: Gujarat in the modern imaginary of violence"
by Prof. Kamala Visweswaran
Dept. of Anthropology and Asian Studies
University of Texas

Date: Monday, September 25th 2006
Time: 4-6pm
Place: Room 1512, International Affairs Building 420 W 118th St., corner of Amsterdam

Abstract: What futures does the past make possible? How does one write the ethnography of genocide?
Using the recent communal violence in Gujarat as a "telling example," this presentation explores the generativity of genocide as part of the paradox of the modern consciousness of violence.

Prof. Visweswaran will be introduced by Prof. Partha Chatterjee (Dept. of Anthropology, Columbia University)

Wine and cheese will be served following the Lecture
No RSVP is necessary.

Brown Bag Event
Dr. Dana Burde on
Education Programs in Afghanistan:
Assessing the Impact of Aid on Education
Date: Wednesday, September 20th, 2006
Time: 12:30-2:00 pm
Place: 1134 International Affairs Building , 420 West 118th St. , Columbia University , New York, NY 10027

At this talk Dr. Dana Burde will discuss her recent study of education programs supported by international organizations in Afghanistan. Dr. Burde is an Associate Research Scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War & Peace Studies at Columbia University. Her research focuses on education in emergencies and as a tool for social reconstruction in post-conflict regions. Recent publications include: Education in Crisis Situations: Mapping the Field , USAID 2005; Save the Children's Afghan Refugee Education Program in Balochistan, Pakistan 1995-2005.

Coffee and tea provided.

Questions? Please email Batool Hassan at

Meet and Greet
Join us for the 1st Chai and Chat Event of the year!
Date: Friday, September 15th
Time: 4 pm (until samosas, masala chai and wine run out)
Place: Southern Asian Institute Seminar Room, 11th floor of IAB

Mix and mingle with faculty and students from various schools and programs at the University. Share your summer South Asia stories, exchange ideas and plans for the year ahead, and help kick off the 2006-2007 academic term!

Samosas, masala chai, wine and beer will be served.

Brown Bag Event
Summer in South Asia:
Stories from the Field
*All you would want to know about working in South Asia but were afraid to ask

Date: Wednesday, September 13th
Time: 12:30pm–2:00pm
Place: Room 1134 IAB (420 West 118th Street)

Come hear fellow SIPA students talk about their recent experiences working with UNICEF, UNDP, NGOs, and private consulting in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

Bottom Bar