SAI_Title

Past Events of Spring 2010

Monday, January 25 – South Asia Graduate Students Forum
Presentation by Tyler Williams (Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures)

"Manuscript Anthologies of Bhakti Poetry: Textualization, Canonization, Literization"

What can anthologies of bhakti poetry-- essentially, collections of the devotional songs of the saint-poets from the 16th through the 19th centuries-- tell us about the growth and development of devotional communities, theological distinctions, and literary genres? This presentation will briefly outline how a study of the contents, structure, performance, and even marginalia of these manuscripts can reveal important and sometimes surprising clues about the history of not only devotional movements, but also of the 'literization' of the vernaculars and the advent of writing in various communities.

Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Location: Knox Hall, Room 208, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue

Tuesday, January 26 - Bhutan Studies Initiative
"The Korean Wave in Bhutan: A Preliminary Research Report"
a talk by Dawa Lhamo (Royal University of Bhutan)

Since the late 1990s, the global appeal of Korean pop-culture products--commonly referred to as "Hallyu" or the Korean Wave--has captured the attention of pundits, scholars, and policymakers. There is at least one region of the world, however, whose predilection for Korean popular culture has largely escaped outside notice. That place is the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, where television was introduced only in 1999. Today in Thimphu, the nation's capital, young people enthusiastically emulate Seoul hairstyles and fashions, while Hollywood and Bollywood productions face growing competition from Korean films and melodramas. This talk presents a rare glimpse of the Korean Wave as it laps on some of the world's highest shores.

Dawa Lhamo heads the English language program at the Institute of Language and Cultural Studies at the Royal University of Bhutan. Her research, which is in its preliminary stages, focuses on the impact of the Korean Wave and identity issues among Bhutanese youth.

Time: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Location: 403 Kent Hall, 116th Street & Amsterdam Avenue

Sponsors: Center for Korean Research; Columbia Bhutan Studies Initiative, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures; Korean Cultural Service, New York; The Korea Society; Weatherhead East Asian Institute. This event is made possible by the generous support of the Donald & Shelley Rubin Foundation.
Friday, January 29 - Bhutan Studies Initiative
"Bhutan Studies Workshop: Introduction to Bhutan Studies"
By Dr. Francoise Pommaret

With brief presentations on current Bhutan-related initiatives at Columbia by selected faculty
Welcome: Prof. Gregory Pflugfelder
Concluding remarks: Prof. Gray Tuttle

Time: 12:00 - 2:00pm
Location: Room 918, International Affairs Building, at 420 W 118th St. & Amsterdam

Sponsors: Center for Korean Research; Columbia Bhutan Studies Initiative, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures; Korean Cultural Service, New York; The Korea Society; Weatherhead East Asian Institute. This events is made possible by the generous support of the Donald & Shelley Rubin Foundation.

Monday, February 1 – South Asia Graduate Students Forum
A talk by James Hare (Religion Department)

"Print and Proliferation: Nabhadas's Bhaktamal in the Colonial Context"

During the nineteenth-century, print editions of Nabhadas's Bhaktamal proliferated. The arrival of print, however, did not bring about a radical transformation of this tradition. The technology of print, as well as the colonial context which brought mass printing to South Asia, did not immediately lead to fixity and standardization. It did, however, alter the Bhaktamal tradition in unexpected ways. Print allowed relatively separate communities of interpretation to come into sustained contact and debate for the first time. Far from leading to standardization, early printed editions of the Bhaktamal highlight the variation found within the manuscript tradition. Print helped to carry this tradition into new contexts. The College of Fort William in Calcutta printed selections from this text as an example of exemplary Brajbhasa. Print capitalists such as Naval Kishore published editions that brought this work to new readerships, and European scholars began to acknowledge the Bhaktamal as a mine for information about various religious communities.

Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Location: Knox Hall, Room 208, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue

Monday, February 8 – University Seminar
"New galleries for Islamic and later South Asian art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: a preview"
a talk by Navina Najat Haidar (Associate Curator, Department of Islamic Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art)

ABSTRACT: Since 2003 the Metropolitan Museum of Art has been working towards updating, expanding and reinstalling its galleries for the collections of the Department of Islamic Art. New galleries are due to open in the fall of 2011 following many years of extensive planning, research, design and construction. Haidar's paper will give a preview of the installation that the museum plans to unveil next year.
A new approach to art of the Indian subcontinent is a special feature of the space which will contain major galleries dedicated to South Asian art from c. 1500. The hybrid nature of the material poses special challenges to the parameters of ‘Islamic art' as do other parts of the collection. Fresh approaches to presenting these important works of art in the most appropriate historical and cultural context will be discussed in my paper. I also hope to show some of the masterpieces of the collection in my presentation.

Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Location: Room 1, Faculty House, 64 Morningside Drive (between 116th – 118th Streets)

Click here for directions to the meeting at Faculty House.

The talk will be followed by a no-host dinner (about $22) at Faculty House. If you wish to attend the Seminar Dinner following Dr. Haidar's talk, please RSVP as soon as possible by notifying the University Seminar rapporteur, James Hare (email: jph2101@columbia.edu).

Tuesday, February 9 – Lecture
"Beyond Bollywood: The Indian New Wave and Ritwak Ghatak, Kumar Shahani and Mani Kaul"

Amrit Gangar (independent scholar)

Co-sponsored by the Film Program, School of the Arts

Amrit Gangar is a Mumbai-based independent writer on cinema and art, film historian, curator, documentary filmmaker and producer. He has been working in the field of cinema in various capacities for over three decades. His most recent publications include Sohrab Modi: The Great Mughal of Historicals (2008); Paul Zils and the Indian Documentary (2003); Satyajit Ray Ani Tyanche Chitrapat (Marathi, 2002). Gangar has curated film programs and workshops in France, India, Norway, Sweden, and the U.K. As a production manager and line producer, he has worked on numerous documentary and feature films in Denmark, India, and Germany, including the 2007 Oscar nominated feature film, After the Wedding.

Time: 6:30pm – 8:00pm
Location: Knox Hall, Room 208, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue

Monday, February 14 – Mary Keatinge Das Lecture
A talk by Zoya Hasan (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
"Reconciling Equity with Growth: Congress Party Politics, 2004 -09"

At Jawaharlal Nehru University, Zoya Hasan is Professor of Political Science, where she has served as Chairperson of the Centre for Political Studies, as well as Director of the Programme for the Study of Discrimination and Exclusion and the Women’s Studies Programme. Educated at Aligarh Muslim University and Pennsylvania State University, Hasan has taught at Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi, and she was a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Zurich and Edinburgh. Hasan has been a fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, at the Rockefeller Centre in Bellagio, at Maison Des Sciences Del’ Homme in Paris, at the Centre for Modern Oriental Studies in Berlin, and at the Harvard University Asia Studies Center. Hasan served as a Member of the National Commission for Minorities of India from 2006 -2009, and has worked on research projects for the Indian Council of Social Science Research, the Ford Foundation, and the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development.

Professor Hasan is the author of Quest for Power: Oppositional Movements and Post-Congress Politics in Uttar Pradesh (1998) and Politics of Inclusion: Caste, Minority and Representation (2009). She co-authored Parties and Party Politics in India (Oxford University Press, 2000); and Unequal Citizens: A Study of Muslim Women In India (2004); and Educating Muslim Girls: Comparision of Five Indian Cities (2005). Her co-edited volumes include Transforming India: Social Dynamics of Democracy (2000); India's Living Constitution: Ideas, Practices and Controversies (2005); and In a Minority: Essays on Muslim Women in India (2005). Her current book project is entitled, Congress after Indira Gandhi: Democracy and Transformation.

Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Location: Knox Hall, Room 208, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue

Monday, February 22 – South Asia Graduate Students Forum
A talk by Zahra Sabri (Department of Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures)

"From Delhi to Karachi: The Problem of Muhajir Identity"

Har ek baat pe kahte ho tum kih tu kyaa hai, Tumhin kaho kih ye andaaz-e guftagu kyaa hai.
Ghalib

(At every point, you say, 'what are you!', You tell (me) yourself, what sort of a way to talk is this?)

Sixty-two years after partition, the word muhajir (one who has quit his country) is used in lay and academic contexts for certain groups of people (and their descendents) who left present-day India for Pakistan after partition. With the rise of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) in the 1980s and the party’s dramatic and sustained electoral success, there has been an overwhelming tendency to treat muhajir identity as synonymous with the MQM. This paper argues that muhajir identity is independent from, and predates, the MQM. Delineating the boundaries of who is a muhajir remains difficult: many people may fit the description of muhajir, but fail to identify themselves as such. Three factors emerge in this regard: instance of ancestral migration from India, an intense association with the Urdu language, and identification with a particular urban, middle-class philosophy. Given the demographic concentration of muhajirs in the metropolis of Karachi, it becomes difficult, beyond a certain point, to differentiate muhajir identity from a Karachitte or a wider middle-class identity. Given scholarly conceptions of muhajirs as the ashraf and the ashraf as an elite class associated with Urdu, and given a general muhajir self-articulation as an, or as the, ‘educated and civilized’ class, the popularity of a ‘militant’ party like MQM among the muhajirs has puzzled many. In the background of recurrent bouts of violence in Karachi in this past month, this paper argues that the key to the puzzle lies in the significance of Delhi, and now Karachi, in muhajir narratives.

Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Location: Knox Hall, Room 208, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue

Tuesday, February 23 - Roundtable on Afghanistan
The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting presents

"Afghanistan: The Human Factor"

Co-sponsored by the Middle East Institute, the South Asia Institute, and the Graduate School of Journalism

Moderator: Jon Sawyer, Executive Director, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

Respondent: Dr. Hassan Abbas, Quaid-i-Azam Chair in Pakistani Studies, South Asia Institute and School of International and Public Affairs

Panelists:
  • Vanessa Gezari's forthcoming book assesses the US military's Human Terrain program, which embeds social scientists and anthropologists with troops in Afghanistan. Her reporting has been featured on NPR and in The Washington Post Magazine.
  • Jason Motlagh's reporting focused on civilian casualties, with on-the-scene accounts on the aftermath of coalition attacks in western Afghanistan last summer. His reporting has been featured in TIME, The Economist, The Virginia Quarterly Review and The New Republic.
  • Journalist/filmmaker Nir Rosen tackles conventional wisdom in "The Limits of Counterinsurgency," contending that the results in Iraq were less than advertised and likely to be worse still in Afghanistan. His recent reporting has been featured in Mother Jones and Boston Review.
  • Jon Sawyer founded the Pulitzer Center in 2006 after a 31-year career with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that included 13 years as the newspaper's Washington bureau chief. His assignments have taken him to some five dozen countries.
  • Dr. Hassan Abbas is Quaid-i-Azam Chair Professor at the South Asia Institute and the School of International and Public Affairs, and a Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the Asia Society. His latest book, Pakistan's Drift into Extremism: Allah, the Army and America's War on Terror (M.E. Sharpe) has been on bestseller lists in India and Pakistan and was widely reviewed internationally.
Time: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Location: 3rd Floor Lecture Hall, Graduate School of Journalism, 116th Street and Broadway

Monday, March 1 – Distinguished Lecturer Series
A talk by Thomas Blom Hansen (Visiting Professor, Anthropology Department; University of Amsterdam)

"The Unwieldy Fetish: Desire and Disavowal of Indian-ness in South Africa"

Co-sponsored by the Institute of African Studies

Thomas Blom Hansen is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam. He has previously held positions at Yale University, University of Edinburgh, University of Natal (Durban), and Roskilde University (Denmark) and Copenhagen University. Hansen is currently appointed Visiting Professor in the Department of Anthopology at Columbia. His publications include The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu nationalism in Modern India (1999); Wages of Violence: Naming and identity in postcolonial Bombay (2001). He has co-edited a number of volumes with Finn Stepputat, most recently States of Imagination: Ethnographic Explorations of the Postcolonial State (2001) and Sovereign Bodies: Citizens, Migrants and states in the postcolonial world (2005). Hansen is currently working on a book entitled "Melancholia of Freedom: Anxieties and nostalgia in a South African township," about religious revival and the everyday meanings of freedom and belonging in post-apartheid South Africa; and is co-editing a volume with Oskar Verkaaik entitled "Urban Charisma."

Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Location: Knox Hall, Room 208, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue

Tuesday, March 2 - Film Screening
Jinnah (1999, 110 Minutes)

Co-sponsored by the Organization of Pakistani Students

Muhammad Ali Jinnah played an instrumental role in shaping the social landscape and political history of South Asia. The evolution of his political thought, from advocating Hindu-Muslim unity within one, independent India, to demanding the creation of a Pakistani nation to protect the Muslim minority, foretold a narrative of India-Pakistan relations. This film, starring Christopher Lee and Shashi Kapoor, provides a unique account of Jinnah’s ascension to political leadership, as well as a narrative of the independence movement and British partition of the Indian sub-continent.

Time: 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Location: Knox Hall, Room 208, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue

Wednesday, March 3 - Books & Authors Talk
The Program in Narrative Medicine presents

"Mothers for Sale: The Women of Kolkata's Sex Trade"
a talk by Shamita Das Dasgupta

Co-sponsored by the South Asia Institute, with the generous help of MBS Vox/Commonhealth

Anti-domestic violence activist and faculty at NYU Law School, Shamita Das Dasgupta reads from her book Mothers for Sale, which is based on hundreds of interviews of women and children involved in the sex trade in Kolkata, India. This "urgently needed book" focuses on motherhood, sex work, and human rights in national and international contexts. A founder of the pioneering South Asian American anti-domestic violence organization, Manavi, Dasgupta will draw from her work in feminist movements in the U.S. and India. She will also discuss her latest project, a translation of the iconic Our Bodies, Ourselves for West Bengal, India.

Time: 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Location: The Faculty Club of CUMC (446 P&S Building), 630 W. 168th Street between Broadway & Fort Washington Avenue

Monday, March 8 – University Seminar
"Moving Forward with the Legal Empowerment of Women in Pakistan?"

a talk by Anita M. Weiss, Professor of International Studies, University of Oregon

ABSTRACT
Consensus remains elusive in identifying what constitutes women’s rights and which legal reforms can best secure these rights in Pakistan.
Ongoing political crises have important ramifications for promoting legislation to secure women’s rights, including banning forced marriages and marriage in exchange for vengeance, reverse discriminatory inheritance practices, and counter sexual harassment and domestic violence. The current PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) administration actively uses the rhetoric of advocating for women’s empowerment, although its track record thus far remains limited. In addition, many of the recent legal reforms associated with ensuring women’s rights are clearly counter to what the majority of Islamist political groups argue is necessary to secure them.

Ensuring rights is only possible when they are supported by laws and policies that enshrine and enforce them, hence the importance of interrogating Pakistan’s legal framework. Professor Weiss will review key features of recent legislation promoting women’s rights in Pakistan and explore the controversies surrounding this legislation. She will also elaborate upon ongoing challenges to develop further legislation to promote women’s rights, particularly in light of opposition from Islamist groups. While what has been achieved thus far has had a qualitative impact on moving forward with the legal empowerment of women in Pakistan, there are far more arenas that must now be incorporated to have a substantive impact on women’s lives, bring Pakistan into conformity with the goals and ideals of CEDAW, and secure an environment where women in Pakistan have access to viable choices in their lives.

The talk will be followed by a no-host dinner (about $22) at *Faculty House.
Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Location: Room 1, Faculty House, 64 Morningside Drive (between 116th – 118th Streets)

Click here for directions to the meeting at Faculty House.

If you wish to attend the Seminar Dinner following Prof. Weiss' talk, please RSVP as soon as possible by notifying our rapporteur, James Hare (email: jph2101@columbia.edu).

Wednesday, March 10 - Lecture
"Breaking the Silence: Ending Domestic Violence in the South Asian and Muslim Communities"

A talk by Shyam K. Sriram (Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence)

One of the major features of domestic violence (DV) prevention work is the notion of community accountability. What is surprising is how often communities – defined as religious institutions, social organizations, politicians, etc. – are silent about domestic abuse and thus are complicit in the violence. According to Men Stopping Violence, a DV advocacy organization, the solution to accountability lies in a dualist model: for the community to hold men accountable for their actions; and to hold the community itself responsible for its response to domestic violence.

The talk will highlight the work of Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence, an Atlanta-based organization that seeks to create awareness of and provide solutions for domestic violence in the Muslim and South Asian communities, including a look at how they engage men in domestic violence prevention through counseling, therapy and education. The talk will be followed by discussion on domestic violence and its very real consequences in immigrant communities – South Asian, Arab, African, European, Latino and others.

Shyam K. Sriram is the coordinator for Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence, which is part of the Baitul Salaam Network and a political science instructor at Georgia Perimeter College. He is a graduate of the Men Stopping Violence internship program and is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in domestic violence prevention from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Sriram was the 2009 recipient of the Annual Ramesh and Vijaya Bakshi Community Change Award for domestic violence activism in the South Asian community from Raksha, an Atlanta-based South Asian domestic violence advocacy organization. A political scientist by training, he is involved in a number of initiatives and projects dealing with the education of men on violence and controlling behaviors in South Asian and Muslim communities.
Time: 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Location: Knox Hall, Room 509, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue

Monday, March 22 – University Seminar
"'All that is Present and Moving': Reading Sri Lankan Working-Class Periodicals"

Sonali Perera (Department of English, Rutgers University)

ABSTRACT
Arguably, in the contemporary historical moment, the "new proletariat" is best represented by the figure of the woman worker in the periphery. Separate from organized labor in industrialized countries of the North, the occluded agent of production in this "postindustrial" age is the super-exploited worker in postcolonial "developing" countries with extraverted, rather than autocentric, economies. In the terms of government-issued business brochures, targeted at foreign direct investment, she is sold as "cheap," "docile," -- as "famous for her manual dexterity." In terms of US feminism, she cannot be easily written into labor history because she represents, disturbingly, the containment of the wage bargaining power of struggling women workers closer to home. Proletarian literature seems unable to produce a script for her. She seems ill-fitted to the narrative conventions, especially when we consider that the dominant archetypes and idealized constructs -- the available language (despite the interventions of feminist genre critics) is limited. This paper is an attempt to open up questions of genre as well as debates on aesthetics and politics in the service of this figure excluded from the literary-critical calculus. We will read a selection of poems, political commentary, and short fiction produced by the worker-writers of the Dabindu collective from the Katunayake free trade zone regions in Sri Lanka. The period under consideration is 1984-2001, which covers the passage of Dabindu's transformation from a workers' collective -- organized loosely around the production and distribution of a free trade zone periodical and other forms of alternative organizing -- into an internationally funded development NGO.

The talk will be followed by a no-host dinner (about $23) at *Faculty House. If you wish to attend the Seminar Dinner following Prof. Perera's talk, please RSVP as soon as possible by notifying our rapporteur, James Hare (email:jph2101@columbia.edu)

Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Location: Room 1, Faculty House, 64 Morningside Drive (between 116th – 118th Streets) *Directions to the meeting at Faculty House:
http://facultyhouse.columbia.edu/content/contact-us-new-york-event-and-reception-venue#Directions

Wednesday, March 24 – Lecture
"Citizenship in India: Some preliminary results of a national survey"

Subrata Mitra (South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg)

Co-sponsored by the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures

Abstract: Citizenship is a valued resource whose wide dispersal across the population enhances the resilience of a political system. While legal entitlement to citizenship under the laws of the land is a necessary condition, by itself, it does not suffice for the individual to feel the full power and potentials of citizenship. Other complementary factors such as rights, capacity, sentiments, and a sense of moral obligation enhance the sense of citizenship. This talk reports the preliminary findings of a survey of a representative sample (n=> 7000) of the Indian population, conducted by Lokniti, CSDS, in July-August 2009, on the basis of questions linked to the principal components of citizenship. The results show a widely dispersed sense of citizenship that largely overcomes the differences resulting from social class, ethnicity, religion, gender and generation. However, the underlying variance, particularly at the level of citizenship across India's regions, reveal the political limits of the Indian model, and the scope for policies at extending citizenship to sections of the population which are outside its reach. In a comparative perspective, when it comes to ‘making citizens out of subjects', the Indian ‘experiment' holds important lessons for post-colonial, multi-cultural societies.

Subrata Mitra is Head of the Department of Political Science at the South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg, and served as director of the Institute (2002-04). Professor Mitra has taught at the Universities of Hull, Nottingham and California (Berkeley). He has held appointments at the Indian Council for Social Science Research (New Delhi), as well as at the Institut Français d'Opinion Public (Paris). Professor Mitra was a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (New Delhi) and President of the joint Research Committee on Political Sociology of the International Political Science Association and the International Sociological Association (2002-06). In 2004, Mitra was made Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques for his commitment to promoting cultural exchange between France and Germany. He is editor of the Heidelberg Papers in South Asian Studies and of Advances in South Asian Studies series (Routledge).

Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Location: Knox Hall, Room 509, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue

Monday, March 29 – Barbara Stoler Miller Lecture
"Four Weddings and a Funeral: What is Islamic about the "Muslim" Princely State of Bhopal?"

A talk by Barbara D. Metcalf (University of Michigan)

Co-sponsored by the Barnard College Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures

Bhopal in colonial India is best known for having been ruled for over a hundred years from 1819 to 1926 by a lineage of four Muslim women. The third of the Bhopal begums, Nawab Shah Jehan Begum, was in power at the height of British rule in the late 19th century. Bhopal was routinely described as "the second largest Muslim princely state;" the state’s label derived from the religious background of the ruler. Going beyond this label, many observers have described Shah Jehan Begum’s period as one of "Islamization." In 1871, she made a radical second marriage, a break with respectability and family custom – which she justified as Islamic. In 1890 her second husband, one of the best known Islamic scholarly reformers and putative "jihadis" of the colonial era, died. Instead of understanding the period framed by these events by the blanket term of "Islamization," this talk explores issues of political autonomy, transnational networks, modern religious practice, and a ruler's distinctive taste.

Barbara D. Metcalf is Mellon Emeritus Fellow, Department of History, University of Michigan, where she served as Director, Center for South Asia Studies, 2004-07. Previously, Metcalf was Professor of History at the University of California, Davis (1986 – 2003); Chair, Department of History (1991-1994); and Dean, Division of Social Sciences, College of Letters and Science (1995-98). Her publications include Islamic Revival in British India: Deoband, 1860-1900 (1989); Islamic Contestations: Essays on Muslims in India and Pakistan (2006); and with Thomas Metcalf, A Concise History of Modern India (2004). Metcalf was editor of and contributor to the volumes, Moral Conduct and Authority: The Place of Adab in South Asian Islam (1984); and Making Muslim Space in North America and Europe (1996).

Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Location: Knox Hall, Room 509, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue

Monday, April 5 – University Seminar
"Creole Glossary: A Fictive Counter-history of the Bengali 'Novel'"
Benjamin Conisbee Baer (Department of Comparative Literature, Princeton University)

ABSTRACT: Tarashankar Bandopadhyay's Hansuli Banker Upakatha (The Tale of Hansuli Turn, 1946-51) tells the story of an India modernized by the forces of war in the mid twentieth century. This novel tries to represent sympathetically the frightening (and seductive) shapes of the "new" from within the imaginative universe and philosophy of the "old," taking as central a set of subaltern protagonists; that is, protagonists drawn from the lowest and most marginalized strata of rural society. The Tale of Hansuli Turn's handling of the Bengali Creole spoken by its main protagonists represents a fictive counterhistory of the "origins" of the Bengali novel. At the same time, its unusual glossary is an anticipation of the postcolonial novel in globalization.

The talk will be followed by a no-host dinner (about $23) at *Faculty House. If you wish to attend the Seminar Dinner following Prof. Perera's talk, please RSVP as soon as possible by notifying our rapporteur, James Hare (email: jph2101@columbia.edu)

Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Location: Room 1, Faculty House, 64 Morningside Drive (between 116th – 118th Streets) *Directions to the meeting at Faculty House:
http://facultyhouse.columbia.edu/content/contact-us-new-york-event-and-reception-venue#Directions

Thursday, April 8 - an Illustrated Talk
"The Politics of Religion: Dalits and Tamil Vaisnavism in South India.

by Katherine K. Young (McGill University)

Despite a radical theology of caste inclusivness in Shrivaisnavism – epitomized by the symbol of Tiruppanalvar—by the colonial period Dalits could not even enter brahmanically dominated temples. Dalit status began to change because of a combination of factors: changing power relations between Brahmins and non Brahmins, competition with Saivas and Christians, Dalit education and politicization, and court cases. The talk will focus on interviews with Shrivaisnava Dalits who provide oral histories of their family’s religious struggles, reflections on their own religious identities today, and their relations with Brahmins.

Katherine K. Young is James McGill Professor in the Faculty of Religious Studies at McGill University. She specializes on South Indian Hinduism (especially Srivaisnavism), gender and Hinduism, and Hindu ethics. With a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, she is working on three books: Non-Brahmin Srivaisnavism: Religion, Caste, and Politics in Tamilnadu; Performers as Symbols: Rhetoric, Identity, and Status in Tamil Social History; and Saivism and Vaisnavism: Comparing Sects in Medieval Tamilnadu. Recent publications include "Fate Hangs on a Particle: The Hermeneutics of Bhagavadgita 9:32" (Journal of Hinduism, 2009); "Just-War Theory in South Asia: Indic Success, Sri Lankan Failure?" in World Religions After 9/11 (Praeger: 2009); and "Brahmanas, Pancaratrins, and the Formation of Srivaisnavism" in Studies in Hinduism, vol. 4. (Austrian Academy of Science, 2006).

Time: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Location: Knox Hall, Room 207, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue

Monday, April 12 – Distinguished Lecturer Series
Rosalind O'Hanlon (Oxford University)

"In God's country: Brahman histories, ritual and power in western India, c. 1500-1850"

Rosalind O'Hanlon is Professor of Indian History and Culture, University of Oxford; she was formerly Newton Trust Lecturer in the Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, and Senior Tutor, Clare College, and Director of Studies and Lecturer in History, Clare College. She is the author of A comparison between men and women: Tarabai Shinde and the critique of gender relations in colonial India (1994): and Caste, conflict and ideology: Mahatma Jotirao Phule and low caste protest in nineteenth century western India (1985) .

Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Location: Knox Hall, Room 208, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue

Saturday, April 17 – Annual Urdu Workshop
"Fort William College and Hindi/Urdu/Hindustani"

Organized by Professor Frances Pritchett
Co-sponsored by the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures

FORT WILLIAM COLLEGE, CALCUTTA, in 1800-- an evil imperialist plot to break up Hindustani a helpful jump-start for Hindi and Urdu prose a colonial language school of no real importance? Come and help us examine the question on Saturday, April 17th.

Advance Registration required.

Time: 10:00am – 3:30pm
Location: Knox Hall, Room 208, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue

For more information, study materials, and to register, visit the Workshop Website.

Monday, April 19 - South Asia Graduate Students Forum
A talk by Anna Seastrand (Department of Art History and Archaeology)

"Styles, Stories, Scripts: Telugu and Tamil in Nayaka-Period Mural Painting in Tamil Nadu"

This paper addresses the theme of circulation through the close study of inscriptions and paintings at two seventeenth-century mural sites. Although located in the Tamil region, these sites make extensive use of Telugu language and the architectural and pictorial styles of Telugu-speaking areas. The mingling of styles and languages at these sites demonstrate the interrelation of artistic patronage and its political and social contexts. Focusing on a period, material, and area that are little studied and poorly understood highlights how the history of painting and the history of the region—the study of the dynamic political and social lives of the sites’ patrons, artisans and audiences—equally illumine one another. Appreciation of the high degree of movement among people, styles, languages, and stories—of circulation—is crucial to understanding both the paintings and the contexts of their creation.

Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Location: Knox Hall, Room 208, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue

Wednesday, April 21 - Lecture
"Imagining Community and Caste in Medieval India: Hagiographic Evidence from Hariram Vyas."

Heidi Pauwels (University of Washington, Seattle)

Heidi Pauwels is Professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her publications include "Krsna's round dance reconsidered: Hariram Vyas's Hindi Ras-pancadhyayi" (1996); and "In praise of holy men: Hagiographic poems by and about Hariram Vyas (2002). Her newest book compares classical, medieval and contemporary film and television retellings of the stories of Krishna and Rama: "The Goddess as Role Model: Sita and Radha in Scripture and on Screen" (2008). She is editor of "Indian Literature and Popular Cinema: Recasting Classics" (2007) and "Patronage and Popularisation, Pilgrimage and Procession: Channels of Transcultural Translation and Transmission in Early Modern South Asia (2009).

Time: 6:00 - 7:30pm
Location: Knox Hall, Room 509, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue

Friday, April 23 - Panel Discussion
"Tongues Untied: Desire, Gender, Power and Performance in South Asia"

Panelists: Swati Bhisé (Sanskriti Institute for Indian Culture), Uttara Coorlawala (Barnard College), Mario D’Penha (Rutgers University), Gayatri Gopinath (New York University) and Tehreema Mitha (Dancer and Choreographer)

Moderator: Myna Mukherjee (Founder/Artistic Director, Engendered; Director/Choreographer, Nayikas)

Challenging biological understandings of the body, gender and sexuality, this panel will explore the complex relationships between power and performance in historical and contemporary South Asia. What are the different ways in which desire and gender have been performed in South Asia? What relationships do such performances have with structures of power, as well as ritual and religious practices in South Asia? What are the visual codes through which desire, longing, intimacy and sexuality have been enacted and understood? How do artists continue to negotiate and refigure the themes, forms and languages of their practice within repressive or changing circumstances? And how do audiences bring their senses into dialogue with artists and performers? In inviting these queries, this panel will survey a brief history of the place of gender, gender crossings and fluid sexualities in South Asian performance. It will suggest how these distinctive practices around gender and sexuality engage in conversations across cultures, within tolerant, multicultural and cosmopolitan politics. In addition, it will also show how such practices may be implicated within and challenge historical and contemporary, colonial and neo-colonial structures of power.

Time: 6:00 - 7:30pm
Location: Knox Hall, Room 208, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue

The panel discussion was organized for the Engendered Dance Festival 2010. For more information, visit the festival website.

Monday, April 26 – Annual Mary Keating Das Lecture
"No longer Pakistani, not yet Indian: Migration and the meaning of citizenship"

A talk by Niraja Gopal Jayal (Visiting Professor, Princeton University; Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Co-sponsored by the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life; and the School of International and Public Affairs

Niraja Gopal Jayal is a Professor at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University; and was formerly Chairperson of the Centre (2001-03) and Director, Jawaharlal Institute for Advanced Study (2004-06). She is the author of Democracy and the State: Welfare, Secularism and Development in Contemporary India (1999); and Representing India: Ethnic Diversity and the Governance of Public Institutions (2006); and co-authored Drought, Policy and Politics in India (1993) and Essays on Gender and Governance (2003). She is editor of Democracy in India (2001); and co-editor of Local Governance in India: Decentralization and Beyond (2006); and The Oxford Companion to Politics in India (2006). Her current research interests include the Indian idea of citizenship; gender and governance; decentralisation; and environmental political theory. She is Director of the Ford Foundation project "Dialogue on Democracy and Pluralism in South Asia."

Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Location: Knox Hall, Room 208, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue

Wednesday, April 28 - Distinguished Lecturer
"What is living and what is dead in Rammanohar Lohia?"

Yogendra Yadav (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies)

Co-sponsored by the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life

Rammanohar Lohia (1910-67) has faded away from the world of ideas precisely when some of the themes signaled by him (Eurocentrism, Indian modernity, alternative models of development, language-power nexus, intersection of caste-class-gender etc.) have risen to respectability in the academia. This forgetfulness needs to be remedied by rescuing Lohia's ideas from Lohiaite politics, by separating his enduring insights from many other policies and programs he was associated with. Such a reconstruction of Lohia offers valuable resources for rethinking radical politics in our time.

Yogendra Yadav is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) and Co-Director of Lokniti, a research programme on comparative democracy of the CSDS. Prior to joining the CSDS in 1993, Yadav was Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Panjab University, Chandigarh. Yadav has published dozens of academic papers in various books and journals and has written over two hundred articles in newspapers and magazines. He is one of the General Editors of Lokchhintan and Lokchintak Granthamala, a series of social science anthologies in Hindi and is on the International Advisory Board of the European Journal of Political Research. He has been associated for the last fifteen years and is currently the Editor of /Samayik Varta/, a monthly journal published in Hindi. Yadav designed and coordinated the National Election Studies, the most comprehensive series of academic surveys of the Indian electorate, from 1996 to 2004. He was a member of the Expert Group appointed by the Government of India in 2007 to examine the structure and functioning of an Equal Opportunity Commission. His research interests include democratic theory, election studies, survey research, political theory, modern Indian political thought and Indian socialism.

Time: 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Location: Room 509, Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue

Thursday, April 29 - A Talk at the Journalism School
"Nuclear Issues & South Asia," Michael Krepon (Henry L. Stimson Center and University of Virginia)

Co-sponsored by the South Asia Institute

A rare opportunity to meet one of the most respected and influential - and QUOTABLE - scholars of nuclear issues and South Asia. He's based in DC, but will be at Columbia J-school on Thursday. No RSVP required - open to the public.

Michael Krepon is the co-founder of the Henry L. Stimson Center, a Washington-based think tank, and teaches politics at the University of Virginia. His work in South Asia has focused on promoting confidence-building and nuclear risk-reduction measures, Kashmir and crisis management. He has written or edited 13 books, and his newest one, "Better Safe than Sorry, The Ironies of Living with the Bomb," was published by Stanford University Press in 2009. Krepon's articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Survival, The New York Times and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent commentator on U.S., European and South Asian media outlets.

READ MORE ABOUT THE STIMSON CENTER AT http://stimson.org

THIS EVENT IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Time: 3:30-4:45 pm
Location: Stabile Student Center (on your left as you walk into the lobby), Columbia Journalism School (116th St & Broadway)

Tuesday, May 4 - Illustrated Lecture
"Sunil Janah's photographic epic: India 1939 - 1971"
By Ram Rahman (Photographer)

Co-sponsored by the Heyman Center

Photographer Ram Rahman will present a lavishly illustrated lecture on the legendary photographer Sunil Janah, now 91, and living in Berkeley, California. As a Communist Party member in the 1940's, Janah's work was widely published and seen by the generation fighting for independence in the last decade of that struggle. In the 1950's working out of Calcutta, he became the visual chronicler of the newly free India. Janah was placed in a unique position: an active political worker, he documented momentous events through his highly sophisticated eye, with an aesthetic and craft rare in documentary photography. An intimate of the great figures in the independence movement, he knew not just the communist leaders, but the entire spectrum of the political leadership.

In this lecture, in which Rahman will show a large number of images, many rarely published in recent decades, he seeks to place Janah and his work in the context of Indian and world photography history. Rahman situates Janah in a discourse on art and politics, particularly at that cultural moment in India's history, when the Left dominated that discourse. This will be a rare chance to see many images which are not available in print.

Ram Rahman graduated from MIT and the Yale School of Art. Ram is a photographer and cultural activist and is a founding member of the artists collective SAHMAT, the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust in New Delhi. Ram has shown his photographs around the world, most recently: BIOSCOPE, Rabindra Bhavan, New Delhi, 2008, Street Smart at Duke University, 2009 and in Where Three Dreams Cross, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2010. He has lectured on photography and on SAHMAT's activism at symposia in MoMA, The Tate London, Harvard, MIT and at The Nehru Memorial Library in Delhi.

Time: 4:00 - 5:30pm
Location: Room 509, Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue
Bottom Bar

Columbia University SIPA Link