Welcome to Committee on Southern Asian Studies

South Asia Anniversary Conference


A Conference Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations and the 60th Anniversary of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies

The Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations is one of the earliest South Asia area studies centers in the United States. 2016 is also, not coincidentally, the sixtieth anniversary of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies (COSAS), a unique body that serves as an academic and institutional umbrella for all scholars working on Southern Asia at the University of Chicago. We take the occasion of these anniversaries to reflect collectively upon the relationship between area studies and the particular disciplines (Anthropology, History, Literature and Language, Music, Law, Business, Economics, Religious Studies, Philosophy, to name a few) in which a large and visible number of scholars at the University of Chicago carry out their research and teaching endeavors.

Upcoming Events

Third Annual Vivekananda Lecture: “The Subtle Surfaces of Wickedness: From Nigamasarma to the Occupation of Palestine”

Lecture given by David Shulman.

Wickedness, perhaps a more personal quality than the abstract notion of evil, is worthy of study, especially when we move away from brute malevolence, often terrifying but boring, to more complex inner states, in which choice may or may not be accessible. This lecture will explore, first, a South Indian vision of the wicked, taken from Tenali Ramakrishna's Panduranga-mahatmyamu. On the basis of this text, it may be possible to formulate an understanding of wickedness as the integral act of whole persons, without the usual splitting of the self into dark and luminous halves or into the familiar Platonic dichotomies of body and mind. To test a different model, my experiences in the Palestinian territories, specifically the South Hebron Hills, with settlers, soldiers, judges, bureaucrats, and policemen will be examined, at least in part in a comparative light, and with frequent sidelong glances to Mahatma Gandhi and Vivekananda.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - 6:00pm
Assembly Hall, International House

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