Past Conferences and Workshops

Materials in Focus: Working across Media and Methods in South Asia

The South Asia Graduate Student Conference at the University of Chicago is known for bringing together graduate students working on the Indian Subcontinent across disciplines, time periods and regions of interest from campuses within and outside the United States. The conference offers a unique opportunity for graduate students working on southern Asia to engage with the research of their peers.

How can a more rigorous intellectual engagement with materials open up how we conceptualise cultural constructs and emergent political formations? What are affordances and resistance of the materials we engage with to study South Asia? How do we mobilize these beyond their functional purpose as ‘sources’, grappling instead with the very processes of their fabrication, preservation (or destruction) and place in the historical record? The diverse range of materials – archival, epigraphic, archaeological, art historical, performative, ethnographic among others shape our methodological choices and the media in which we make and circulate our work.

We invite methodologically self-reflexive papers that foreground questions of materials and materiality in South Asian studies. Possible themes include but are not limited to: material culture, archives and ‘museification’, oral narratives and histories, the making and circulation of art, performance and theatre, film and new media. Presentations may take several forms, including seminar papers, collaborative projects and performances.

Please send a title and abstract (250-300 words) to sagsc2017.uchicago@gmail.com by 5 pm on 29th December 2016.

Abstracts should include name, e-mail address and institutional affiliation.

Selected participants will be informed by 5th January 2017.

Dates: 
Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 9:00am to Friday, February 24, 2017 - 8:00pm
Classics 110

"Inhabiting the Past in Twentieth-Century South Asia"

On November 4, 2016, Faridah Zaman, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Research Fellow in History, and Daniel Morgan, doctoral candidate in South Asian Languages and Civilizations, will co-host a workshop to discuss issues broadly relating to historical writing, memory, myth and oral traditions, the construction of intellectual and cultural narratives of origin and belonging, and the making of "usable pasts" for purposes that are political or otherwise in twentieth-century South Asia. The workshop will be in Social Sciences Research Building, room 401, from 9 AM to 6 PM.

Dates: 
Friday, November 4, 2016 - 9:00am
Social Sciences Research Building Room 401

“The Limits of Empire in Afghanistan: Rule and Resistance in the Hindu Kush, circa 600 BCE-650 CE"

Conference hosted by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago along with the Franke Institute for the Humanities.

Organized by Gil J. Stein and Richard Payne

In the first millennia BCE and CE, successive empires sought to incorporate the archipelago of territories in and around the Hindu Kush and to install their structures of rule. The Achaemenians, Seleucids, and Sasanians endeavored -- and sometimes pretended -- to rule regions of Afghanistan from their courts located in the Near Eastern core, upward of 2500 km distant. The Kushans, for their part, made Bactra and Begram the bases of an empire that extended far beyond into India and Central Asia. Apart from distance, these empires confronted a political geography in the Hindu Kush that was -- like the Caucasus -- uniquely unfavorable to imperial governance, as well as populations with disparate cultures, social structures, and political traditions. Afghanistan thus provides a test of the capacities of ancient imperial regimes to overcome distance, verticality, and difference to integrate territories into their trans-regional and trans-cultural orders. As even a passing familiarity with the history of the region suggests, efforts at empire failed at least as often as they succeeded in a geographical and cultural landscape highly conducive what James Scott calls the “art[s] of not being governed.” The conference aims to focus on the limits of empire in Afghanistan, as a means of better comprehending the workings of the regimes that laid claim to its territories and the responses of its populations.

The conference convenes archaeologists, art historians, historians, philologists, and numismatists to debate current research in the context of ongoing theoretical debates concerning the formation, endurance, and limits of imperial systems within a highland political ecology.

Dates: 
Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - 5:00pm to Friday, October 7, 2016 - 1:30pm
Wednesday and Thursday at the Franke Institute; Friday, Classics 110

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.

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

Chicago Tamil Forum

The Chicago Tamil Forum is an annual two-day workshop for scholars working on modern Tamil Nadu to share their on-going, unpublished work. This year’s topic is “Politics of Media, Media of Politics." In addition to the workshop proper are two public events: (1) a memorial session of the workshop dedicated to the scholarship and legacy of Chicago Tamil Forum member, Chicago PhD (Anthropology, 2000), and dear colleague, John Bernard Bate (1960-2016) (Friday, May 20th, 2:45-4:20pm, Haskell 315), and (2) a screening of Nagappattinam: Waves from the Deep, a documentary about the plight of fisherman in post-Tsunami Tamil Nadu directed by Swarnavel Eswaran Pillai (Western Michigan University) (Friday, May 20th, 4:30-6:15pm, Foster 103). A schedule and list of participants can be found here: http://anthropology.uchicago.edu/resources/chicago_tamil_forum/ . For more information, please contact Constantine V. Nakassis (cnakassi@uchicago.edu)

Dates: 
Friday, May 20, 2016 (All day) to Saturday, May 21, 2016 (All day)

Chicago Tamil Forum

The Chicago Tamil Forum is an annual two-day workshop for scholars working on modern Tamil Nadu to share their on-going, unpublished work. This year’s topic is “Politics of Media, Media of Politics." In addition to the workshop proper are two public events: (1) a memorial session of the workshop dedicated to the scholarship and legacy of Chicago Tamil Forum member, Chicago PhD (Anthropology, 2000), and dear colleague, John Bernard Bate (1960-2016) (Friday, May 20th, 2:45-4:20pm, Haskell 315), and (2) a screening of Nagappattinam: Waves from the Deep, a documentary about the plight of fisherman in post-Tsunami Tamil Nadu directed by Swarnavel Eswaran Pillai (Western Michigan University) (Friday, May 20th, 4:30-6:15pm, Foster 103).

A schedule and list of participants can be found here: Click for link. For more information, please contact Constantine V. Nakassis (cnakassi@uchicago.edu).

Dates: 
Friday, May 20, 2016 (All day) to Saturday, May 21, 2016 (All day)
Various Locations

Annual Swami Vivekananda Lecture

Annual Swami Vivekananda Lecture

Dates: 
Tuesday, May 10, 2016 (All day)

gender|publics|panics in the global South

A conference co-sponsored by the Center for International Studies and the Committee on Southern Asian Studies.

Dates: 
Thursday, May 5, 2016 (All day) to Friday, May 6, 2016 (All day)
Wilder House, The University of Chicago

Thirteen Festivals: A Ritual Year in Bengal

Lecture by Ralph W. Nicholas
Presented by International House Global Voices Author Night

Ralph W. Nicholas is the William Rainey Harper Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago. He was President of the American Institute of Indian Studies and now is Chair of its Board of Trustees. Before his retirement he served as the Dean of the College, Deputy Provost, and Director of International House at the University of Chicago.

"... there are many other rituals that people in Kelomal think are very important; these rituals treat deities whose characters and powers are very diverse, and whose modes of worship are quite different from one another. The Bengalis often say, in uncharacteristic understatement, baro mase tero parban, 'In twelve months there are thirteen rituals.' I have taken the title of this book from that expression." -Ralph Nicholas

Dates: 
Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 5:30am
International House

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