Past Conferences and Workshops

Measuring Futures: Expertise and Postcolonial Politics in Asia

Measuring Futures will comparatively examine the rise and impact of postwar data and planning sciences on development policies, democratic change and political infrastructures in a number of Asian countries, including India, China, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia. This effort is part of a longer series of events at the University of Chicago (under the title New Nations/New Sciences: Cybernetic States), that aimed to revisit historical and anthropological insights on the politics of expertise, to centrally examine the tensions between technocracy and democratic aspirations in the Asian context.

Monday, December 10, 2018 (All day) to Tuesday, December 11, 2018 (All day)

Book Launch and Reading: The Tale of the Missing Man

Join Jason Grunebaum and Ulrike Stark for their reading of their English translation of Manzoor Ahtesham's The Tale of the Missing Man, published by Northwestern University Press, and winner of the inaugural Global Humanities Translation Prize.

Friday, November 16, 2018 - 6:00pm
Seminary Co-Op

Buddhism, Thought, and Civilization: A Memorial Symposium for Steven Collins

Thursday: Swift Lecture Hall, 2:45pm-7pm
Friday: Franke Institute, 8:30am-1:30pm; Foster Hall 103, 3pm
Please see the uchicago voices event page for a schedule and other details.

Thursday, November 15, 2018 (All day) to Friday, November 16, 2018 (All day)

Climate Change and Asia

Asia is central to the causes, responses, and implications of climate change. This symposium explores climate policy and environmental challenges across East, Southeast, and South Asia, from water politics and renewable energy to sustainable tourism in the Anthropocene. Sponsored by: "Studies in Climate Change: The Limits of the Numerical," a Mellon Foundation Project at the Franke Institute for the Humanities

Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 9:30am to 5:30pm
The Franke Institute, JRL S-118

Chicago Tamil Forum: “Mass Publicity and Mediation in Tamil Nadu, India"

This three-day workshop aims to expand our understandings of mass mediation, publicity, and the political in this part of south India by focusing on the expansive and diverse ways through which public life in Tamil Nadu is mediated.
See for more information.

Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 9:30am to Saturday, May 26, 2018 - 3:30pm

Crisis in Myanmar: The Rohingya Refugees & The American Response

Among the most pressing humanitarian crises that plague the world in 2018 is the mass persecution of the Rohingya community in Myanmar and the subsequent refugee crisis in South Asia. Nearly 700,000 Rohingya living in Myanmar have fled across the border to Bangladesh and into other territories as a result of violence that former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, among others, has deemed ethnic cleansing. Was this crisis preventable? What role did the United States’ action or inaction play? And, most importantly, what can be done now?
Join the IOP as we welcome two distinguished reporters, Jason Motlagh and Nahal Toosi, to discuss this crisis.

This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP at

Monday, May 21, 2018 - 5:30pm to 6:45pm
Logan Center for the Arts Screening Room

New Medium, New Historiography: Re-Narrating Islamic Pasts in India through VCDs

The formulation of history in late colonial India and the crystallization of Hindu Nationhood are deeply enmeshed. Indian historiography was rewritten at that time to advance a widely acclaimed standard of a Hindu nation which excluded non-Hindus and in particular the large Muslim minority in the subcontinent, from the nation’s ethos and past. In sovereign India, this historiography was articulated by the visual mainstream media that generally emphasized the Hinduised past and present and defined Indian Muslims’ past through narratives of historical and genealogical estrangement. These narratives contributed to the formation of what Dipesh Chakravarty termed a “historical wound”.[i] This presentation addresses yet another historiography to remedy and negotiate this “wound” through a new medium that targets the Muslim niche market in India: the under-regulated arena of Video Compact Discs (VCDs). This decade-old medium re-writes Indo-Islamic history and challenges the ways the Islamic past is habitually portrayed and visually imagined, as well as the discipline of modern historiography itself.
[i] Dipesh Chakravarty, “History and the Politics of Recognition”, in Theorising the Present – Essays for Patha Chatterjee, eds. Anjan Ghosh et al. (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2011), 21-34.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 12:30pm
Foster 103

Raga Malika: A Garland of Ragas

A Spring recital by the University of Chicago’s South Asian Music Ensemble. You are cordially invited to attend the South Asian Music Ensemble’s spring recital, entitled “Raga Malika: A Garland of Ragas.” This full two-hour concert will include a large selection of traditional compositions from North and South Indian classical music, focusing on the juxtaposition of various ragas and talas. The recital will feature vocal and instrumental music, and includes sitar, harmonium, violin, bamboo flute, slide guitar, tabla and mridangam percussion, and kathak dance.

Saturday, May 5, 2018 - 7:30pm
Logan Center for the Arts, Performance Penthouse

20th Annual Michicagoan Conference: Significations of Modality and Value

With a keynote address by Hirokazu Miyazaki, Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University, titled: “The Gift of Internationalism: Persons, Things, and the Power of Exchange in U.S.-Japan Citizen Diplomacy”

Now in its 20th year, the Michicagoan Graduate Student Conference in Linguistic Anthropology serves as a forum for scholars attuned to the emergent production of linguistic, cultural, social, and otherwise material phenomena via diverse semiotic processes.

The conference is pleased to present papers that take semiotic approaches to “value” and “modality” in their various instantiations across heterogeneous semantic and disciplinary fields. Through this theme, participants will attend to relations between and among linguistic codes; their sociopragmatic uses-in(- and -as)-context across variously-scaled discursive types (utterances, typified genres, registers); the kinds of relations so expressed (and made expressable); their by-degrees codifications (linguistically, legally, habitually, institutionally); and the entailments of these relations in subsequent uptake.

For more information, please contact the event organizers at or

Friday, May 4, 2018 (All day) to Saturday, May 5, 2018 (All day)
Classics 110

Orders of Time, Limits of History: Propositions from South Asian Studies

What can poet Nīlakaṇṭha Dīkṣita’s constant preoccupation with the Kaliyuga tell us about his reflections on time? On what increasingly impossible “naturalism of historical time” was Bengali nineteenth century encyclopedist’s Nagendranath Basu’s confrontation with the ruins of Kamrup predicated, and what did it obscure? Is it possible that a fundamental disaggregation of the temporal terrain of Bengali Muslim literary history is indexed by the contending efforts of Bangladeshi historians? These three questions in South Asian studies all demand, in the words of François Hartog’s Regimes of Historicity, that time be made thinkable.

Join us in thinking about the temporalities that ground past phenomena, the limits intrinsic to the recovery of past articulations of time, and the silent pervasiveness of temporal commitments as we offer short presentations of our work. Our short presentations will be followed by reflections on history and its time by prof. Dipesh Chakrabarty and prof. François Hartog.
Eduardo Acosta, “Twilight Medievalism”
Talia Ariav, “Nīlakaṇṭha Dīkṣita’s Kaliyuga”
Thomas Newbold, “The Brahmin at Karbala”
Reflections by Dipesh Chakraborty, Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor, UChicago, and Francois Hartog, Directeur d'Etudes & Chaire d'Historiographie Ancienne et Moderne, EHESS.

Thursday, May 3, 2018 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm
Foster 103