Past Events

Tackling Tantrāloka

South Asia Seminar: Alexis Sanderson, University of Oxford, All Souls College, Faculty member

Professor Sanderson will discuss his long-term project to edit, translate, and write a commentary on the Tantrāloka, Abhinavagupta monumental treatise on the Tantras, and in doing so will seek to explain the genesis and purpose of his work.

Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 5:00pm
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

TAPSA: “Negotiating ‘Green’ Citizenship in North-east India: Of Native Peacocks and Non-Native Nepalis”

Suchismita Das, doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology

This paper is an interrogation of the “cross-pollination” of political and ecological discourses about belonging – specifically the linkages between the value placed on nativism of species in ecology and on autochthony in ethnopolitics. The ethnography traces the declaration of a Bird Sanctuary near Kitam, a predominantly Nepali village in Sikkim. The Nepali community, despite more than two centuries of presence in the Indian landscape faces a deficit of belonging, as a group whose name itself indexes foreignness. The peacock is the flagship species of the protected area, around whose protection the demand for the sanctuary revolved. How is the belonging of this multi-species knot, of the Nepali community and the peacocks, recognized under the ecological gaze of the forest department, environmental NGOs and national ecotourists visiting the sanctuary? How do the two distinct parameters of valuation of diversity – “unity in diversity” as a motto of multicultural inclusion, and biodiversity as a central tenet of ecological conservation – intersect in constituting an emergent regime of recognition of ethnic diversity and of belonging on the frontier? What are the limits in the strategic mobilization of environmental stewardship as a claim towards “green” citizenship? The paper aims to speak both to this particular moment of ethnopolitics and the larger question of the influence of moral philosophies of nature on principles of political belonging, inclusion and exclusion.

Thursday, May 3, 2018 - 12:45pm
Foster 103

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

"A Meeting of Two Seas"

"A Meeting of Two Seas": For the second year in a row, UChicago's Hindu Student Sangam and Muslim Students Association present "A Meeting of Two Seas"! This year's concert celebrates the diverse performing arts traditions of South Asia, with a focus on the Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh mystic poets of Central and South Asia who spoke out against orthodoxy, fundamentalism, and injustice. Featuring opening acts of dance, music, and poetry, with a main performance by special guests Riyaaz Qawwali. Light refreshments will follow. Free and open to all! (7:30-9:30 pm, Rockefeller Memorial Chapel)
RSVP to the Facebook event here:

Sponsored by the Hindu Student Sangam, Muslim Students Association, Sikh Student Association, Spiritual Life Office, South Asian Students Association, Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus, and Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.

Saturday, April 28, 2018 - 7:30pm
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

“Diplomatic Encounters Series: An Overview of Pakistan-US Relations by The Ambassador of Pakistan to the US Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry”

This event is co-sponsored by International House at The University of Chicago, Committee on Southern Asian Studies and The Consulate General of Pakistan in Chicago. A reception will follow formal remarks. This event is free and open to the public.

Saturday, April 28, 2018 - 2:00pm
International House Assembly Hall

South Asia Seminar: "Strivers and Seekers in 17th century Lahore"

Purnima Dhawan, Associate Professor at the Department of History, Director of Graduate Studies, Howard and Frances Keller Endowed Professor, University of Washington

By the seventeenth century a proliferation of individuals and communities in the Mughal province of Lahore began to articulate their search for new ethical norms in a variety of texts. Situated both in elite, courtly circles as well as humbler vernacular contexts, this phenomenon has generally been studied through the lens of religious expression and reform. By placing these texts within the dramatically changing demographic profile of the province, this paper argues that such texts should also be viewed as articulations of new social personas and ethical codes that give us an exciting glimpse of the rapidly changing nature of Lahore’s communities.

Thursday, April 26, 2018 - 5:00pm
Foster 103

TAPSA: “The Role of Human and Animal Diets in the Socioeconomic Organization of Neolithic, Iron Age, and Early Historic South India: A Zooarchaeological and Dental Microwear Study”

Kelly Wilcox, doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology

This paper examines faunal remains from the site Kadebakele (Karnataka) in order to explore how human-animal relationships and animal-based subsistence practices changed throughout the Neolithic (3000-1200 BCE), Iron Age (1200BCE-300BCE), and Early Historic (300BCE-500CE) periods in South India. In addition, the paper includes recent analyses of dental microwear data and its usefulness in reconstructing changes in herd animal diets and for determining if shifts in animal management practices coincided with periods of overgrazing. Using the results of these analyses, this paper explores how human and animal diets both played an important role in shaping broader changes in socioeconomic organization and land-use choices.

Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 5:00pm
Foster 103