Past Events

TAPSA: “It Entered My Body: Articulating a Folk Sensibility in Assam, India”

TAPSA presentation by Rehanna Kheshgi.

This paper investigates the emergence of a folk sensibility in the northeastern Indian state of Assam. Folk genres play an important role in connecting bodies with states, and the sounding, moving body serves as evidence of regional and/or national belonging. In the context of contemporary Assam, physical labor practices and gender roles associated with rural livelihoods are embedded within folk performance practice. Singing techniques that incorporate dialects associated with particular regions or ethnic groups index degrees of authenticity. This paper addresses questions regarding how young performers in Assam gain access to this knowledge and learn to embody performance practices associated with this folk sensibility. How do urban music and dance teachers package information and create pedagogical techniques to satisfy an increasingly mediated and competitive folk performance arena?

Thursday, October 8, 2015 - 4:30pm
Foster 103

First meeting for the South Asian Music Ensemble

Beginner section 4:30pm, Logan 703
Intermediate & Advanced 5:30pm, Logan 703
Instrumental 5:30pm, location TBD

Monday, October 5, 2015 - 4:30pm

South Asian Music Ensemble Open House

Join the South Asian Music Ensemble to learn and perform diverse song traditions of India, Pakistan, and other regions of South Asia. The ensemble will be co-led by separate instructors for vocalists and instrumentalists, and membership is open to beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Students, faculty, staff, and members of the community are welcome to join. This year's repertoire will focus on a broad range of film music from the Indian Subcontinent, and will also feature workshops on dance and regional music.

Friday, October 2, 2015 - 6:30pm
Logan 703

Film screening, The Factory

Film screening by filmmaker Rahul Roy.

147 workers of India’s biggest automobile manufacturing company Maruti Suzuki are on trial for the murder of a senior manager and 2500 workers dismissed. It has been two and a half years and the case drags on. Their bail application has been rejected by the courts. On each hearing they are led to the court room by the police while families line up to catch a glimpse. The defence lawyers plan their strategy in the court canteen. Justice seems a dim hope. The film follows the fate of the under trial workers, families and dismissed workers to investigate the underbelly of industrial conflict and the elusive nature of justice.

Rahul Roy graduated from the Mass Communication Research Centre at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi in 1987 with a post graduate degree in film making. His films have travelled across the globe to various documentary film festivals and have won several prestigious awards. Rahul Roy’s films explore the themes of masculinity and gender relations against the larger background of communalism, labour, class identities and urban spaces. His work has focused primarily on masculinities. Besides film making he has been researching and writing on masculinities. His graphic book on masculinities titled ‘A Little Book on Men’ was recently published by Yoda Press.

Roy is the Director of Aakar, a Delhi based trust that works in the area of media, culture and research. Aakar has been engaged in several interventions on masculinities across the South Asian region for more than a decade now.

Friday, October 2, 2015 - 2:30pm
Haskell 315

South Asia Seminar Series: “Army and Nation: How Did India Make its Army Safe for Democracy?”

South Asia Seminar presentation by Steven Wilkinson.

At Indian independence in 1947, the country’s founders worried that the army India inherited— conservative and dominated by officers and troops drawn disproportionately from a few “martial” groups—posed a real threat to democracy. They also saw the structure of the army, with its recruitment on the basis of caste and religion, as incompatible with their hopes for a new secular nation.

India has successfully preserved its democracy, however, unlike many other colonial states that inherited imperial “divide and rule” armies, and unlike its neighbor Pakistan, which inherited part of the same Indian army in 1947. As Steven I. Wilkinson shows, the puzzle of how this happened is even more surprising when we realize that the Indian Army has kept, and even expanded, many of its traditional “martial class” units, despite promising at independence to gradually phase them out.

Army and Nation draws on uniquely comprehensive data to explore how and why India has succeeded in keeping the military out of politics, when so many other countries have failed. It uncovers the command and control strategies, the careful ethnic balancing, and the political, foreign policy, and strategic decisions that have made the army safe for Indian democracy. Wilkinson goes further to ask whether, in a rapidly changing society, these structures will survive the current national conflicts over caste and regional representation in New Delhi, as well as India’s external and strategic challenges.

Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 4:30pm
Foster 103

Dance performance: "Veera: Tales of Heroism"

Join Apsara for their annual spring production, "Veera: Tales of Heroism". Watch them explore what heroism entails by journeying through tales of religion, history, and mythology!

Apsara is the Indian classical dance group at the University of Chicago. They explore a range of classical Indian styles, including Bharatanatyam, Odissi, and Kathak in both traditional and contemporary formats.

Show timings: TWO shows, at 2.30 pm and 7 pm.

Saturday, May 30, 2015 - 2:30pm
Logan Center Performance Hall

South Asia Seminar: Anna Schultz (Stanford University), “The Afterlives of Publishing: Memory and the Remaking of Bene Israel Song”

When older Bene Israel women perform Marathi Jewish songs, they sing from notebooks of song texts lovingly transcribed from the voices of mothers, aunts, and friends. Men rarely maintain such notebooks, and most singers are unaware that women’s songs were composed, published, and performed by men in the context of 19th-century Indian cultural nationalism and Indian Jewish renewal. Drawing on published sources and on fieldwork conducted with Bene Israel singers in India and Israel between 2012 and 2015, this paper addresses the role of memory in the re-gendering and re-literization of Marathi Jewish song, and interrogates the shifting interplay between orality and literacy in this tiny minority community. This is a South Asia Speaker Series event led by Anna Schultz, Assistant Professor at Stanford University's Department of Music.

Thursday, May 28, 2015 - 4:30pm
Foster 103

The Second Annual Indian Ministry of Culture Vivekananda Visiting Professor Lecture: Vivekananda’s Irish Disciple: Sister Nivedita

Dipesh Chakrabarty, the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor in History, South Asian Lan-guages and Civilizations, and the College, will focus on the Indian life of Sister Nivedita (Margaret Elizabeth Noble, b. 1867) who arrived in India in 1898 as a disciple of Swami Vivekananda and died there in 1911. Her experience of India provides fascinating material for a cross-cultural history of the land and the people she encountered.

This lecture will be dedicated to the memory of Sir Christopher A. Bayly, the inaugural Vivekananda Visiting Pro-fessor in 2014 and 2015. The Vivekananda Visiting Professorship was established to commemorate the legacy of the Hindu spiritual leader Swami Vivekananda and to enrich the University’s renowned program for the study of the Indian Subcontinent.

This event is free and open to the public. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance should contact the Office of Programs & External Relations in advance of the program at 773.753.2274 For more information, please contact Rashmi Joshi at or 773.702.8635. Sponsored by the Division of Humanities, the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, International House, and the Committee on Southern Asian Studies.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 6:00pm
International House Assembly Hall 1414 E. 59th Street

Workshop: “Margins of Dravidianism”

Friday, May 22, 2015 - 9:00am to Saturday, May 23, 2015 - 5:00am

Rupa Viswanath, TAPSA

May 21 (Thurs.)
4:30 PM (Foster 103)

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 4:30pm
Foster 103