Past Events

Selected Works by Mandira Bhaduri - An Opening Reception

Please join us to celebrate the opening of an exhibition of works by Mandira Bhaduri. Bhaduri is a visual artist from Kolkata, West Bengal, and also teaches Bengali (Bangla) language in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations (SALC).

The works presented in this exhibit were all created between 2011 and 2013. A seemingly disconnected range of "emotional states", as the artist calls it, has led to the creation of each of these. Nonetheless, the viewer is drawn in by recurring patterns and motives, sometimes articulated to varying degrees and translated into multiple moods. Bhaduri views her rapid shifting and transitioning between varying media and color themes as exemplary of her current personal response to the complexities of modern life.

Refreshments will be served.

Friday, November 8, 2013 - 3:00pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

Odissi Lecture & Demonstration with Srinwanti Chakrabarti

Odissi is an eastern classical Indian dance form which combines precise rhythmic footwork with soft lyricism and wave-like movements of the upper body. This series will explore the history, technique, and contemporary choreography of the art form.

Friday, November 8, 2013 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Ida Noyes Hall, Dance Room (1212 East 59th Street)

TAPSA Talk - Abhishek Ghosh

"A Devotional Doxography of 'World Philosophy:' Bhaktivinod's Tattvaviveka"

The Western-educated Middle Class Bengalis Often Formed Their Intellectual Opinions About Europe By Reading European Literature And Philosophy. And Tapan Roychoudhury Notes In His Europe Reconsidered How The Bengali Intelligentsia “happened To Be The First Asian Social Group Of Any Size Whose Mental Worlds Got Transformed Through Interactions With The West.” (ix). This Presentation Will Give An Overview Of The Dynamics Of Encounter And Response In The Works Of A Prominent Vaiṣṇava Thinker, Kedarnath Datta Bhaktivinod In The Areas Of ‘world History’ And ‘world Religions’ Before Turning To A Discussion Of His Devotional Treatment Of ‘world Philosophies.’ In Discussing His Sanskrit/bengali Work Tattvaviveka, A ‘doxography Of World Philosophies,’ Bhaktivinod Was Responding To The To Some Of The European Discourses On Civilizational Difference Which Posited That Philosophy Was Essentially European. By Placing Thinkers Like Yang-tse, Descartes Or Shankara Into A ‘philosophical System’ Based On Vaiṣṇava Theology, I Argue, Bhaktivinod Seems To Counter Some These European Notions That Excluded India From The History Of Philosophy.

Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 4:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

South Asia Seminar - Oliver Freiberger

"I Belong to the Sakyas' Son:" Revisiting Religious Boundary-Making in Ancient India"

This talk discusses the question of how historians of religion can distinguish religions in pre-modern South Asia. It suggests seven aspects of an analysis of religious boundary-making and then presents two examples from ancient India, the concept of the Buddha as an avatāra of Viṣṇu in the Purāṇas and the segregating concept of the Middle Way in the so-called Pāli canon. The analysis of these cases will focus on the plurality and instability of religious boundaries. The talk also discusses the application of the terms “religion” and “religions” and argues that terms widely used to identify the latter are problematic, hybrid terms that are fully contingent upon the demarcation activities of religious actors.

Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 4:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

Film Screening - "Umbartha" (Threshold)

Umbartha (translation: Threshold) is a 1982 Marathi film directed by well known Marathi director, Jabbar Patel. The film’s main protagonist Sulaba Mahajan, played by Smita Patil, struggles with the demands of family and her role as the superintendent of a Women’s Home. The film was adjudged the Best Feature Film in Marathi at the 29th National Film Awards. Smita Patil’s performance in this film inspired well known film maker Costa Gavars to organize the first ever retrospective on an Indian female actor (Smita Patil) in Paris.

Join us for light Maharashtrian refreshments and look out for more films as part of our Marathi films retrospective this quarter.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 3:30pm

TAPSA Talk - Bushra Asif

"Sanctioning Subordination? The Politics of Gender Laws in Pakistan"

Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 4:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

Film Screening - "Kangal Malsat" (War Cry of the Beggars)

Suman Mukhopadhyay’s film Kangal Malsat (2013, 1 hour 53 minutes) depicts groups of Choktars (wizards) and Fyataroos (flying humans) jointly launching guerilla attacks against the ruling Communist Party in West Bengal. They are advised by an ageless primordial talking crow and an Indo-colonial half-breed. Total chaos in Calcutta ensues.

Prof. Dipesh Chakrabarty will introduce the film. Discussion and reception with the director to follow.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 4:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

Militant Publics in India: Physical Culture and Violence in the Making of a Modern Polity


Please join us for a talk by Arafaat Valiani, Assistant Professor of History in the Department of History at the University of Oregon.

A recent feature article in Caravan magazine explored the prospect that the BJP will project Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, as its Prime Ministerial candidate in the 2014 general election. The fact that this has come to pass has, once again, thrust politics in Gujarat into the national limelight. Drawing on his recent book, entitled Militant Publics in India: Physical Culture and Violence in the Making of a Modern Polity (2011), Professor Arafaat Valiani’s lecture will discuss the place of violence and popular activism, two things closely associated with Modi’s ascendancy, by tracing it in the context of Gandhi’s satyagraha movement in colonial South Africa and Gujarat.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 12:00pm
Pick 105 (5828 South University Avenue)

SA Seminar - Srilata Raman

"Anti-Hagiography and Public Controversy in Colonial South India"

The genre of polemical literature collectively known as khaṇḍanas has a long history in both Sanskrit and Tamil literature. Nevertheless, polemical positions long rehearsed and anticipated, through centuries of inter-textuality, had to re-thought and crafted anew with the decisive emergence of Christianity – both Jesuitical and Evangelical – in the Tamil literary scene, both in Jaffna and Southern India, starting from the 17th century. After the mid-19th century much of this polemics, among the traditional elites, was conducted in the new medium of printed books. There was, in general, an increased literary competitiveness in the air as those other than the traditional, religious establishment, who formed a category of self-invented, new and “lay” religious leaders, began to give voice to their views in print, thus provoking the critical response of the former. In this paper I will discuss one such work that repudiated, through savage polemics, the genre of hagiography, as practiced in the Tamil religious context. I call this text an anti-hagiography inasmuch as it questions and subverts hagiographical assumptions through comprehensively containing elements of a genre inversion. The text is attributed to Ārumuka Nāvalar of Jaffna (1822-1879) and is an indictment of his with regard to his contemporary and popular Śaivite religious poet Ramalinga Swamigal (1823-1874). In discussing this text we will also be addressing the broader issues of religious authority, canonicity and the new conceptions of authorship which begin to emerge in the context of the printing of religious literature in colonial South India.

Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 4:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

Swami Vivekananda's 150th Birth Anniversary


Welcome Music by Sur Musafir

Opening Ceremony
Lighting 150 Lamps & Peace Chant by Children of Chinmaya Mission

Welcome Address
Elizabeth Davenport,, Dean, Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

Keynote Address
Swami Varadananda, Asst. Minister, Vedanta Society of Chicago

Group Song by Unity in the Dunes Church Choir

Empowerment of Women
Professor Rochona Majumdar, University of Chicago

Unity in Diversity
Swami Shantarupananda, Minister-in-Charge, Vedanta Society of Portland

Group Song by BAGC

Upliftment of the Masses
Professor Gary Tubb, University of Chicago

Vivekananda’s Contribution to Humanity
Swami Ishatmananda, Vedanta Society of Chicago

Eastern & Western Fusion Music by Sur Musafir
Vote of Thanks

Sunday, October 6, 2013 - 2:30pm
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel (5850 S. Woodlawn)