Past Events

Making Hinduism a 'world religion': before and after Swami Vivekananda

A lecture by Sir Christopher A. Bayly
Sir Christopher A. Bayly of Cambridge University is the inaugural Indian Ministry of Culture Vivekananda Visiting Professor, and will be part of the faculty for Spring Quarter 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.

A synopsis of the lecture is as follows:
The term ‘world religion’ derives from Max Weber, and by implication from Hegel, but both these thinkers denied this status to Hinduism itself, seeing it respectively as a ‘dream religion’ and ‘other wordly’. This lecture seeks to show, however, that Hindu public figures, at least from the early colonial period onward, sought to make Hinduism a faith that was recognised in the wider world and also worked within Indian society through education, missionising and social work. Key figures here were Rammohan Roy and Keshub Chandra Sen in the 19th century. Vivekananda developed this theme further with his appearance at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 and foundation of the Ramakrishna Mission.

Co-sponsored by International House Global Voices Program.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 6:00pm
International House, Assembly Hall (1414 East 59th Street)

Rafi Haque - Art Reception

Reception will include food.

Biography of the Artist:
Rafi Haque is an internationally acclaimed visual artist from Bangladesh. Born in Kushtia in 1965, he received his MFA in 1991, with specialization in printmaking, from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka. His experiments with printmaking and painting over the past two decades have brought him numerous national and international accolades including the First Prize in 5th World Triennele of Print, Chamalieres, France in 2000. Also he was 'Artist-in-Residence' in Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan in 2000.

Rafi's works have been showcased in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Bangladesh, France, Germany, India, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Egypt, Russia, Poland, South Korea, Malaysia, Macedonia, Argentina, and the United States of America. Some of his recent participation international expositions includes 'Prints Tokyo 2012', and 'Fifth Beijing International Art Biennale 2012'.

Friday, April 4, 2014 - 4:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

India in the Global Legal Context: Courts, Culture, and Commerce

Event Schedule:

Introduction: Friday, April 4, 10:15-10:30am
Iza Hussin (UChicago, Political Science) – remarks

Striking a Uniquely Indian Balance: Recent Innovations in Indian Intellectual Property Law: Friday, April 4, 10:30 – 12:00pm
Adrian Johns (UChicago, History) – chair
Shyam Balganesh (UPenn, Law) – presenter
Kaushik Sunder Rajan (UChicago, Anthropology) – faculty discussant
Elizabeth Lhost (UChicago, History) – student discussant

Lunch, in the Social Science Tea Room: Friday, April 4, 12:00-1:20pm<./strong>

Comparative Approaches to Sex Selection in India & the United States: Friday, April 4, 1:30 – 3:00pm
Jothie Rajah (American Bar Foundation) – chair
Sital Kalantry (UChicago, Law) – presenter
Sonia Katyal (Fordham, Law) – faculty discussant
Sayantan Saha Roy (UChicago, Anthropology) – student discussant

The City as Transnational Classroom: Urban Spaces as Sites of Engagement between Property Rights and Conflicting Modernities: Friday, April 4, 3:30-5:00pm
Bernadette Atuahene (IIT Chicago-Kent, Law) – chair
Priya Gupta (Southwestern, Law) – presenter
Eduardo Peñalver (UChicago, Law) – faculty discussant
Marco Segatti (UChicago, Law) – student discussant

Grappling at the Grassroots: Litigant-Efforts to Access Economic and Social Rights in India: Saturday, April 5, 10:00-11:30am
Martha Nussbaum (UChicago, Law & Philosophy) – chair
Jayanth Krishnan (Indiana-Bloomington, Law) – presenter
Arvind Elangovan (Wright State, History) – faculty discussant
TBA – student discussant

Concluding Remarks: Saturday, April 5, 11:30am-12:00pm
Anup Malani (UChicago, Law) – remarks

Lunch in the Social Science Tea Room: Saturday, April 5, 12:00-1:30pm

All panels take place in the John Hope Franklin Room (Social Sciences 224)

COSAS, the Nicholson Center for British Studies, the Norman Wait Harris Fund (Center for International Studies), the Law School, Grad Council, the Franke Center for the Humanities, South Asian Law Students Association.

This event is free and open to the public. No response is required, but seating is limited. For further information please contact the organizer, Deepa Das Acevedo, at

Friday, April 4, 2014 (All day) to Saturday, April 5, 2014 (All day)
John Hope Franklin Room - SS224 (1126 E. 59th Street)

TAPSA Talk - Kimberly Walters

"Force is a Form of Trafficking’: The Shifting Sands of Transnational Sympathy and the Epistemology of Commercial Sex"

With the rapid rise in transnational funding for anti-trafficking initiatives, South Indian organizations that were once sites of sex worker empowerment efforts (in the name of HIV prevention) have begun to morph into sex worker rescue projects. This talk explores this ongoing shift at a highly visible sex workers’ community-based organization (CBO) in Hyderabad, India that recently expanded into a non-governmental organization (NGO) specializing in prevention and rehabilitation. Based on fieldwork conducted at this organization in 2009 and in 2012-2013, I suggest that the anti-trafficking movement operates similarly to an industry manufacturing salable goods. The transnational charitable market for stories of the rescue of trafficked women creates demand for narratives of victimization and hence pressure for their production. Anti-trafficking organizations, consequently, cultivate these narratives among sex workers who did not previously produce them. Northern desires to consume rescue narratives effect a new form of force in the lives of sex workers in the global south with broad implications for the production of knowledge about commercial sex.

Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

Film Screening - "Red Ant Dream"

This documentary deals with the issue of "Maoist insurgency in India." It focuses on the Maoists in Bastar in Chhattisgarh, tribals fighting against industrialists in Niyamgiri in Odisha, and protestors acting in memory of the Leftist revolutionary Bhagat Singh in Punjab. This film shows the people of these regions resisting what they believe to be oppression. Red Ant Dream was financed by funds given by an International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam Fund grant and a prize from the Busan International Film Festival.

Reception with director to follow. Refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 3:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

South Asia Seminar - Ritty Lukose

In recent debates about the post-liberalization achievements, failures, and future directions of the Indian economy, the choices before the Indian state and electorate have been cast as the "Gujarat versus Kerala" models. This discourse partakes of a long-standing construction of Kerala's development trajectory, often called "the Kerala Model", as one pole in "growth versus redistribution" policy arguments. This model came into being in the mid-1970s, linking the region to the international development apparatus, just as the transformations we currently associate with "neoliberalism" were taking shape. What was this "model" an alternative to in the mid-1970s? What is it an alternative to now? This paper addresses these questions as part of a larger exploration of our understandings of gender, development and neoliberalism.

Thursday, March 13, 2014 - 4:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

TAPSA Talk - Hamid Reza Ghelichkhani

Friday, March 7, 2014 - 1:00pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

South Asia Seminar - Naisargi Dave

Thursday, March 6, 2014 - 4:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

"How the Vernacular Became Regional: Language and Territory in Colonial Orissa" presented by Pritipuspa Mishra

Pritipuspa Mishra is a Fung Fellow at Princeton University.

This paper tracks the process of-- what I would like to call-- ‘the colonial vernacularization of India’ in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In this period, the new Colonial state’s efforts to understand and rule its Indian dominion resulted in the establishment of major regional Indian languages as mother tongues with discrete geographical, demographic and political constituencies. By tracking this process and its unexpected consequences in regional India, I suggest that we need to rethink the way the term ‘vernacular’ is understood in post-colonial scholarly discussions on linguistic politics in multi-lingual India.

Mirroring a precolonial process of vernacularization during what Sheldon Pollock has called the vernacular millennium, colonial vernacularization was driven by both the new colonial state’s administrative needs as well as reigning ideologies of language in the colonial metropole. Regimes of juridical administration, philological enquiries as well as educational policy led to meticulous linguistic mapping of India in the early to mid-nineteenth century. While these changes resulted in the colonial state’s categorization of its Indian subjects into discrete linguistic groups, the mechanics of this mapping engaged Indian subjects in vociferous debates about the boundaries between languages and their people. In founding the access of the newly colonized to the emergent colonial state, languages came to be deeply contested ground among regional Indian elite. Under such circumstances, claims that certain languages were ‘vernacular’ to certain areas were already implicated in colonial relations of power and native politics of representation. Vernacular, therefore, was not merely indigenous and local, but it was also the vehicle of native power.

Monday, March 3, 2014 - 12:00pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

TAPSA Talk - Professor Don Davis

"Rules in Culture and Metaculture according to Mīmāṃsā and Dharmaśāstra"

Presented in cooperation with the Study of Ancient Religions

Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 4:30pm