Past Events

Nepathya - Kudiyattam Performance

Please join us for a public performance by the group Nepathya. India has a rich theatrical tradition with ancient roots. The classical Sanskrit theater survives today in performance in only one theaterical form, the Kudiyattam, from the state of Kerala in southwest India.

This event is free and open to the public.

Monday, November 6, 2017 (All day)
Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago

South Asia Seminar: “European Science and Colonial Anthropology in British India, c. 1871-1911”

Christopher John Fuller, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, London School of Economics

For the government officials who carried out ethnographic inquiry and anthropological research in colonial India, the aims and objective were always both ‘scientific’ and ‘administrative’. Modern scholarship on colonial anthropology in India has focused on its administrative, political or ideological aspects, whereas this talk will examine its scientific, academic and intellectual aspects, with particular reference to the work of H. H. Risley, British India’s leading official anthropologist.

Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 5:00pm
Foster 103

Sister Nivedita’s 150th Anniversary

Dance performances and talks by Swamis in the Vivekananda society, hosted by Hindu Sangam and the Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago.

Friday, October 27, 2017 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Ida Noyes 3rd Floor Theater

TAPSA: "Style, Voice and Philosophy: A Study of Ratnākaraśānti’s and Jñānaśrīmitra’s Introductory Verses"

David Tomlinson

Does our appreciation of a philosopher’s style and voice affect effect our reading of his or her arguments? And if it does, is there any way that this might be admissible as evidence in our discussion of those arguments? By looking at their ornate introductory verses, I will explore these questions by considering the contrasting voices and philosophical, religious, and pedagogical interests of the eleventh-century Indian Buddhist philosophers Ratnākaraśānti and Jñānaśrīmitra.

Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 5:00pm
Foster 103


A digital humanities project launch hosted by Ulrike Stark

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 12:30pm
Foster 103

South Asia Seminar: "Love Jihad: Pasts and Presents of Communal Fantasies and Moral Panic”

Charu Gupta, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Delhi

This talk will juxtapose disjunctive invocations of Hindu male prowess and constructions of ‘licentious’ and sexually ‘ferocious’ Muslim male on the one hand, and assertions of recalcitrant female desire on the other, in modern India. Taking at its cue manufactured campaigns by hegemonic-homogenized Hindu identities and patriarchies around ‘abductions’ and conversions of Hindu women by Muslim men in early twentieth century colonial north India and in present-day India under the supposed threat of ‘love jihad’, the talk will probe intersections between sexualities, religious identities, intimate lives and political articulations.

The talk will reflect on how the arc of Hindu female desire for men outside the community, even while reifying heteronormativity, means that such desire is visceral and tactile, though it can only be acknowledged when it is being regulated as transgression, producing moral disciplining and everyday violence along the alliance model of sexuality, where through the arrangement of marriages, relations and boundaries of religion are policed.

Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 5:00pm
Foster 103

TAPSA: "Defining Slavery through Tamil and Malayalam Texts"

Malarvizhi Jayanth

Comparisons between West Indian and South Asian forms of slavery marked the unprecedented scrutiny of the enslaved in nineteenth-century southern India during the East India Company’s attempts to abolish slavery. Taking the question posed by abolitionism to an assortment of Tamil and Malayāḷam texts ranging from the ancient through the modern, this talk presents some indigenous definitions of slavery. While elite texts posit caste difference as cause for enslavement and place the enslaved outside history altogether, subaltern rituals and texts question the hierarchy and insist on the historical agency of the enslaved.

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 5:00pm
Foster 103

South Asia Seminar: "Role of Parks and Sanctuaries in the Conservation of India’s Biodiversity"

Trevor Price, Professor of Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Chair of COSAS

Remarkably, India has lost few animals and plants over the past 100 years, but many populations are now low, and rapid development is increasing threats on nature. Development is also creating opportunities for conservation, especially through eco-tourism. This talk will focus on the history and prospects for nature conservation in India through the maintenance of wildlife parks and sanctuaries.

Thursday, September 28, 2017 - 5:00pm
Foster 103

TAPSA: “The Reluctant Bureaucrat: the Ethical and the Everyday in Punjab’s Irrigation bureaucracy”

Maira Hayat

This paper explores the Irrigation bureaucracy in Pakistan’s Punjab province, and pursues two nodes as limits to the bureaucratic self: friendship and corruption. It brings into conversation literature on bureaucracies, states, and the ethical and everyday. The paper is a part of a dissertation chapter I am currently working on. My dissertation is titled, Ecologies of Water Governance in Pakistan: The Colony, the Corporation and the Contemporary.

Thursday, June 1, 2017 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Foster 103

Chicago Tamil Workshop

The Chicago Tamil Forum is workshop for scholars working on modern Tamilagam to share their ongoing, unpublished work. Begun in May 2014, the three-day workshop meets annually at the University of Chicago in Chicago, IL USA.

Working papers of the Chicago Tamil Forum, earlier presented in the workshops, are put online here.

Contact: Constantine V. Nakassis (

Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 4:30pm to Saturday, May 27, 2017 - 7:00pm
Department of Anthropology, Haskell