“Envisioning South Asia: Texts, Scholarship, Legacies” will be one of the key events during the academic year 2015-2016 marking two important landmarks in South Asian studies at the University of Chicago: the 50th anniversary of the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations (SALC), and the 60th anniversary of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies (COSAS). These celebrations also coincide with the commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the founding of the University of Chicago. The exhibition in Special Collections will provide an opportunity to explore the influential role of University of Chicago scholars in shaping South Asian studies. It will also be an occasion for displaying significant early books and manuscripts on South Asia, as well as papers from University faculty members including A. K. Ramanujan, original research materials and publications, and examples from collections in contemporary popular culture.
South Asia Seminar Series presentation by Patrick Olivelle, Professor Emeritus, Department of Asian Studies, University of Texas, Austin and Visiting Professor.
What was the social status of medical professionals in ancient India? Did that status differ among different socio-economic and religious groups? This seminar examines these issues based on an examination of the terminology used by ancient Indian texts for medical professionals and finds, in these terms, clues to their changing status within Indian society.
TAPSA presentation by Faridah Zaman, Donnelly Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of History, University of Chicago.
The Khilafat and Non-Cooperation Movement of c. 1919-22 is commonly described as a period of unprecedented national unity in India that was, nevertheless, ultimately a demonstration of the failures Gandhian theory in popular practice. This paper seeks to rethink the narrative of failure by considering the thought of leading Indian Muslims of this period, particularly focusing on the kinds of religio-political categories they were thinking through in addition to and often times in distinct tension with the Gandhian satyagrahi.
In his book A Storm of Songs (Harvard University Press, 2015), Jack Hawley attempts to unearth the historical, political, and performative contingencies that gave birth to the concept of the bhakti movement. It emerges that, starting with the Mughals and their Kachvaha allies, North Indian groups looked to the Hindu South as a resource that would give religious and linguistic depth to their own collective history. Only in the early twentieth century, however, did the idea of a bhakti “movement” crystallize -- in the intellectual circle surrounding Rabindranath Tagore in Bengal. What should we do with the idea of the bhakti movement once we recognize that this portrait of history is deeply conditioned by a history of its own?
This dissertation chapter explores “novice summer camps” (khrongkan buat samanen phak rueduron) in which boys across Thailand ordain for several weeks during the summer break from school. A main goal is for boys to learn to “adjust themselves” (prab tua) to temporary monasticism and behaving riaproi, a particular aesthetic and way of being that is neat and orderly. I argue that being riaproi is closely tied to ideas of “Thainess” (khwampenthai), linking the self-cultivation work of “novice summer camps” to Thai nationalism.
Arunava Sinha has published over thirty book-length translations of classic, modern, and contemporary Bengali fiction, non-fiction, and poetry into English. Three of them have won national translation awards in India, and his work has been shortlisted for the UK Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Arunava will discuss translation challenges he's faced in bringing various texts into English: what choices were possible, and how and why he made the decisions he did. He will be joined in the readings by UChicago advanced Bangla students. Reception will follow. Co-sponsored by the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, the Creative Writing Program, and the University of Chicago Center in Delhi.
For more information, or for those individuals who may need assistance, please contact Alicia Czaplewski at 773-702-8373 or firstname.lastname@example.org.