South Asia Seminar Series

South Asia Seminar - Rebecca M. Brown "Durations and Interruptions: People, Process, and Art at the 1985–86 Festival of India"

In the hot summer of 1985 in Washington DC, after opening the gallery each morning with a puja, forty artists and performers from India took their places on platforms marked with their names, crafts, and region, and proceeded to sew, mold, carve, paint, dance, sing, and play for the thousands of visitors who snaked through the National Museum of Natural History. The exhibition, entitled Aditi: A Celebration of Life, was one of over 70 art shows that took place as part of the Festival of India in the US, a series of international collaborations and contestations that presented a range of Indias to a range of audiences across the country. Aditi, an exhibition highlighting handicraft through an imagined ideal Indian village, builds on longstanding modes of conceiving India through craft, alongside nineteenth-century exhibitionary practices of putting people on display. Yet, the exhibition, in its broader frame as part of the Festival, and in the intimate durations and day-to-day relations among people, objects, sounds, and smells, presents an opportunity to think dierently about objects and agency, objectication and animation to get at the small scale durations and temporal irruptions that contributed to a dynamic,challenging, and ever-shifting presentation of India in the gallery.

Dates: 
Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 4:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

South Asia Seminar - Kaley Mason "Enterprising Performers, Worldly Ethnopreneurs: Ritual Artistry out of Hereditary Servitude in Malabar"

Kerala is one of India’s premiere destinations for leisure travelers. Aggressively promoted as “God’s Own Country” since the early 1990s, the state’s robust tourism industry has benetted from an educated workforce, tropical scenery, Ayurvedic treatment facilities, and distinctive performing arts, including classical dance-dramas like Kathakali and visually stunning rituals like eyyam in Malabar. While many studies have examined touristic encounters with stationary hosts, few have explored the mobility of the “toured.” In this paper I trace the passage of Malayan eyyam spirit-medium performers from ritual servants in communities of worship, to artists on proscenium stages in destination branding strategies of corporate Kerala. Drawing on conversations with diverse actors in the industry, including a double-reed player and his high-caste impresario, I examine how global tourism opened new avenues for cultural mobility, as well as how subaltern performers adapted their craft accordingly. At the same time, I also reect on the ways in which these avenues were contingent on ethnicizing caste identity and forging inter-caste alliances, strategies that would appear to run against the grain of socialist Kerala’s sublimation of caste in favor of class.

Dates: 
Thursday, October 2, 2014 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

South Asia Seminar - Margaret Cone

Margaret Cone is a Fellow Emerita of Darwin College, Cambridge.

Dates: 
Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 11:00am
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

South Asia Seminar - Peter Khoroche

Dates: 
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 4:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

South Asia Seminar - Llerena Searle

Dates: 
Thursday, May 1, 2014 - 4:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

South Asia Seminar - Kapil Raj

"Making a Portuguese-Language Herbal Speak: 'Local' Knowledge and the East India Company on the Malabar Coast in the 18th Century"

European knowledge, especially medicine, is usually presented as being "scientific" as opposed to the "empirical", non-theorised, "local" practices of non-European peoples. It is thus a commonplace amongst historians to consider that the former displaced the latter if not into total oblivion at least into marginality during the course of European expansion and colonisation. Preliminary research on a mid-18th Portuguese-language century herbal and pharmacopeia from the Malabar coast allows us to examine this widely-held assumption and helps throw new light on the interaction between European and "local" medical practices as well as on the languages through which they they circulated and interacted with each other. Finally, this research also contributes significantly to our understanding of the commercial, administrative and diplomatic practices of the English and other European East India Companies on the Malabar coast during this period.

Dates: 
Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 4:30pm
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.

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

South Asia Seminar - Naisargi Dave

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

South Asia Seminar - Jocelyn Chua

“'Between the Devil and the Deep Sea': Suicide and Stories of Development in Contemporary Kerala"

Dates: 
Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 4:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

South Asia Seminar - Sonal Khullar

"Scratches in Time: M.F. Husain's Through the Eyes of A Painter (1967)"

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

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