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The Adversary

Doc Films Screening: The Adversary

7pm & 9:30pm

Dates: 
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - 7:00pm
Doc films 1212 E 59th St # 3, Chicago, IL 60637)

Chicago Tamil Forum Keynote: “The Language of Christians and Christian-Tamil – The Peculiar Journey of the 17th century Śaivite Poet Tāyumāṉavar”

South Asia Seminar and keynote speaker for Chicago Tamil Forum: Srilata Raman, Department of Study of Religion, University of Toronto

The 19th century saw intensive missionary activity in the Tamil region of South India. Particularly enduring proved to be the work of the Scudder family, evangelical Christians preachers from the Dutch Reformed Church of North America, who lived and preached in the North Arcot area of the Madras Presidency from the early 19th – 21st century. Prominent among this family was Henry Martyn Scudder (1822-1895), a fine Tamil scholar who wrote a compilation of preaching tracts called The Bazaar Book or the Vernacular Preacher’s Companion published in 1865. This work dealt extensively with the poetry of the Śaivite poet of the 17th century, Tāyumāṉavar, whose works endured and were immensely popular as part of the oral Tamil tradition in the 19th century. The Bazaar Book sees Tāyumāṉavar as a Crupto-Christian whose religious views are nothing other than Christian truths. This paper discusses the appropriation
of Tāyumāṉavar in the context of the emergence and consolidation of Christian-Tamil as a unique form of Tamil with its own conceptual vocabulary, thus also exploring what this language and the literature that it is embedded in might say about what is to be considered “Tamil” both linguistically and culturally in the second half of the second millennium.

Dates: 
Thursday, May 23, 2019 - 5:00pm
Foster 103

Company Limited

Doc Films Screening: Company Limited

7pm & 9:30pm

Dates: 
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - 5:00pm
Foster 103

The Emperor and His Attendants: Proximity, Intimacy and Politics in Royal Mughal Households

TAPSA: Emma Kalb, University of Chicago Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations

Although most often analyzed in terms of their role in relation to the harem, both in secondary literature and the comparative context, this talk focuses on eunuchs’ less-studied function in relation to the inner male spaces of the palace or camp. Both in text and image, eunuchs appear as figures both marking and controlling the perimeters of such spaces, in the process playing an important part in how access, intimacy and hierarchical relations were spatialized. As we will see, this situation not only gave eunuchs an important role in mediating elite social interactions, but furthermore entangled them in at-times-dangerous political conflicts. In this way, exploring how eunuchs inhabited this precarious position serves to illuminate the uneasy intimacies that could exist within elite Mughal households.

Dates: 
Thursday, May 30, 2019 - 5:00pm
Foster 103

The Middleman

Doc Films Screening: The Middleman

7pm & 9:30pm

Dates: 
Wednesday, June 5, 2019 - 7:00pm
Doc films 1212 E 59th St # 3, Chicago, IL 60637

Polemic and Doxography in Haribhadrasūri

TAPSA: Anil Mundra, University of Chicago Divinity School

The notion of “polemic” is often used but rarely theorized by scholars of premodern South Asia. Meanwhile, the term “doxography,” originally coined for classical Western philosophical surveys, has gained currency in recent decades in the study of Sanskrit texts. Some Indologists conceive of these two genres as largely coextensive, while others would rather stipulate their mutual exclusion. While allowing for their differentiated analytical utility, I will substantiate Wilhelm Halbfass’s hint that no hard division can be drawn between doxography and other ways of dealing with opponents in premodern Sanskrit philosophy by displaying the continuities in the eighth-century Jain scholar-monk Haribhadrasūri’s project from the Ṣaḍdarśanasamuccaya—the paradigmatic South Asian doxography—through his inter- and intra-religious commentaries, up to his most overtly polemical treatises.

Dates: 
Thursday, June 6, 2019 - 5:00pm
Foster 103

The Study of Southern Asia at the University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is one of the leading centers for the study of Southern Asia. Countries in which we have scholarly expertise include in South Asia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka; and in Southeast Asia, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tibet (as an autonomous region), and Vietnam.

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