Past Conferences and Workshops

Kathakali Lecture/Demonstration

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - 6:00pm
Reynolds Club 3rd Floor FXK Theatre

Center in Beijing Workshop

Saturday, June 7, 2014 (All day) to Sunday, June 8, 2014 (All day)

C.S. Lakshmi (Ambai) Presentation

"Marks on the Body: Some Thoughts on Women, Language and Expression"

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - 4:30pm

Wendy Doniger in Conversation with Leela Gandhi on The Hindus: An Alternative History

Wendy Doniger's The Hindus: An Alternative HIstory, recently halted publication in India as a result of a lawsuit that was settled out of court by the publisher, Penguin Books India. The suit was banned on Section 295A in The Indian Penal Code.

Here in Hyde Park, at The Seminary Bookstore, we wish to support Professor Doniger and show our appreciation of her willingness to discuss this seminal work despite legal action in India and the overwhelming media response. Leela Gandhi will act as interlocutor for the event.

Co-sponsored by The Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations and the Committee on Southern Asian Studies.

Reception to follow the conversation.

Monday, May 5, 2014 - 6:00pm
Seminary Co-op Bookstore (5751 S. Woodlawn Ave)

COSAL (4th Norman Cutler Conference)

For More Information, Please See the COSAL Website

The Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago is pleased to announce the Fourth Norman Cutler Conference on South Asian Literature (COSAL), featuring noted Marathi author Malika Amar Shaikh.

Malika Amar Shaikh will be introducing both her poetry and her prose (autobiography, short stories, and a novel).

The underlying theme of the conference is STREE-LIKHIT MARATHI

"Written from the Margins: Malika Amar Shaikh and Marathi Women Writers over the Centuries." The breadth of this canvas is intended to allow invited scholars in the field (from the United States, Great Britain, and India) to explore in their papers the larger contexts and wide-ranging historical and social locations of women's writing in Marathi and the multifarious forms and registers of the Marathi language they have employed: ranging from the 13th-century Yadava Period through the 15th-century Bahmani, from the 17th-century Shivakalin through the 18th-century Peshwai, from the Colonial through the Post-Colonial and Contemporary, all periods that have produced Marathi women's writing.

The keynote address will be given by Vidyut Bhagwat, Professor Emerita and retired Head of the Centre for Women's Studies, University of Pune, India.

The 2014 COSAL is sponsored by the University of Chicago's Committee on Southern Asian Studies, the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the Creative Writing Program, the Gender Studies Program, and the University of Chicago Center in Delhi.

Friday, May 2, 2014 (All day) to Saturday, May 3, 2014 (All day)

Holy Sh*t in Tamil: Exploring the Cultural History of Swearing and Abuse

Presentation by A.R. Venkatachalapathy

Lunch will be served

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

South Asia Graduate Student Conference

Friday, April 18, 2014 (All day) to Saturday, April 19, 2014 (All day)
Classics 110 (1010 E. 59th Street)

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)

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)

"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)