Past Events

South Asia Seminar: Durba Mitra

South Asia Seminar: Durba Mitra, Assistant Professor of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard University 

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https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcsdOuvqjwoHN0r0txkGLaujTTgaCh3WNQ5

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Dates: 
Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 5:00pm
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Girls Burn Brighter: a Reading and Discussion with Author Shobha Rao

Join us for a reading and Q and A session with young adult novelist Shobha Rao, author of Girls Burn Brighter. 

Rao, who was born in Kanpur to a family from the weaver caste of the Andhra town, Mangalagiri, has said, "I grew up observing the lives of women around me, this subset who had poor education, poor health... their lives were very devalued. I've always been interested in the specific vulnerabilities of some women, especially in times of conflict."

Set in the village of Indravelli in Telangana, Girls Burn Brighter explores human trafficking, cultural misogyny, caste, and most of all-- friendship.

Introduction by Dr. Nisha Kommattam and Q & A moderation by Rashmi Joshi

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https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJArf-CtrT8vHdBlcQAvHOzhzeKt-VZOL2Em

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Dates: 
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - 4:30pm
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TAPSA: The Federal Turn: Political and Legal Thought in Interwar India

Sarath Pillai, doctoral candidate of Department of History

This paper examines the shift in Indian political and legal thought from unitary state system (singular sovereignty) to federal state system (shared sovereignty) in the late 1920s. It argues that this shift coincides with the inauguration of a new constitutional politics pivoting on the century-old treaties that the princely states had entered with the British. Treaties acquired renewed interest in the interwar period as treaty violations were a major cause for the First World War. Interwar debates on the sanctity of treaties and the rise of a new form of political internationalism that sought to delegitimize wars as instruments of national policy give a global context to the move toward federalism in India. In the second part, the paper demonstrates the unitary nature of nationalist constitutional thinking, and its fidelity to Westminster-style unitary government, as evidenced by the views of nationalists, especially the authors of the Nehru Report (1928). It then shows the challenges posed to it by the federalists—princes and their advisors, conservatives, Muslim leaders, and certain British officials—who discarded the unitary state propounded by the nationalists and sought to fashion future India along the lines of federal states like Imperial Germany and the US. This break with the unitary model of state-making, which held sway in colonial India ever since the establishment of British rule, constitute, what I call as, the “federal turn” in interwar India.

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https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUrd-uhrTgtGdAKrDG6vxYEzq7LviPd4V_L

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Dates: 
Thursday, November 12, 2020 - 5:00pm
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Esoteric Theravada Meditation: Corruption or Abhidhamma?

Kate Crosby, King’s College London

Abstract: This talk will examine the esoteric meditation that dominated much of the Theravada world before the modern period. It will examine features that have seemed heterodox, and gained it a reputation as a corrupt form of Theravada and then counter this by considering how it enacts the path of transformation expounded in commentarial Abhidhamma.

Bio: Kate Crosby is Professor of Buddhist Studies in the department of Theology and Religious Studies at King’s College, London. She works on Sanskrit, Pali and Pali-vernacular literature, and on Theravada practice in the pre-modern and modern periods. She is interested in meditation, the history of the relationship between Buddhism and other technologies, and how varying responses to modernity influenced the shape, rhetoric and practice of Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Her publications include The Bodhicaryavatara; The Dead of Night & the Women; Theravada Buddhism: Continuity, Diversity, Identity and Traditional Theravada Meditation and its Modern Era Suppression. 

The lecture is supported through a generous gift by Mr. Jun Zhou.

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Dates: 
Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 11:15am
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Faith, War, and Belonging: A Conversation with Poet Tarfia Faizullah

Introduction by Tahera Qutbuddin, Q&A moderated by Rashmi Joshi & Lauren Doan

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https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMofu6srD0iGtWqKECv6H5Bfbwba6bkPtCw

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Dates: 
Monday, November 9, 2020 - 4:30pm
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South Asia Seminar: Governing a Racial Order: Dissimulation, Extraction, Politics

Rupa Viswanath, Professor of Indian Religions at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Modern democratic governments must ensure the regular reproduction of capital for their survival, an end which as such entails the regulation of labour. While mainstream scholars of the modern Euroamerican world understand the welfare state to be the institutional result of mediating these twin demands, a heterodox strand of scholarship has demonstrated that states depend as much on what we may call racial orders of resource allocation and extraction. Modern states racialize subpopulations primarily through welfare and in the sphere of electoral representation. I present part of a larger work that traces these processes comparatively in Malaysia, India and the United States; today I draw on material from the subnational state of Tamil Nadu, exploring how the management of caste violence and the institution of caste-based welfare took shape as democratic politics expanded.

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https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAoce6tqDouG9bdzGd2mTc2T4JEHTbqZexd

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Dates: 
Thursday, November 5, 2020 - 10:00am
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Beyond Boundaries and Within: An Exploration of Manipuri Classical Dance with Bimbavati Devi

Introduced by Professor Anna Schultz; Moderated by Supurna Dasgupta, doctoral student in South Asian Languages and Civilizations (10am Chicago time, 8:30pm Delhi time)

Tucked away in the Northeastern hills of the Indian subcontinent, Manipur is a land throbbing with soulful tunes, bold drumbeats, and flowing dances. Join us for a unique experience of Manipuri dance performance and a discussion of its history from the Manipuri dance exponent Bimbavati Devi.  Devi, the daughter of the dancer maestros Guru Bipin Singh and Guru Kalavati Devi, has been immersed in Manipuri classical dance for her entire life. Bimbavati Devi’s current style is a well-crafted and ever-dynamic balance between the traditional Vaishnavite ritual movements of classical Manipuri form and sensitive innovations for her contemporary productions. At this event, our guest Bimbavati Devi will offer a short lecture-demonstration of classical Manipuri as well as her fresh contributions, followed by a short conversation with the audience.

Register in advance for this event:

https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYsd-6hrz0jGtOHkRy_E6mSKP8BA9...

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Dates: 
Saturday, October 31, 2020 - 10:00am
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TAPSA: Divide and Rule? Separating Wheat From Chaff in Colonial South Asia

Fahad Sajid, doctoral candidate in Political Science

Although divide-and-rule is widely believed to have been an important strategy of colonial control, I argue that the evidence for this popular thesis is mixed at best for British India. Drawing on a range of sources, I demonstrate that while it was certainly used to structure the colonial army, it did not play a significant role in the colony’s civilian administration. I show further that the reason behind the colonial government’s reluctance to use divide-and-rule tactics was a perennial fear of causing civil unrest, a cost-benefit consideration that proponents of the theory have overlooked. This intervention is needed because an acceptance of the divide-and-rule thesis has come at the expense of sustained inquiry into the ways in which small numbers of Europeans were able to establish and maintain control over large stretches of the globe. I conclude, therefore, with a brief discussion on how the alternative framework of “collaboration” could fruitfully be extended.

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https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYvc-6hqTgrGtGHVpxEtAH66Q8TB_jt-Fmf

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Dates: 
Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 5:00pm
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Ishtyle: Accenting Gay Indian Nightlife

Please join the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality on 29th October 2020 from 4pm to 5pm (Central Time) for a book salon discussion of Ishtyle: Accenting Gay Indian Nightlife (UMich, 2020) featuring:

Kareem Khubchandani (Mellon Bridge Assistant Professor of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Tufts University), author

Lakshmi Padmanabhan (Assistant Professor of Radio/TV/Film, Northwestern University), discussant

Sharvari Sastry (PhD Candidate in South Asian Languages and Civilizations and Theater and Performance Studies, The University of Chicago), discussant

Sneha Annavarapu (Social Sciences Teaching Fellow, The University of Chicago), moderator 

Registration is required via Zoom link: https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUkdOmpqTsiGdCqsVRLrkRD3vQvJFXiQpFq

If you require assistance to attend, please email tbrazas@uchicago.edu.

About the Book

Ishtyle follows queer South Asian men across borders into gay neighborhoods, nightclubs, bars, and house parties in Bangalore and Chicago. Bringing the cultural practices they are most familiar with into these spaces, these men accent the aesthetics of nightlife cultures through performance. Kareem Khubchandani develops the notion of “ishtyle” to name this accented style, while also showing how brown bodies inadvertently become accents themselves, ornamental inclusions in the racialized grammar of desire. Ishtyle allows us to reimagine a global class perpetually represented as docile and desexualized workers caught in the web of global capitalism. The book highlights a different kind of labor, the embodied work these men do to feel queer and sexy together. Engaging major themes in queer studies, Khubchandani explains how his interlocutors’ performances stage relationships between: colonial law and public sexuality; film divas and queer fans; and race, caste, and desire. Ultimately, the book demonstrates that the unlikely site of nightlife can be a productive venue for the study of global politics and its institutional hierarchies.

 

Dates: 
Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 4:00pm
Zoom link in event description

TAPSA: Many Tongues, Many Voices: The Multilingual World of the Indian Press (1900–1915)

Sanjukta Poddar, doctoral candidate in South Asian Languages and Civilizations

At the turn of the twentieth century, the city of Allahabad emerged as a significant site of efflorescence in print culture. The city’s most prolific publishing house during this period, the Indian Press (est. 1884) and its founder, the enterprising print capitalist, Chintamoni Ghosh (1844 –1928), are today remembered as champions of Hindi, and the city is similarly viewed as the center of Hindi culture and Hindu sacred geography. Through an analysis of the Indian Press and through a brief reading of select journals in Hindi, Bangla, English, Urdu, this presentation demonstrates the existence of heterogenous print culture in the city and explores the meaning of multilingualism in this period. What was the role played by middle-class educated and professional migrants in shaping the city’s culture? Was the modern instantiation of multilingualism in Allahabad the same as its pre-colonial counterpart? In tracking opinion-building in journals of this multilingual milieu, what do we learn about the contestation of ideas and values in the public sphere of this period?

Zoom link will be emailed to the COSAS listservs. If you would like to ensure you can attend the event, please email Rashmi Joshi at rashmij@uchicago.edu to be added to our listserv. 

Dates: 
Thursday, October 22, 2020 - 5:00pm
Please see event description for Zoom details

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