Past Events

From Pulavar to Professor: The Changing Status of the Tamil Pandit

South Asia Seminar: A.R. Venkatachalapathy, Madras Institute of Development Studies
"From Pulavar to Professor: The Changing Status of the Tamil Pandit"
This paper traces the changing status of Tamil pulavars or pandits in colonial Tamil Nadu. Following Macaulay's minute the policy of imparting Western education undermined the status of language teachers. Seen as relics of a lost world and impediments to modernity they were objects of ridicule. But Tamil identity politics empowered them giving them an enhanced cultural status.

Thursday, October 18, 2018 - 5:00pm
Foster 103

'Harishchandra Chāritra’ and the Medieval Shaiva Literary Canon in Kannada

South Asia Seminar: Vanamala Viswanatha, Azim Premji University

Harishchandra Chāritra, or Harishchandra Kāvya, as more popularly known in Kannada literary culture, (The Life of Harishchandra, Murty Classical Library of India, Harvard University Press, 2017) was written by poet Raghavanka of Hampi in Northern Karnataka, around 1225 CE. Like the mythical, two-headed gaṅḍabhēruṅḍa bird, the insignia of Karnataka kings, that looks back and looks forward at once, this kāvya text of narrative poetry in the mārga/courtly tradition combines in equal measure aspects of the dēsi/vernacular which came to dominate literary production in the ensuing centuries. The talk demonstrates ways in which this shaiva text from the medieval period forges important links with its literary forebears from the Sanskrit kāvya tradition even as it establishes a local habitat for itself in a quintessential Kannada milieu. Drawing from the oral and folk traditions of Kannada, the poet innovates a new metre called shatpadi, which also provides creative expression for the Vaishnava poets in the later centuries. The text becomes a dialogic space in which Kannada and Sanskrit, the classical and the popular/ dēsi, the local and the pan-Indian jostle against each other to gesture towards a poetics that could go beyond its sectarian moorings. I argue that Raghavanka could accomplish this by maintaining a critical distance in terms of ideology, theme, and form from the canonical Virashaiva poets of the earlier century as well as from Harihara, his own guru and contemporary poet.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 5:00pm
Foster 103

UChicago Presents Hosts Music Without Borders

Carnatic vocalist TM Krishna is a revolutionary force in Indian classical music and art. Born to musical parents, Krishna grew up in Brahmin society, surrounded by the traditional arts and educated by gurus of Carnatic musical form and style. Now one of India’s most revered musicians and one of the world’s most recognized representatives of Indian culture, however, Krishna is releasing Carnatic music from its upper-caste confines, revitalizing it and making it relevant for today.

TM Krishna performs with violinist RK Shriramkumar and mridangam player K Arun Prakash on the Logan Center stage on Sunday, October 14 at 3 pm. Before the concert, Krishna will join Professor of Music Anna Schultz on stage in conversation about his life and music, and on Monday, October 15, he presents a lecture titled “Art, Politics, and Society: the role and responsibility of artists to right-wing nationalism and social/religious conflict” at 7 pm in International House.
Sunday, October 14: TM Krishna (location: Logan Center)
• 2 pm – pre-concert talk with TM Krishna and Anna Schultz
• 3 pm – TM Krishna performance: “A Classical Protest”

Monday, October 15: continued talks with TM Krishna (location: International House)
• 12:15pm -- Roundtable discussion in Coulter Lounge
• 1pm -- Refreshments in Assembly Hall
• 1:30pm -- Music Workshop & Master Class with South Asian Music Ensemble
• 6:00pm -- Pre-Discussion Reception with TM Krishna
• 7:00pm - Public Discussion in Assembly Hall

Sunday, October 14, 2018 (All day) to Monday, October 15, 2018 (All day)

Old World, New World; Old Ways, New Ways: Libraries and Cultural Property

South Asia Seminar: Graham Shaw, British Library

[Celebrating the Career of James Nye Dinner Following, Classics 110]

In this talk, Graham Shaw will offer a review of the ways in which South Asian collections in the West - Europe and America - have developed from the 18th to the 20th centuries in the light of changing historical circumstances, relationships and technologies. Shaw comes to Chicago to join in honoring the many contributions of South Asia bibliographer Jim Nye, who will retire from UChicago this fall. Shaw credits Nye with devising an ethical approach to collections and cultural property and will discuss how the field has changed over the course of both men’s careers.

Thursday, October 4, 2018 - 5:00pm
Foster 103