Past Events

South Asia Seminar: "The Way of the Poet-King: Two Authors, Two Models, Two Languages"

Andrew Ollett, University of Chicago, SALC, Visiting faculty member; Harvard University, Society of Fellows, Post-Doc
Sarah Pierce Taylor, Associate, COSAS

The Way of the Poet-King (Kavirājamārgaṁ), composed around 870, has a strong claim to being the earliest Kannada text to survive in manuscript form, and arguably did more than any other text to establish this “regional language” of South India as a literary idiom more or less on par with Sanskrit. The Way can be characterized, fairly, as a project of the Imperial Rāṣṭrakūṭa court, as a transcreation of an important work of poetics in Sanskrit, namely Daṇḍin’s Mirror of Poetry (Kāvyādarśa), and as a watershed moment in the history of Kannada literature. Our talk will take another look at these three aspects of the Way, but we will emphasize the “twos” that make each of them more complex: its two authors (Śrīvijaya and Nr̥patuṅga), the two works of poetics that served as its primary models (Daṇḍin’s Mirror and Bhāmaha’s Ornament), and the two languages whose relationship to each other is one of the text’s primary concerns (Sanskrit and Kannada).

Dates: 
Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 5:00pm
Foster 103

TAPSA: "Learning from Violence: institutionalized Responses to Buddhist-Muslim Violence in Myanmar"

On August 25th 2017, an attack by Muslim rebels on police outposts in Western Myanmar and the military’s brutal response ignited a humanitarian crisis that the UN has labeled a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Although striking to the West, the violence in Rakhine State was not surprising to many in Myanmar. In Rakhine State as elsewhere in the country, communal violence between Buddhists and Muslims has occurred sporadically since at least the late 19th century. Incidents of violence are in no way inevitable, nor are they always the same, but communities that have experienced violence in the past have learned from these experiences and developed responses to potentially violent situations. The dissertation uses ethnographic and interview data to explore the ways in which communities experience and respond to recurrent communal violence.

Presented by doctoral candidate Nathaniel Gonzalez, Department of Sociology

Dates: 
Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 5:00pm
Foster 103

South Asia Seminar: "Indian Detective Fiction and the Reflection of World Literature"

Laura Brueck, Associate Professor of Hindi Literature, South Asian Studies, and Comparative Literature; Chair, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures; Co-director of Global Humanities Initiative; Northwestern University

The variegated landscape of 20th and 21st century Indian detective fiction illustrates how narrative conventions, styles, and modes of reception traverse multiple linguistic and literary landscapes in modern India. I argue in this paper that a study of Indian detective fiction and the multilingual pathways of its rise to popular dominance can provide new understandings of the diversity of Indian reading publics, the contribution of pulp fiction to modern colloquialisms and styles of speech, and the power of a mass literary culture to help shape notions of law and (dis)order, as well as social convention and transgression.

Dates: 
Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 5:00pm
Foster 103

TAPSA: "Catholic Selves and Tamil Poetry in the 18th Century"

Margherita Trento

In the 1720s, the Jesuit missionary Carlo Michele Bertoldi (1662-1740) introduced the practice of Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises in the Madurai mission, and organized many retreats for converts and catechists in the village of Avur (Tiruchirappalli). Around the same years, his colleague and savant Costanzo Giuseppe Beschi (1680-1747) started a school of classical Tamil in the village of Elakkuricci (Tanjavur district), for the education of his catechists. In this presentation, I analyze these two local enterprises, and the texts produced in that context — especially Bertoldi’s Ñāṉamuyaṟci, the first adaptation of the Spiritual Exercises into Tamil, and Beschi’s Tirukkāvalūr kalampakam — in order to reflect upon the relationship between Tamil literature and strategies for shaping Catholic selves in the early eighteenth century.

Dates: 
Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 5:00pm
Foster 103

South Asia Seminar: “The Highway, Automobility and New Promises in 1960s Bombay Cinema”

Ranjani Mazumdar, Professor of Cinema Studies, School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU, Delhi

A fascination for color in the 1960s led to Bombay cinema’s mobilization of the hinterland as the site for a new future. With the development of Indian highways and an increase in automobility, a new map of India now occupied the cinematic imagination. This talk will explore the links between the infrastructure of automobile culture, the highway, industrial development outside the city, and 1960s Bombay Cinema.

Dates: 
Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 5:00pm
Foster 103

TAPSA: “An Empire of Literary Telugu: The Andhra Sahitya Parishat and Telugu Classicism in an Age of British Imperialism (1911-1915)”

Gautham Reddy

Scholars of Telugu literature have frequently represented Telugu Classicism at the turn of the twentieth century as the dying gasp of an ancient régime. This essay revisits the early years of the Andhra Sahitya Parishat (1911-1915) in order to examine questions around the origins and persistence of Telugu Classicism and its relationship to contemporary Indian notions of modernity at the turn of the twentieth century. A review of the Parishat's early interventions in public literary controversies surrounding the standardization of Telugu prose and its successful attempts to position itself as a nationalist intermediary sheds powerful light on the early twentieth century fascination with Telugu Classicism among the English-educated Telugu graduate class and showcases a 'Lost Era' of literary activism and national identity formation in the shadow of Empire. Ultimately, this essay argues that Telugu Classicism was an integral dimension of contemporary projects of linguistic and literary reform and constructively contributed to the imagination of Telugu as a 'national language' in an era of British Imperialism.

Dates: 
Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 5:00pm
Foster 103

Workshop on Kudiyattam

Please join us for a workshop on Kudiyattam, with presentations by Whitney Cox, Davesh Soneji, David Shulman, and Margi Madhu.

This event is free and open to the public.

Dates: 
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 (All day)
Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society

Nepathya - Kudiyattam Performance

Please join us for a public performance by the group Nepathya. India has a rich theatrical tradition with ancient roots. The classical Sanskrit theater survives today in performance in only one theaterical form, the Kudiyattam, from the state of Kerala in southwest India.

This event is free and open to the public.

Dates: 
Monday, November 6, 2017 (All day)
Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago

South Asia Seminar: “European Science and Colonial Anthropology in British India, c. 1871-1911”

Christopher John Fuller, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, London School of Economics

For the government officials who carried out ethnographic inquiry and anthropological research in colonial India, the aims and objective were always both ‘scientific’ and ‘administrative’. Modern scholarship on colonial anthropology in India has focused on its administrative, political or ideological aspects, whereas this talk will examine its scientific, academic and intellectual aspects, with particular reference to the work of H. H. Risley, British India’s leading official anthropologist.

Dates: 
Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 5:00pm
Foster 103

Sister Nivedita’s 150th Anniversary

Dance performances and talks by Swamis in the Vivekananda society, hosted by Hindu Sangam and the Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago.

Dates: 
Friday, October 27, 2017 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Ida Noyes 3rd Floor Theater

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