Upcoming TAPSA Talks

Theory and Practice in South Asia (TAPSA)

The workshop is designed to keep faculty and graduate students of social science and humanistic disciplines concerned with South Asia in touch with new directions in the field by providing interdisciplinary models of methodological and substantive approaches. The Workshop makes a special point of crossing the boundary between the humanities and social sciences. It collaborates with the South Asia Seminar, one dedicated to graduate student presentations, the other to presentations by in-resident or visiting scholars and faculty. The South Asia Seminar series and the TAPSA Workshop bring together not only scholars from various disciplines, but make a special point of attracting scholars from South Asia. Their visits are designed to promote continuing exchanges with recent work on the sub-continent and to introduce graduate students to future colleagues in South Asia.

For more information about TAPSA, please visit the TAPSA blog.

All events are open to the public.

The South Asia Seminar Series and TAPSA Talks meet on alternating Thursdays at 5:00PM-6:00PM in Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street).

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.

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

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.

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