University of Wisconsin–Madison

Conference Program

Day Time Event
Wednesday, October 21nd, 2015 5:30-
8:00pm
Registration Open
Venue: 2nd Floor Foyer
Thursday, October 22nd, 2015 All-day Symposium
8:00am-
8:00pm
Registration Open
Venue: 2nd Floor Foyer
12:00-
8:00pm
Exibit Hall Open
Venue: Madison Ballroom
5:30-
6:00pm
Reception
Venue: WI Ballroom
Friday, October 23rd, 2015 8:00-
5:00pm
Registration Open
Venue: 2nd Floor Foyer
8:30am-
5:30pm
Exibit Hall Open
Venue: Madison Ballroom
8:30-
10:15am
Session 1 – 15 Panels
10:30am-
12:15pm
Session 2 – 15 Panels
1:45-
3:30pm
Session 3 – 17 Panels
3:45-
5:30pm
Session 4 – 16 Panels
5:30-
6:00pm
Reception
Venue: WI Ballroom
6:00-
7:00pm
Keynote Address (Wendy Doniger)
Venue: WI Ballroom
7:00-
8:30pm
All-conference Dinner & SABA Award Presentation
Venue: Capitol Ballroom B
9:00-
11:00pm
DJ Rekha Dance Party (with Tanuja Desai Hidier)
Venue: WI Ballroom
Saturday, October 24th, 2015 8:00am-
3:30pm
Registration Open
Venue: 2nd Floor Foyer
8:30am-
8:30pm
Exibit Hall Open
Venue: Madison Ballroom
8:30-
10:15am
Session 5- 15 Panels
9:30-
11:00am
2015 SABA Author Presentation
Venue: Assembly Room
10:30am-
12:15pm
Session 6- 16 Panels
1:45-
3:30pm
Session 7- 16 Panels
3:45-
5:30pm
Plenary Session (Thrity Umrigar, Shyam Selvadurai)
Venue: Capitol Ballroom A
5:30pm-
7:00pm
CET College year in India Alumni Reception
Venue: University Room
7:00-
8:00pm
Performance (Nautanki with Devesh Sharma)
Venue: WI Ballroom
9:00-
11:00pm
AIPS Reception
Venue: Senate Rooms A & B
Sunday, October 25th, 2015 8:00-
11:00am
Registration Open
Venue: 2nd Floor Foyer
8:30-
10:15am
Session 8- 16 Panels
10:30am-
12:15pm
Session 9- 17 Panels
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  (Results found : 171)

"The Fix" in South Asia
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Assembly Room
Floor: Floor 1

Michele Friedner - michelefriedner@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
Tarini Bedi - tbedi@uic.edu (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Rashmi Sadana - rsadana@gmu.edu (George Mason University)

“Fixing” has various definitions associated with curing, repairing, treating, making steady, and maintaining, among others. How might we approach relationships between a diverse set of actors that lead to or involve “a fix?” Changes to infrastructure, bodies, and policies are often framed in terms of development, improvement, and innovation. In this symposium, participants work through “the fix” as a means of interrupting grand and teleological notions of development in order to consider what might occur between the poles of failure and progress, brokenness and wholeness, cure and disability, and decay and generation. “The fix” includes both pragmatic and creative modes of engagement as diverse actors attempt to make do, maintain and adjust. We intend “the fix” to function in multiple registers involving different kinds of valuation; “the fix” can also be nefarious at the same time that it is ingenious. “The fix” is good enough or sometimes not enough; the concept of “jugaad” serves as an example of this ambivalence in the ways that it is both scorned and embraced as a value and mode of living. “The fix” is also a play on questions of mobility and immobility in that while the state and corporate actors attempt to fix bodies and capital in place (and yet keep them flexible as their needs require), we look at different forms of unfixing that happen. “The fix” has temporal aspects as well: there can be short-term, mid-range, and long-term fixes, each with its own stakes. “Fixing” can also create new side narratives that chip away, stain, or otherwise compromise grander narratives.


Translation
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Caucus Room
Floor: Floor 1

Daisy Rockwell - daisy.rockwell@gmail.com (Independent Republic of Daisystan)

This year’s translation symposium builds on our first meeting last year that focused on issues of translation praxis. Emerging from that discussion, our emphasis is on the notion of the untranslatable. The notion of the untranslatable and the ways in which it may limit or circumscribe the category of World Literature, has been discussed at length in translation studies, most recently by Emily Apter (2013). However, much of this work has centred on Euro-American literature, on text-based translations, and those literatures we encounter primarily in and through translation into English. Our symposium centres itself in multi-lingual South Asia, and considers the process of translation that occurs across regions, religions, media and languages. Our symposium invites translators from and to South Asian languages across a wide swath of disciplines and practices to engage in questions of untranslatability as part of an all-day conversation. As translators, we are interested in questions of practice: we will discuss, dispute and detail idiosyncratic problems, dramatic successes, insurmountable barriers, and missed opportunities. What do we mean when we say a text, word, or emotion is untranslatable? How does translatability change according to context and medium? A text that is not considered translatable into English prose or poetry might be translatable into a visual or performance medium, for example. Or a poem that can be translated from Tamil into Italian is for some reason untranslatable into English. Translatability shifts according to context, medium, language, historical era, and even from translator to translator. One woman’s untranslatable story is another’s most finely crafted rendering. The day will close with a dinner and mehfil—an evening of readings, recitations and performances drawn from the participants’ own work.


Urdu Keywords: The 2018 Urdu Symposium
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Senate Room A
Floor: Floor 1

Walter Hakala - walterha@buffalo.edu (University at Buffalo, SUNY)

Urdu has developed a rich and evolving terminology in parallel with its long tradition of literary criticism. The 2018 Urdu Symposium seeks to continue and expand upon the 2017 Preconference, “How (Not) to Write the History of Urdu Literature,” by examining a set of key terms central to literary production and critical reception. By tracing changes in the signification and cultural associations of these key terms, participants aim to emulate the example of Raymond Williams’ influential Keywords (1976) in order to establish a shared framework for future studies of Urdu literary history. Questions that the papers may address include How do Urdu literary terms and critical approaches mediate authority in specific historical, cultural, and geographic settings? In what hierarchical ways do aesthetic, institutional, and critical terms mark boundaries or bridge connections among authors, critics, and audiences? What does the adaptation of Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, English, and other terminologies in the Urdu critical tradition reveal about the limits of translation? What’s at stake when Urdu sources are analyzed in English, Persian, etc.? What are the primary sources through which the genealogies of specific terms might be established? How might we expand this list to include other media and the contributions of underrepresented communities? How might one conduct research on language and concepts without reifying the very categories that are being described? Can Urdu’s plurality and complicated interactions with other literatures be recognized while maintaining shared intelligibility? Symposium participants will be required to precirculate draft entries so that we may devote the daylong event to giving brief (approximately 5-minute) presentations followed by more substantial discussions of methods and sources. Participants will have the option of publishing their work immediately as part of Professor Frances Pritchett’s website or other future collaborations (e.g., through an edited volume or special issue of a journal).


The Politics and Poetics of South Asian Modernism: Hindi and Urdu Debates
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Senate Room B
Floor: Floor 1

Preetha Mani - preetha.mani@rutgers.edu (Rutgers University)

While part of a shared literary milieu, modernist literary trends in Hindi and Urdu also began to bifurcate in the decades leading up to and following Indian and Pakistani Independence. Partly, this division was a result of the establishment of separate literary institutions for each language (such as journals, publishing houses, and literary coteries) and the ensuing development of different literary sensibilities. But partly, the rift was due to the politicization of language and the rise of right-wing nationalist formations that sought to make Hindi and Urdu national languages. In India, Hindi was increasingly Sanskritized, and in Pakistan, Urdu became more Arabicized. This symposium seeks to understand the continued relationships between the two literatures through a consideration of the fiction and critical debates that shaped modernism in Hindi and Urdu during and after the transition to Independence. Of what literary lineages did Hindi and Urdu writers consider their work a part? How did they define the political and aesthetic functions of modernist literature? What kinds of readerships did Hindi and Urdu writers aim to create? And, how did they draw from and expand upon, as well as contest and diverge from other modernist literatures across the subcontinent and abroad? While recent scholarship has been interested in explaining the contours of Hindi and Urdu modernist fiction and criticism, none have considered the two streams in concert. The symposium brings together scholars who can explore the overlaps and divergences between Hindi and Urdu modernism and foreground thinkers who have grappled with the violence of subcontinental decolonization and national growth and change.


Contemporary Bhakti Encounters: Devotionalism in Ethnographic and Ethical Perspective
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
Floor: Floor 2

Hanna Kim - hannakim@adelphi.edu (Adelphi University)

For the 5th annual symposium of the Regional Bhakti Scholars Network (RSBN), we propose to focus on ethnographic approaches to the study of bhakti. The aim is to balance the textual and broadly historical emphases of previous RSBN symposia. We anticipate that ethnographic perspectives will suggest approaches and raise questions for those who work on textual and archeological materials pertaining to bhakti. We also expect to address ethical issues arising from fieldwork with living communities. This symposium encourages presenters to share new or ongoing fieldwork that contributes to our understanding of living bhakti and its multiple expressions in the contemporary world of South Asia. This includes both communities grounded on medieval bhakti traditions and new forms of devotional expression and community arising in colonial and post-colonial South Asia. How do today’s communities offer strategies for living in the fast-changing nations of southern Asia? In what ways does participation in a bhakti community offer ways of reframing citizenship and the relationship of individual and society? How do modern phenomena of mobility and national (and international) media affect questions of regionality and vernacularism in contemporary bhakti? In what ways are devotional performative traditions changing in contemporary settings? Are there changes in aesthetic understandings of bhakti arts? The symposium theme also acknowledges the challenges that scholars working with contemporary bhakti communities encounter with respect to questions of authority, power, and ethics. We encourage discussion on a range of ethical issues and real-time concerns that affect research with people whose practices and ideals have repercussions on bhakti research. What ethical concerns arise when the field researcher establishes trust and is given access to data whose publication could bring harm to the informant or community?


AIIS Transforming your Dissertation into a Book Workshop
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Capitol Ballroom B
Floor: Floor 2

Susan Wadley - sswadley@syr.edu (Syracuse University)

Sponsored by the several organizations devoted to the study of South Asia, this workshop aims to help a select number of recent PhDs re-vision their doctoral dissertations as books, with discussion amongst themselves and with senior mentors. Applications to participate are due by July 30, 2018, emailed to Susan S. Wadley, wadleysusansnow@gmail.com. The application email should contain a current cv; the dissertation abstract, its table of contents, and either the introduction or the first content chapter (whichever best explains the dissertation focus and content) plus a book prospectus. These should all be in ONE PDF file. The workshop will begin at 7 pm Wednesday evening, Oct. 10 , and all participants are expected to be present at this time. Thursday’s sessions (in groups of about 10 juniors scholars and three senior mentors) run from 8 to approximately 5:30. We will conclude with dinner at Maharani Restaurant on Thursday evening.


Cross Border Entanglements in Eastern South Asia
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Wisconsin Ballroom
Floor: Floor 2

Golam Mathbor - gmathbor@monmouth.edu (Monmouth University)

Ethnic cleansing in Myanmar prompts a massive displacement of 700,000 Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh, radically re-configuring demography, ecology, and politics along the border. China’s One-Belt-One-Road program prompts massive new infrastructure projects linking South Western China and Southeast Asia to Bangladesh and to India through the sensitive Northeast. The imperatives of preparing for climate change reconfigure the Sundarbans region, highlighting the disastrous consequences of imagining the forest as neatly divided by a border. Realities and perceptions of migration from Bangladesh into Assam lead to waves of violence and a resurgence of ethno-nationalist politics. Calls for self-governance in Darjeeling and a redrawing of the internal boundaries of West Bengal prompt state blockades and media blackouts. As these examples suggest, Eastern South Asia’s borders—internal and external—are in a moment of tremendous flux. How do these separate issues articulate with one another? What kind of new connections, flows, and politics emerge through and around them? How do these headline grabbing issues mask other, more everyday strategies of border navigation? In what ways do these shifts interact with longstanding cultural, religious, and ethnic practices and linkages across borders? And what are the longer histories that animate contemporary challenges to these comparatively recent border configurations? The symposium seeks to bring together scholars working across social science, humanities, and policy arenas to raise new questions about the current moment and to link it to longer trajectories and processes of making and unmaking borders in Eastern South Asia. By bringing together scholars working in India’s Northeast, Bangladesh, and West Bengal, we hope to contextualize these contemporary crises as part of a broader regional transformation. In doing so, we seek to connect past to present in a critical region where the future hangs in the balance.


Queer Symposium: Un/desirable Encounters at the Intersections of Race, Class, and Caste
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: University A/B
Floor: Floor 2

Jeff Roy - jeff.roy@live.com (Cal Poly Pomona)

Recent scholarship on South Asia has called for renewed attention to the intersections of queerness, race, class and caste under the contexts of globalization, neoliberalism, and the fraying of cultural and ideological borders (Gopinath 2005, Prasad 2017). In this symposium, we would like to draw attention to the journeys of queer, trans, hijra and gender nonconforming subjects and scholars working in and around South Asia in order to highlight the ways in which race, class, and caste frame relationships, studies and engagements in the field. We ask: How do queer, trans, hijra, and gender nonconforming people engage the narrative, performative, and embodied aspects of race, class, and caste while navigating around and through the inevitable presence of the Western academy? How do race, class, and caste frame our desires for, experiences of, and relationships with neoliberal spectres that infiltrate the intimate spaces of fieldwork? What strategies do queer, trans, hijra and gender nonconforming people employ to adapt to, adopt, subvert, or resist the hierarchies of authority produced by race, class, caste, religion, nationality, and institutional access? And in particular, how do queer subjects, Dalit activists, and black South Asians subvert the homogenizing implication of “people of color” taxonomy by visioning intersectional, racialized, and decolonial coalitions across the global color line? In addressing the connections that bind our respective fields of academic and artistic practice ­­ and our ability to access modes of inquiry based on our varying privilege(s) as ethnographers, artists, or teachers ­­ we further consider, self-­reflexively, how these privileges are exercised through epistemic and institutional power.


Science, Technology, and Medicine (STM) in South Asia Symposium- Medicine and Memory: Temporal Aspirations, Continuities, Ruptures and the Now Across Medical Traditions
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Parlour Room 627
Floor: Floor 6

Lisa Brooks - labrooks@berkeley.edu (University of California, Berkeley)
Shireen Hamza - shireenhamza@g.harvard.edu (Harvard University)
Victoria Sheldon - v.sheldon@mail.utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)

We propose to organize the third annual “Science, Technology, and Medicine (STM) in South Asia Symposium,” around the theme “Medicine and Memory: Temporal Aspirations, Continuities, Ruptures and the Now Across Medical Traditions.” This symposium will engage issues of temporality, periodization and engagements with the past and future, from historiographic, ethnographic and philological perspectives. We envision bringing together scholars working across South Asian medical traditions, including biomedicine, Naturopathy, Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, and Sowa Rigpa medicines. We also plan to include an equal number of graduate students and faculty members to stimulate creative discussion, encourage mentorship, and facilitate future collaborations. Invited scholars work across time periods in a range of fields including anthropology, history, philology, feminist and gender studies, science studies, post-colonial theory, media studies, and literary studies in Sanskrit, Malayalam, Urdu, Persian, Arabic, Bengali and other languages. The stakes of authority, authenticity, and efficacy in medical traditions often rely upon claims made upon the past, in the form of treatises, historical or imagined personages, and narratives of continuity or rupture. In this symposium we are particularly interested in considering temporal engagements reflected in the often-intersecting and interacting medical traditions that we study. This is particularly urgent in a moment of rising ethnocentric nationalisms across the region. With attention to the coexistence of plural medical systems, this symposium is underpinned by an interest in the hybrid modes of historical sensibility through which medical practices transform. Ranging from pre-colonial narratives of cosmic and mythic time to more recent manifestations that celebrate developmental progress as essential modalities of the nation-state, this symposium seeks to examine how South Asian medical traditions are not static and unchanging, but transform alongside their associated temporal imaginations.


Rethinking World War II in South Asia
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Parlour Room 629
Floor: Floor 6

Isabel Huacuja - isabel.huacuja@gmail.com (University of Texas at Austin)

For far too long, World War II has remained on the margins of South Asian historiography and public memory. Independence and the partition of the subcontinent in 1947 have dominated both the popular imagination and the historiography, repressing the historical significance of the war years. Yet, during World War II, India functioned as a military, industrial, and logistical base for Allied operations. The British government mobilized India’s resources to pay for the war effort, and the Indian army expanded dramatically with Indian troops fighting around the world. Despite its relative neglect in the scholarship, the war’s impact on South Asia in terms of law, economics, and technologies, was significant and long lasting. This symposium analyzes the influence of World War II in South Asia from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Presentations will consider the economic repercussions of the war, as well as the war’s influence on legal, medical, scientific, and pedagogical discourses. We will also analyze literary, cinematic, and journalistic representations of this conflict in a range of South Asian languages. While the focus is on South Asia, many presenters also consider the global impact of South Asians’ involvement in the war, including the Indian National Army (INA) trials in Singapore, as well as the global opium trade. Drawing together media studies’ scholars, literary scholars, anthropologists, and historians of South Asia, the symposium not only challenges Euro-centric understandings of World War II, but also unsettles political assumptions about the 1940s in South Asia.


SYMPOSIUM ON TOMBS, SHRINES, SAMADHIS AND RELICS
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Parlour Room 634
Floor: Floor 6

Brian Hatcher - brian.hatcher@tufts.edu (Tufts University)

This one-day symposium offers a comparative thematic investigation of textual traditions, rituals, architecture forms, and lived practices associated with tombs, shrines, samadhis, relics and related built environments in South Asian religions. Central questions for the symposium include: What theological and ritual precepts inform the practice of burial around holy figures, saints and gurus? Can we identify cross-regional or cross-communal patterns for such practice while remaining sensitive to the development of local, vernacular and sectarian articulations? How have samadhis, tombs and dargahs been used to expand and perpetuate the presence/control of religious institutions within (or across) regions? What has been the role of devotional and other initiatory movements (sampradays) in propagating the cult of deceased leaders? Conversely, how has the spread of built memorials helped in the emplacement and sacralization of new territory? Finally, how do people today interact with, live around, transform or engage such built environments across the subcontinent? Through these questions, this symposium will facilitate productive give-and-take between the particular and the general, the local and the trans-local, the bounded and unbounded play of community formation and lived religious practice in South and Southeast Asia. The panel organizers share disciplinary training in religious studies, with particular regional engagements in western, northern and eastern South Asia. With this symposium they aim to promote cross-disciplinary and cross-regional conversation around the spatial and historical manifestations of various tradition-based responses to death, interment, memorialization, pilgrimage and architecture. Participants in the symposium thus include specialists in archaeology, art history, religious studies and history and employ related methods for interrogating a range of spatial practices, ritual environments, gender roles, and aesthetic traditions. Our goal is to foster not only in-depth study of particular sites, ritual complexes and built structures but also comparison around the role of these elements throughout South Asian history.


Junior Scholars' Conference - AIPS
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Parlour Room 638
Floor: Floor 6

Laura Hammond - ljhammond@southasia.wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

The American Institute of Pakistan Studies (AIPS) is proposing a Junior Scholars’ Conference intended to mentor junior scholars working on Pakistan. This one-day conference will showcase the research being done by junior scholars in the field of Pakistan Studies. AIPS will hold an open call for applications, which is widely advertised throughout the AIPS member institutions (36 institutions) and beyond. We encourage abstracts from disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, political science, history, literature, religious studies, art history, music, women studies, film and communications studies, etc. AIPS has identified senior scholars who will read the papers, provide feedback, mentorship, and focused discussion. This event will utilize a full day and is therefore larger than a traditional conference panel. This Junior Scholars’ conference will be central in enabling emerging scholars to network with others in their field and be exposed to senior scholars who can act as additional advisors/mentors. Other past conferences held at the Annual Conference have been instrumental in creating a nation-wide dialogue between junior and senior scholars. There have been significant outcomes of the past conferences, including multiple projects started, mentorships forged, articles written, and dissertations revised, edited and completed that have sprung from this intensive one-day conference. Program will be similar to 2016 program (attached). Discussants include: 1) Farhat Haq, Professor, Political Science, Monmouth College 2) Matthew Cook, Professor, Postcolonial & South Asian Studies, North Carolina Central University 3) Frank Korom, Professor, Religion and Anthropology, BU 4) Yasmin Saikia, Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, Arizona State University 5) Iftikhar Dadi, Associate Professor, History of Art & Visual Studies, Cornell 6) Shahnaz Rouse, Professor, Sociology, Sarah Lawrence College 7) Cabeiri Robinson, Associate Professor, International Studies, Comparative Religions, and South Asian Studies, UW-Seattle 8) Iqbal Sevea Singh, Associate Professor, History, UNC


Impersonation in South Asia
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: PDR
Floor: Floor 1

Pamela Lothspeich - ploth@email.unc.edu (University of North Carolina)

This symposium will bring together seventeen scholars from a variety of ranks, disciplines and countries doing groundbreaking work on the subject of impersonation/guising/embodiment in modern and early modern South Asia. The expected outcome of the symposium is an edited volume on Impersonation in South Asia, which will be the first scholarly source to examine impersonation both in contemporary performative and quotidian contexts across South Asia. We understand impersonation as the temporary assumption of an identity or guise of a group that is not one’s own in social and aesthetic performative contexts, including the same as expressed in literature. Our broad reading of this term allows us to investigate ways in which people have sought to affectively perform/assume different identities across a representative selection of media and cultural forms in South Asia. Subjects explored range from the impersonation of real people (cultural icons) and fantasy beings (comic book characters) to more diffuse and overdetermined forms of impersonation entangled with issues of race, gender, social station, the supernatural and the divine. An important contribution of this symposium is that it will reflect on the material conditions under which these identities are socially constructed, and interrogate sites of hegemonic control relating to gender, sexuality, white race capital, and the North-South divide, taking into account entrenched social inequities, globalization, neoliberalism, and postcolonialism. Our collective work will expand on the term ‘impersonation’ by positing vernacular categories and examples from South Asia, ones that encapsulate and expand upon our understanding of guising which has so far been mostly situated in Euro-American contexts. This symposium will also work to break down the presumed innate dichotomy between social performance of the everyday and aesthetic performance on stage. Our project requires sustained collaboration and discussion especially on the theoretical framework for the volume, thus a full-day symposium is warranted.


Himalayan Policy Research Conference
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Madison College D240 - 1
Floor: Madison College

Alok Bohara - bohara@unm.edu (University of New Mexico (Nepal Study Center))

The Nepal Study Center (NSC) at the University of New Mexico, its members and affiliated scholars request letting us organize the Annual Himalayan Policy Research Conference, the 13th in our series at the symposium of the University of Wisconsin's 47th Annual Conference on South Asia (October 11-14, 2018). We have had grand successes over the years in providing this platform to attract scholars from all over the world. The purpose of the event continues to be to promote scholarly interactions among the scholars with policy research interest on the Himalayan region and the countries in South Asia. We have had highly successful conferences in the past --2006 through 2017 -- at your venue where scholars came to participate from several countries such as the US, Canada, Europe, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, and Japan. We even did a live internet broadcast of the event in 2010.


Land Questions: Agrarian and Material South Asia
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Madison College D240 - 2
Floor: Madison College

Matthew Shutzer - mbs472@nyu.edu (New York University)
Meghna Chaudhuri - meghna.chaudhuri@gmail.com (New York University)

The place of the agrarian has been a persistent question for the social sciences going back to the late-nineteenth century. The emergence of modern social scientific disciplines itself was concurrent with intensified commodification and the locking into place of a new global structural hierarchy. The ‘agrarian question’ was a real problem of economic policy as it was one at the heart of the provenance, chronology and possibilities of capitalism as objects of enquiry through to the mid-twentieth century. Scholars of South Asia have paid particular attention to the agrarian for most of the twentieth century. As scholarly interest came to focus on urban spaces, global networks and elite and subaltern cultural production, the agrarian question receded to the background in an era when metropolitan globalization appeared to be the inescapable reality. Even as the agrarian receded as the object of study, it continued to form the bedrock of enquiries amongst students of South Asia through, for example, a renewed focus on law in its normative aspects, as well as a more fluid socio-economic history of legal forms and the politics of Dalit and lower-caste labor. How do we make sense of the patterns of accumulation and forms of distributional conflict that characterize South Asia’s political economy in the present? In what ways do debates over spatial transformation, environmental degradation, and caste and gender hierarchies challenge our understanding of the current intersections between economic inequality, democratic crisis, and an emergent politics surrounding climate change? This interdisciplinary panel brings together emerging and senior researchers to reflect upon the ways in which these issues have returned scholars to the sources that used to form the subject of an older tradition of agrarian history in an attempt to bring questions of materiality and economy to bear on the urgent political changes of our time.


Zones of Occupation, Abandonment and Exception in South Asia/Provisionality and Vulnerabilities in South Asia
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Madison College Meeting Room 1
Floor: Madison College

Amit Baishya - amit.baishya@gmail.com (University of Oklahoma)
ather zia - ather.zia@unco.edu (UNCO Greeley)

This symposium seeks to untangle the complementary logics of the right to kill and the right to maim in multiple zones of occupation and abandonment in South Asia. By paying attention to cultural production, we ask what forms of life, modes of death and capacities for survival and endurance are engendered in such exceptional zones where the right to kill and the right to maim shadow and complement each other? What constitutes “life” and “living” and what falls into the realm of “nonlife” or lack of animacy in militarized locales? We want to explore the nature of relation that emerges between the citizens and the regimes through the optics of maiming. What forms of ability, disability and debility do we encounter if we take such issues into consideration? Besides the exploration of necropolitical topographies, we are also interested in probing temporal experiences—how are conjunctions between “sudden” and “slow” scales of death manifested in such zones of occupation and/or abandonment, for instance? We welcome presentations from all disciplines in the social sciences and humanities to build up a broad dialogue about life, living and dying in such exceptionalized spaces. The endeavor of this symposium is to build new solidarities across networks of scholars working in different regions of South Asia.


New Directions in South Asian ‘Ulama’ Studies
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Half Day, Morning
Room: Conference Room 1
Floor: Floor 2

SherAli Tareen - stareen@fandm.edu (Franklin and Marshall College)

Important and far-reaching debates on current issues in Islamic law are taking place in Muslim traditionalist circles in South Asia. In India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, traditionally educated Muslim scholars (known as the 'ulama') of varying ideological stripes are participating in public debates on highly charged and divisive matters. For instances, issues such as blasphemy, women’s rights, defining rape, the normative status of modern technology in the shari‘a etc. are vigorously argued by ‘ulama’ in South Asia. These are significant internal debates that do not make it to morning headlines of newspapers. However, grasping the internal logics and aspirations of such debates is critical to developing a richer and more nuanced narrative of the Islamic legal tradition in South Asia. This symposium attempts this task. It explores the competing ways in which South Asian ‘ulama’ put the canonical tradition of Islamic law to work in modern contexts. The central question this symposium addresses is this: how do Muslim religious thinkers in modern South Asia deal with the historical legacy of norms and values in encounters with new conditions? The short answer is: eagerly, unevenly, and in a messy manner. For some, the virtues, predispositions, and models of the good as elaborated in their instruction manuals and as articulated by the ancient authorities remain the ideal. For others, the entire system of norms and virtues has to be rethought and overhauled. And then, there is a spectrum of scholars who find themselves in between these two polarities. The objective of this symposium is to illumine the varieties of interpretive norms, temperaments, and aesthetics that populate the Muslim legal tradition in South Asia. It does so by presenting specific illustrations of the multiple and often conflicting ways in which the limits of law and tradition are contested by contemporary South Asian ‘ulama.’


Across the Himalayas
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Half Day, Morning
Room: Conference Room 4
Floor: Floor 2

Jana Fortier - jfortier@ucsd.edu (University of California San Diego)

Many social concerns and environmental problems of South Asian highland communities transcend state and political borders. In addition to border disputes, highland communities often face problems related to global change, forced emigration, exploitation of natural resources, minority language suppression, cultural rights abuses, and other challenges. This symposium brings together scholars to discuss how working 'Across the Himalayas' creates particular challenges, and occasionally opportunities, for South Asia's highland communities and for ourselves as areal scholars. In this symposium, speakers will address not only physical borders, but speak to some of the political, geographic, social, religious, or linguistic boundaries that we have encountered. In discussion, speakers will present their own standpoint concerning the Foucaudian power struggles that border/boundary disputes entail, whether these be about boundaries of ethnicity, religion, language, politics, property or physical borders. The colloquium will give each participant a short time to share their recent research work and news concerning problems and opportunities with working across borders. As we will collectively explore what problems and opportunities these borders present, colloquium attendees will also respond to each speaker with questions and insights into the various borderland dilemmas. One goal of our sponsor, The Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies (ANHS) is to help the Himalayan highlands scholarly community gain a deeper understanding of the diversity of Himalayan areal studies. As such, we hope that the meeting will result in a new sense of shared appreciation of the nature of struggles across and between borders and of the challenges faced while conducting field research across state borders, among multiple language communities, and navigating the demands of multiple state bureaucracies.


Aesthetics, Power, and Political Economy in Modern South Asia
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Half Day, Morning
Room: Conference Room 5
Floor: Floor 2

Namita Dharia - namita.dharia@gmail.com (Harvard University)
Liza Oliver - eoliver3@wellesley.edu (Wellesley College)

From the sensoriums of streets to the production of fine arts to the tracing of ephemera that circulated spaces, aesthetic production in South Asia has historically formed and framed the modes through which the subcontinent is imagined and experienced. Beginning in the colonial legacies of Indian and English aesthetic production and tracing these legacies into the present, this symposium aims to engage with the role aesthetics play in constructions of political and political economic power in South Asia. We seek to interrogate artistic practices through their role in transnational relations, industrial and urban development, governmentality, and political subject formation. As such, we will address a diverse range of aesthetic categories, from photography, reproductive prints and film to textiles, architecture, mapping, and urban space in the shaping of modern South Asia’s political economy. The one day symposium aims to closely interrogate, through interdisciplinary engagements in architecture, art history, and anthropology (among others), the powerful role aesthetics has played and continues to play in the subcontinent. Together we hope to debate the historical transformations and genealogies of aesthetics in India, think through their socio-cultural importance, and envision the role they might play in contemporary and future South Asian societies.


Rethinking Folk Culture in South Asia
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Half Day, Morning
Room: University C/D
Floor: Floor 2

Aniket De - aniket_de@hotmail.com (Harvard University)

South Asia is a vast repertoire of stories, objects and performances. Scholars and storytellers, from Mary Frere (1868) to the unparalleled A.K. Ramanujan (1986), have long understood the crucial role of popular cultures in shaping complex historical experiences in the subcontinent. Yet the academic study of South Asian folk culture has somewhat declined since its Golden Age in the late 20th century. Anthropologists, increasingly skeptical of reifying and romanticizing native cultures, have moved from myths and rituals to more complex questions of modernity. But critiquing the analytical concept of folk culture cannot simply mean overlooking how the bulk of South Asia’s 1.7 billion peoples imagine and express themselves, often against the forces of power. We therefore need new comparative and interdisciplinary methods to explore how people think and create every day. In this regard, there has never been a more critical time for rethinking folk culture in South Asia. We aim to expand the study of folk cultures beyond the narrow conceptual confines of the term ‘folk’: what can this vast archive of objects, texts and performances tell us about the everyday lives and thoughts of South Asians? How have people expressed new ideas with changing historical circumstances? How have texts, performances and histories been connected to produce new forms of identity? Given the breadth, diversity and richness of these questions, we propose a full-day symposium rather than a single panel discussion. This symposium crosses boundaries of disciplines, regions and generations. Historians, anthropologists and literary scholars collectively reflect on innovative approaches to folk cultures- entanglements between texts and performances, borders, representations and identity formations. Our participants work not only all over South Asia, from Punjab to Manipur, but also in Burma and Singapore. A range of tenure-track , senior faculty, and doctoral students from three continents share insights.


Practices of Border-Making in South Asia: From Durand to Doklam
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Half Day, Afternoon
Room: Conference Room 1
Floor: Floor 2

Swati Chawla - sc2wt@virginia.edu (University of Virginia)

This past summer, a months-long standoff between India and China once again brought to the world stage the disputed borders between the world’s two most populous countries. While political commentators were quick to point to nationalist sabre-rattling as a prime factor, a growing number of scholars have begun to explore the deeper histories of South Asia’s numerous disputed borders; Willem van Schendel’s categorization of the legacies of Radcliffean, McMahonian, and Kashmirian “border issues” being among the more recent (2013). At the heart of these analyses lies the emergence of new conceptions of sovereignty, territoriality, and legitimacy in the modern world, that came to be positioned against older ways of organizing national life. Examining this complex and temporally uneven process in turn raises a series of questions that this symposium seeks to answer: How do changes and continuities in conceptions of sovereignties (both multi-layered and absolute) reflect the transition to postcolonial nation-states? To what extent are the cartographic anxieties of today’s nation-states inheritances of the ideologies and technologies of governance deployed by erstwhile colonial states? And how can historians divided by area studies boundaries, such as East, Central, and South Asia, collectively imagine innovative ways of understanding problems that traverse national borders? Finally, how can we move beyond statist frameworks to explore how the peoples of Asia have creatively accommodated cultural, political, religious, and environmental difference?


Pakistani Cinema: New Theoretical and Methodological Ground
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Half Day, Afternoon
Room: Conference Room 2
Floor: Floor 2

Gwendolyn Kirk - gwendolynkirk@gmail.com (University of Madison-Wisconsin)

This symposium will bring together scholars from the US, the UK, and Pakistan to discuss recent developments and innovations relating to the study of Pakistani cinema. Although long overshadowed by the study of Hindi popular cinema, or Bollywood, the study of South Asian cinema has become increasingly broad in recent years. As little as ten years ago scholarly work on the films and filmmakers of Pakistan simply did not exist; now a small but growing group of scholars are dedicated to its study. Pakistani cinema is distinct from other South Asian cinemas, and itself comprises multiple languages and genres. It also has historically had very different relationships with the Pakistani nation-state and with religious nationalism than is found in the context of India. Although cinema industries in the two nations share commonalities of history and style, they have developed into strikingly different entities. A focus on Pakistani cinema thus decentralizes Hindi cinema, and also allows for a greater focus on subnational or regional cinemas. Accordingly, scholars working on Pakistani film are also making theoretical and methodological interventions, paying attention not only to the filmic text, but also to production, circulation, and reception. These scholars come from different disciplines, such as art history, comparative literature, and linguistic anthropology, and as such bring different theoretical and methodological traditions to the table. This symposium will include both the standard format of individual presentations followed by Q&A, and also a roundtable discussion on the present state and future directions of Pakistan cinema studies. Our goal is to foster an interactive and ongoing dialogue as this is a small, but exciting, field. Having a symposium rather than a panel will allow us the freedom not only to share scholarship but to collectively explore issues that speak to all of our research in much greater depth.


Performance Studies in and from South Asia: An Interdisciplinary Symposium
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Half Day, Afternoon
Room: Conference Room 3
Floor: Floor 2

Sharvari Sastry - sharvarisastry@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)

The aim of this symposium is to facilitate a dialogue between the fields of South Asian Studies and Performance Studies, by bringing together scholars and artists who work at the intersection of these two disciplines. In so doing, it addresses two major lacunae: The under-representation of performance as a tool and an object of analysis in the study of South Asia; and the dominant Euro-American-centrism of the discourse of Performance Studies. Performance Studies’ origins as a field can be found in works such as Richard Schechner’s and Victor Turner’s, which combined anthropology and performance in order to examine cultural ritual in India. This symposium will give a new generation of scholars the chance to build on and update the relationship between South Asia and Performance Studies, insisting on a decolonial lens that honors the work emerging from South Asia as critical to investigating what Performance Studies has to offer as a relatively new discipline. This year, we will focus on how performative analysis might generate new understandings of subjects as diverse as the neoliberal Indian city or the staging of Sanskrit epics. The performance pre-conference in 2017 hosted presentations on a range of topics, including diasporic audiobook performance, meditative practices in Sri Lanka, clubs in colonial Calcutta, and contemporary Tamil Dance championships. We look forward to continuing the discussions that started there, as well as developing the papers we receive this year for an edited volume, the first of its kind to use a Performance Studies methodology, as opposed to a theatre or dance-oriented approach, to explore the rich cultures of South Asia. Our speakers will include both established and emerging scholars and artists of South Asian theatre, dance, and ritual. We aim to include voices who blur disciplinary boundaries by using performance as a lens to study the world.


After the Śaiva Age: Transformation and Continuity in the Regional Śaivisms of South India
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Half Day, Afternoon
Room: Conference Room 4
Floor: Floor 2

Elaine Fisher - emf@stanford.edu (Stanford University)

As Alexis Sanderson has argued in his magnum opus, “The Śaiva Age,” between the sixth and thirteenth centuries, Śaivism became the site for a host of developments that fundamentally transformed the religious landscape of the Indian subcontinent. Over the past two decades, Sanderson and his students have demonstrated on philological grounds that the vocabulary of the Śaiva Mantramārga, or Śaiva Tantrism, provided a model through which doctrinal and ritual innovation crossed religious boundaries. Kindred currents of Buddhism, Jainism, and Vaiṣṇavism came to share a common ritual syntax, and strategic modes of engaging with royal polities. Where this narrative leaves off, however—and what follows in its wake—inspires as many questions as answers. By reframing both the ruptures and continuities heralded by the demise of the Śaiva Age, this symposium draws together the latest currents of research in south Indian Śaivism. In our classical narrative of Indian religions, for instance, the thirteenth century—the end of the Śaiva age—dovetails neatly with the transregional expansion of the bhakti movement, a form of religiosity often framed in opposition to the traditional values of Sanskrit textuality. As genre boundaries are rendered increasingly permeable with the spread of vernacularization, the many Śaivisms of south India, as entextualized in Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, and Malayalam, inherit formative features of the earlier canon while speaking in a new idiom to local audiences. Śaiva institutions, such as the temple complex and monastery, established a framework for the efflorescence of new communities and publics, which engaged strategically with shifting social fabric of south India across regions. In drawing attention to key examples of rupture and continuity in the post-Śaiva age, each of the papers in this Symposium works in concert to rethink our inherited narratives about the history of religions in south India.


Art For Our Sake: The Aesthetics of Decolonization in Postcolonial South Asia Today
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Half Day, Afternoon
Room: Conference Room 5
Floor: Floor 2

Felix Fuchs - felix.fuchs@mail.mcgill.ca (McGill University)

For Amilcar Cabral, national liberation and anti-colonial praxis remain hollow “unless they can be translated into a real improvement of living conditions.” Despite the emergence of supposedly postcolonial societies, the relentless drive of neoliberal capital coopts modes of domination left behind by colonialism, continuously reshaping these to suit the present. Yet, these forces are confronted by people organized along the lines of religion, region, language, class, caste, gender, race, and—most often—at the intersections of these identities. This symposium will examine the constitution of the aesthetic politics of such resistant bodies and groups. We will explore how struggles in the field of cultural production do not simply mirror, but rather actively shape civil society. Given the multiplicity of resistance, the range of our questions is similarly diverse: how are Dalit and Muslim activists continuing their fight for representation and acceptance in an increasingly upper-caste, Hindutva-izing society? How do criminal tribes resist their stigmatization through theatrical performance? How are South Asian women and non-binary activists responding to the persistence of sexist, classist, and caste-ist forms of domination, and what is the role of student activism and global socio-cultural movements such as #MeToo in this struggle? How are farmers and indigenous peoples dealing with neoliberal expropriation? In what ways are the urban poor resisting the massive gentrification and urbanization projects in cities like Mumbai? Finally: how are resistant communities, situated antagonistically in relation to the neocolonial state, challenging its ideological and repressive apparatuses? Overall, this panel addresses questions that challenge normative interpretations of postcolonial South Asia. We will focus on how diverse struggles are waged, tracing the historical development of current forms of resistance to explore the continuing importance of culture in these unfinished contestations for liberation.


South Asian Muslim Studies Association Symposium: "Insider/Outsider Prespectives in South Asian Muslim Studies"
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Half Day, Afternoon
Room: University C/D
Floor: Floor 2

Roger Long - rogerlong1@gmail.com (Eastern Michigan University)

The preoccupation with authenticity that has characterized social science research since the turn of the century has inevitably led to giving ever more attention to the boundaries defining insider/outsider status in a number of categories. Thus, issues of identity in reference to generational, gender-specific, socio-economic, ethno-racial, regional, religious, ideological, and intellectual membership have increasingly become the focus of both analysis and debate. But the effort at avoiding "othering" any particular group has concealed the value inherent in exploring the differences between insider and outsider perspectives on any issues for which membership defines identity. The 2018 SAMSA Symposium invites contributions addressing the tension between insider and outsider interpretations in South Asian Muslim history, politics, and intellectual/ideological expressions of all kinds. Contrasting and comparing various approaches to one issue, or focusing instead on the process by which boundaries emerge, or one particular perspective gets privileged, are all equally valuable, and are welcome. These can include such issues as modernity and tradition, including the conflict between colonial modernity and tradition, the concept of the singular nation-state in India that seeks to place Muslims as a national minority, the clash between rival interpretations of Islamic law and practice, the role of women in the family and society, the debate among educationists over curriculum, Middle Eastern and South Asian concepts of religious practice, electoral and political behavior, and regional variations in social and religious practices. List of speakers: Laura Dudley, Jenkins, Yasmin Saikia, Roger D. Long, M. Raisur Rahman, Taj Hashmi, Sana Haroon, Mehr Farooqi, Usha Sanyal, Sanaa Riaz, Jenniferr Dubrow Justification:: The richness of the subject of the "other" in South Asian Muslim history means that a number of scholars will be able to share their research with their colleagues. Preliminary schedule: 2 morning panels, 2 afternoon panels, and a Symposium Dinner with invited speaker.


When People Met Monuments: Encounter, Reception, and the Transformation of Landscapes in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Assembly Room
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Mark T. Lycett - mlycett@sas.upenn.edu

Co-Discussant /Co-Chair
Divya Kumar-Dumas - dkdumas@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
Panel Organizer(s)
Divya Kumar-Dumas - dkdumas@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)

These papers explore the interplay of landscapes and monuments through specific sites located in present day Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka. Made of brick and stone, rather than the ephemeral materials of quotidian spaces, monuments were enduring objects that transformed the physical terrain into which they were embedded for generations. From rulers and guilds to courtesans and religious specialists, investing in architectural monuments was a practice that cut across social hierarchies and gender boundaries in premodern South Asia. Studies of South Asian monuments, however, have tended to valorize originary moments of construction, focusing upon how historical actors invested in architectural programs. Recent scholarship makes marked progress toward situating architectural practices within particular historical and social contexts, but the intentions and motivations that underpin such practices have not yet been fully explored. This panel considers why donors and artisans constructed social spaces with monuments. By exploring how monuments were designed to evoke or provoke a response from the people who encountered them, this panel demonstrates how objects were imbued with layers of significance that were continuously transformed by their human interlocutors. The three papers discuss the engagement of built structures with existing physical topography to materialize particular aims and aspirations. Elizabeth Cecil shows how the Gupta rulers of North India mobilized the ritual efficacy of columns by adapting them as sites for political inscriptions. Divya Kumar-Dumas reads the 7th- to 13th-century ‘graffiti’ at Sigiriya as a visitor record, which employed aesthetic strategies conventional to the experience of Buddhist constructed landscapes. Fatima Quraishi approaches the Makli necropolis in Sindh through epigraphy, examining how inscriptions stimulated movement and contemplation through a ritualized act of reading. In so doing, this panel considers what histories can be recovered through examinations of encounter, reception, and aleatory effects of monuments.


Presenter 1
Elizabeth Cecil - lizacecil@gmail.com (Florida State University)
Monuments Misunderstood? Inscribed Columns as Venerable Objects in Gupta India

Presenter 2
Divya Kumar-Dumas - dkdumas@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
Writings on the Wall: Recovering Designs for Sigiriya

Presenter 3
Fatima Quraishi - fq241@nyu.edu (New York University)
Rituals of Reading: Epigraphy at the Makli Necropolis


Religion, Politics & Poetics in Pakistan & Beyond
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Caucus Room
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Mashal Saif - mashalsaif@gmail.com (Clemson University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Mashail Malik - malikm@stanford.edu (Stanford University)

-


Presenter 1
Hashim Ali - hali25@uic.edu (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Memorializing the Nation: Monumental Sites and Pakistani Public History

Presenter 2
Mashal Saif - mashalsaif@gmail.com (Clemson University)
Shī‘a Clerics and the Pakistani Constitution: Religion, Minority Rights and the State

Presenter 3
Mashail Malik - malikm@stanford.edu (Stanford University)
How Do Ethnic Parties Decline? The Microfoundations of Identity Politics in Pakistan's Megacity


Avatara: Rethinking the Role of Heavenly Descent in Premodern South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Senate Room A
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Anne Monius - anne_monius@harvard.edu (Harvard Divinity School)

Panel Organizer(s)
Sivan Goren Arzony - sivangoren@gmail.com (Harvard Society of Fellows)

The word avatara is best rendered into English by the word descent, commonly associated with the god Vishnu. We contend that this word can also function as a term for understanding a range of cultural, literary, and religious phenomena in premodern South Asia. On the one hand, the concept of avatara functions as a channel through which heaven and earth are connected. On the other hand, these stories of descent also connect various pan-Indian traditions and geographies with regional ones. Within local settings, the concept of avatara is a productive framework for understanding cultural networks and their function. We thus present this term as a type of vocabulary through which various groups and communities could articulate new ideas about place, social hierarchies, politics, gender, and religion. llanit Loewy Shacham examines Vishnu’s ten descents (dasavataras) within the context of second-millennium Telugu poetry and its connection to various bhakti and literary traditions. She demonstrates how dasavataras are used to highlight the ways in which gender changes the path of devotion for both deity and devotee. Sivan Goren Arzony takes on Parasurama, Vishnu’s sixth avatara, and the connection of the Pan-Indian to the local, southern geography of Kerala, through sixteenth-century Maṇipravāḷam literature. Focusing on Kerala politics and religion, she explores the different meanings that Parasurama gains when projected onto a local setting. Sarah Pierce Taylor discusses Krishnite stories as a site of intersectarian conflict in Jain literature and, in particular, the story of Vasudeva’s many marriages. While the Vaishnava impact on Jainism has been read as evidence of interreligious dialogue, Taylor argues that Krishna mythology was also served as a site to negotiate internal disputes. Taken together, these papers outline a web of connections in which the vertical links associated with the term avatara expand horizontally, permeating throughout south India.


Presenter 1
Ilanit Loewy Shacham - ilanits73@hotmail.com (Tel Aviv University )
Loving Vishnu: A His and Hers Perspective from Sixteenth-Century South India

Presenter 2
Sivan Goren Arzony - sivangoren@gmail.com (Harvard Society of Fellows)
A Snowy Mountain in the Deep South: Multiple Geographies in Nilakanthakavi’s Tenkailanathodayam

Presenter 3
Sarah Taylor - sarahpiercetaylor@gmail.com (Concordia University)
An Unhappily Married Man as an Occasion for Debate: Jain Engagements with Human Causality


Intersectionality and Democracy
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Senate Room B
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Brian Turnbull - bturn@ku.edu (University of Kansas)

Panel Organizer(s)
Sayan Banerjee - sbanerd@essex.ac.uk (University of Essex)

-


Presenter 1
Brian Turnbull - bturn@ku.edu (University of Kansas)
Reservations for All: Analysis of Normative Quotas at the Local Level in India

Presenter 2
Rajit Mazumder - rmazumde@depaul.edu (DePaul University)
Crime and punishment: fratricide and the law in India, 1947-1950

Presenter 3
Esther Surenthiraraj - esther_sraj@yahoo.com (University of Lausanne)
A reading of Yahapalanaya’s articulation of the ‘nation’ at Independence Day celebrations

Presenter 4
Sayan Banerjee - sbanerd@essex.ac.uk (University of Essex)
Do Electoral Quotas Reduce Ethnic Violence?

Presenter 5
Nayomi Field - fieldn@ohio.edu (Ohio University )
Making Moderation Pay? Centripetalism and Presidential Elections in Sri Lanka, 2010-2015


Bangladesh and the Untimely
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Conference Room 1
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Naveeda Khan - nkhan5@jhu.edu (Johns Hopkins University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Naveeda Khan - nkhan5@jhu.edu (Johns Hopkins University)

Writings on Bangladesh present it as a naturalized entity, a nation state whose arrival was inevitable within the historical processes of the region. Its emergence out of a bloody war marks these writings with a wounded quality. Its diagnosed state of underdevelopment further necessitates it play the impossible game of catch up. To these various arcs and horizons has recently been added the encroachment of climate change from the future. We propose the notion of the untimely to stay these inevitabilities. The untimely, as we understand it, is not moved by urgency, arrives at a scene belatedly, sounds anachronistic and emphasizes unlikely lateral relations or relations to the transcendental. It may disturb standing reality, hint at subjugated knowledge, posit unlikely agents and allies, yet invariably fail to achieve anything. But it is a certain kind of achievement to stop, or at least stall, well-worn narratives and representations of Bangladesh to create the possibility for newness. Our papers traverse different historical periods and political presents claimed for Bangladesh, each of which is informed by a certain urgency, in order to draw out the untimely within them. Here presented are storytelling that draws inspiration from actual acts of dreaming within a pre-partition Bengali rural community, Pakistan period tussles between capital and state building in the determination of steamer routes in East Pakistan, ongoing territorial conflicts between businessmen and pirates along the southern coast of contemporary Bangladesh that continually disrupt high modernist development visions, and village gossip in southwest Bangladesh that stay the erasure of local experiences of risk and precarity within climate discourse. The untimely helps illuminate the obduracy of the rural, the riverine and the coastal not just for an environmental account but also a political vantage upon Bangladesh.


Presenter 1
Naveeda Khan - nkhan5@jhu.edu (Johns Hopkins University)
The Untimeliness of Dreaming in Elyas’s Khoabnama (The Book of Dreams) and Ghosh’s Char Qasem (Qasem’s Island)

Presenter 2
Tariq Omar Ali - toali@illinois.edu (University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign)
Profit and Progress: Steamships, Waterways, and the Making of East Pakistan's National Economy

Presenter 3
Jason Cons - jasoncons@utexas.edu (University of Texas at Austin)
Untimely Territories: Climate, Piracy, Territorial Regulation in Bangladesh’s Sundarbans

Presenter 4
Dilshanie Perera - dperera@stanford.edu (Stanford University)
No Nature Here, Only Politics: Articulations of Power amid Precarity in Coastal Bangladesh


Negotiating the Urban: Contested Spaces of Citizenship
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Conference Room 2
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Nida Kirmani - nidakirmani@gmail.com (LUMS)

Panel Organizer(s)
Shelby Ward - shelby08@vt.edu (Virginia Tech)

-


Presenter 1
Sadaf Hasnain - sadafhasnain2016@u.northwestern.edu (Northwestern University)
“Everything is Open, Nothing is Secret:” Privacy, Security, and Socialization Practices among Ahmadi Women in Urban Pakistan.

Presenter 2
Nida Kirmani - nidakirmani@gmail.com (LUMS)
Negotiating Uncertainty: State Informality and Everyday Life in Lyari, Karachi

Presenter 3
Shreyas Sreenath - shreyas.sreenath@emory.edu (Emory University)
Caste Power in India’s IT City: Urban Waste and Material Overproduction in Bengaluru

Presenter 4
Shelby Ward - shelby08@vt.edu (Virginia Tech)
Ranitri Weerasuriya - rnw2113@columbia.edu (Columbia University )
A ‘Downtown’ for Colombo: The Geopolitics of Sri Lankan Urbanization

Presenter 5
Indivar Jonnalagadda - indivarj@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
Technologies of Invasion: Insurgencies and Inducements on Public Land in Coastal Andhra


The Sino-Indian relationship in South Asia and beyond
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Conference Room 3
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Lars Tore Flåten - flatenlarstore@gmail.com (Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies)

Panel Organizer(s)
Lars Tore Flåten - flatenlarstore@gmail.com (Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies)

India’s hegemonic position in South Asia is presently being challenged by China. The Sino-Indian relationship is complex. While economic cooperation is increasing, the countries also have a history of conflict and disagreement. In recent years tensions have surfaced with regard to border disputes, increased Chinese investments in India’s neighboring countries as well as with regard to China’s gigantic Belt and Road Initiative. This panel addresses how China’s growth influences Indian strategic thinking. Two aspects pertaining to the Sino-Indian relationship stand out as particularly important. The first aspect is concerned with how China’s expansion influences India’s relations with its immediate neighbors. Relevant cases include how Indian strategic thinking responds to the China-Pakistan axis and how India approaches its neighbors to the north and east: Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar. The second aspect looks beyond the region of South Asia insofar as the panel addresses how India seeks to balance the expansion of China by entering strategic partnerships with countries outside the South Asian region, most prominently with Japan and the US. The latter aspect also has to be understood within the framework of India’s so-called Act East strategy. This strategy emphasizes stronger cooperation with countries in South East Asia and East Asia, both economically and strategically.


Presenter 1
Saira Basit - saira.basit@ifs.mil.no ()
The China-Pakistan Axis and its Impact on Indian Strategic Thinking

Presenter 2
Kalyanaraman Sankaran - kramans@gmail.com (Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses)
Will India Ally with Japan and the United States?

Presenter 3
Eric Strahorn - estraho@fgcu.edu (Florida Gulf Coast University)
An Uncomfortable Partnership: China, India and the Transboundary Rivers of the Himalayas

Presenter 4
Lars Tore Flåten - laflaten@ifs.mil.no ()
The Neighborhood First Doctrine in India’s Foreign Policy


Regime and Ritual in Post-Monarchy Nepal
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Conference Room 4
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Christoph Emmrich - christoph.emmrich@utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)

Panel Organizer(s)
Christoph Emmrich - christoph.emmrich@utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)

A decade after the establishment of the Nepalese republic, with the political and economic transformations that came with it fully unfolding and the remnants of the old order either steadily giving way or thoroughly transfigured, scholarship is struggling to keep track of the changes this historical shift has brought to the country. It is the protean, pervasive, creative, and resilient character of forms of ruling and of ruling through ritual that makes the interplay of regimes and rituals in Nepal so contested and so revealing. The subjects that are moved from the tutelage of one regime to the next and the ritual agents who rewrite the conditions under which they let themselves be governed articulate what preoccupies Nepal’s people today. That includes the dissolution and salvaging of structures of care and recognition for the most repressed of former royal subjects, the juridically articulated discontent with violence, killing, and subjugation as spectacle, the fresh re-reading of old texts advocating both personal empowerment and domestic discrimination, and the adjustment and resistance to new rhythms imposed by changing patterns of economic participation. Which specific social roles warrant to be rewritten, if the conditions of production of hegemonic and liturgical performances are no longer the same? What happens when the habitual relations between care and coercion, life and death, sex and gender, clock and time, that constitute certain public events and define the roles of its protagonists, are no longer recognizable, acceptable, or possible? This panel brings together scholars whose work focuses on recent trends in the secularization of regimes that dominate the Kathmandu Valley, and, in some cases, of the places outside the valley, and which help map the forces that coerce the communities of Nepal’s biggest urban conglomeration or propel them to action.


Presenter 1
Anne Mocko - amocko@cord.edu (Concordia College)
All the King’s Horses: Once-Royal Animals in the Aftermath of Nepal’s Monarchy

Presenter 2
Chiara Letizia - letizia.chiara@uqam.ca (Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM))
Deviation or Devotion? A Supreme Court Verdict on Animal Sacrifice in Nepal

Presenter 3
Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz - jvanbirk@illinois.edu (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
Navigating Dharma and Discrimination: Hindu Women on Shakti and Secularism in Twenty-first Century Nepal

Presenter 4
Ian Turner - ian.turner@mail.utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Who’s Got the Time? Ritual, Ethics, and the Spatio-Temporal Commitments of Newar Buddhist Women


Between Work and Labor: Valuing Productive Action in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Conference Room 5
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Sarah Besky - sarah_besky@brown.edu (Brown University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Adam Sargent - sargenta@uchicago.edu (The University of Chicago)
Maira Hayat - maira.hayat@gmail.com (University of Chicago )

Today wage-labor relations seem to be not only universal but also self-evident. The scholarship to date has provided many valuable perspectives on contemporary political economic processes. Yet what labor is and what it does often seem to be left implicit. Rather, the focus tends to be on the ways that surplus value is extracted from working bodies, minds, groups of people. This panel complicates existing approaches by taking labor itself as a category of action and self/perception that is produced, negotiated, and contested in diverse workplaces across South Asia. At stake are different notions of what labor actions mean and what effects they may have in the world and on the selves of workers. We attend to the ways in which workers frame experiences of labor both discursively and materially. Taking these issues seriously means attending to the terms—is it “work,” “labor,” or “toil”—but also to the ways in which work is remunerated and the social relations it creates, maintains, or destroys. Farm labor in Bihar is shaped by ideological framings of agricultural work as variously positioned workers negotiate the vital but also “dirty” tasks it entails. Canal revenue accountants in Pakistan’s Punjab province navigate the consequences of the devaluation of bureaucratic work into diharii (daily labor). Construction workers in Delhi attempt to avoid similar devaluations by distancing themselves from mere “labor work.” In Lahore’s waste infrastructure productivity emerges out of the conjunction between relations of trade and those of work, such that money, materials, and value can circulate within an informal economy. Approaching work as a constantly negotiated and shifting category, the papers on this panel rethink key questions in the study of labor in South Asia around the politics of dignity and remuneration, informality, corruption – of bodies and selves, and the transformation of personhood.


Presenter 1
Hayden Kantor - haydenkantor@gmail.com (Stanford University)
Locating the Farmer: Ideologies of Agricultural Work in Rural Bihar

Presenter 2
Maira Hayat - maira.hayat@gmail.com (University of Chicago )
The Bureaucrat’s Wage: Corruption, Ethical Labor and Gender

Presenter 3
Adam Sargent - sargenta@uchicago.edu (The University of Chicago)
The Work of Aspiration: Interstitial Selves in Indian Construction

Presenter 4
Waqas Butt - waqas.butt@utoronto.ca (University of Toronto Scarborough)
Working to Trade: Waste and Its Infrastructures in Pakistan’s Informal Economy


Racial Violence, Nationalism, and Terror in Cinema and Performance
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Nalin Jayasena - jayasen@miamioh.edu (Miami University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Nalin Jayasena - jayasen@miamioh.edu (Miami University)

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Presenter 1
Nalin Jayasena - jayasen@miamioh.edu (Miami University)
The Return of “the Time of Terror”: Sanjeewa Pushpakumara’s Burning Birds

Presenter 2
Nandini Sikand - sikandn@lafayette.edu (Lafayette College)
Colonial Imaginaries and Racial Solidarities

Presenter 3
Sheetala Bhat - sbhat22@uwo.ca (University of Western Ontario)
Reading Indian Nationalism through the Courtesan Culture

Presenter 4
Soumik Pal - spal@siu.edu (Southern Illinois University)
Is Bollywood Approaching National Cinema?: Reflections on the Popular Cinema Form in the Times of Hindutva


Gendered South Asian Mobilities
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Capitol Ballroom B
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Katharine Rankin - k.rankin@utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)

Panel Organizer(s)
Robert Beazley - reb265@cornell.edu (Cornell University)

Mobility is a highly gendered process in which the politics of access and equitable use manifest as uneven landscapes embedded in socio-cultural norms in variegated multi-contextual spaces. In many South Asian cities endemic sexual harassment on crowded public transport has contributed to the recent growth in women using scooters creating their own safer “mobility-scapes” leading to a sense of independence and empowerment. Yet the politics of the state reifies its patriarchal control passing laws limiting women’s mobility. For example, in Nepal the state has imposed a ban on women under thirty traveling abroad for work, there are rumors of a dress code for women driving scooters, and the new constitution still denies women equal citizenship transferal rights. This panel seeks to explore contemporary gendered South Asian mobilities within trans-disciplinary fields. We will focus on lived “mobility-scapes” as continuously evolving processes that both inhabit and construct social landscapes nested in contested geo-political, political economic, multi-cultural, and imaginary landscapes. Using heterogeneous lens across disciplines this panel aspires to expand and articulate unfolding discussions concerning the intersection of gender and mobility in South Asia.


Presenter 1
Anindita Chatterjee - anindita.jnu2004@gmail.com (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
Mapping Identities: An analysis of domestic space as a contested terrain among the workers

Presenter 2
Seema Singh-her - ss3625@cornell.edu ()
Gendered Mobilities: Case of Panchkula, India

Presenter 3
Karishma Desai - karishma.desai1@rutgers.edu (Rutgers)
Empowerment lessons: Embodying enterprise and aspirations of mobility

Presenter 4
Robert Beazley - reb265@cornell.edu (Cornell University)
Cascading Mobilities: Gendered Mobility in Trans-Himalaya Nepal


Rejuvenating Narratives? Student Politics and the History of Youth’s Political Selves in India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Wisconsin Ballroom
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Jean-Thomas Martelli - jtm.martelli@gmail.com (Sciences Po)

Panel Organizer(s)
Jean-Thomas Martelli - jtm.martelli@gmail.com (Sciences Po)

Narratives and counternarratives, understood as “compelling storylines which can explain events convincingly and from which inferences can be drawn” (Freedman 2006:22) are powerful devices to configure individual and collective identities (Ricœur 1991), subject them to grands récits (Bamberg 2004) and strategically ‘win hearts and minds’ (Holtmann 2013). By drawing attention to the historical formation of both master narratives and counter claims developed by educated youth in the postcolonial period, the panel explores the relevance of campus spaces in the fashioning of political selves. After partition, many scholars regretted that students’ ‘movement’ had given way to sporadic, dispersed ‘agitations’, focused primarily on campus issues. Instead of dismissing group-based demands as ‘parochial’, or looking at students’ dispersion as a problem, this panel proposes to explore the myriad ways in which student politics supported, challenged or re-interpreted mainstream understandings of Indian society. The panel aims at covering the formation of students’ (counter)narratives at crucial historical junctures, such as the Emergency. It ambitions to show how students drew upon pervasive ideological narratives, such as the re-emergence of the demand for minority rights in the 1960s, to formulate their own demands and develop their own narratives. In this way, we aim to show how student politics, located at the intersection between the civic and political spheres (Chatterjee 1998), could both reinforce existing social and political hierarchies as well as provide platforms for an ‘insurrection of the little selves’ (Nigam 2006).


Presenter 1
Laurence Gautier - lmagautier@jgu.edu.in ()
Re-legitimising minority politics. Aligarh Muslim University and the demand for minority status (1965-1981)

Presenter 2
Jean-Thomas Martelli - jtm.martelli@gmail.com (Sciences Po)
From Resonant to Dissonant: Campus Spaces & the Changing Political Narratives at Jawaharlal Nehru University (1964-2018)

Presenter 3
Daniel Kent Carrasco - danielkentca@gmail.com (UNAM Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
Re-enacting the Non-cooperation Narrative: Jayaprakash Narayan's Total Revolution, student mobilization and populism of protest in the 1970s

Presenter 4
Deepak Kumar Nanda - nandadeepak3@gmail.com ()
Competing Narratives on Ambedkar post Rohit Vemula’s Death: An Analysis of Changing Student Politics in University Campuses in India

Presenter 5
Anne Hardgrove - anne.hardgrove@utsa.edu (University of Texas at San Antonio)
Commemorating “Quit India” after Independence: Competing Artistic Legacies of ‘Archer the Butcher’ and the Student Martyrs of Patna, Bihar


Narcotic Pasts and Futures in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: University A/B
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Benjamin Siegel - siegelb@bu.edu (Boston University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Benjamin Siegel - siegelb@bu.edu (Boston University)
Mauricio Najarro - mauricio.jose.najarro@gmail.com

Narcotics and other pharmaceutical substances have long been central to experiences and ideas of governance, subjectivity, and health in South Asia. Opium linked the subcontinent to East and Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean arena, and in time, Europe and the United States, and structured the work and lives of smugglers, sovereigns, and subalterns, well beyond the poppy heartland of the Malwa plateau. Today, Indian opium has found new lives in the international pharmacopeia and in new illicit economies, while the rise of new multinational pharmaceutical concerns has transformed India’s landscape of production, use, and abuse. This panel brings together anthropologists and historians to consider the changing terrain of narcotics, addiction, and pharmaceutical work in South and Southeast Asia. It attends to the work of colonial chemists situating opium comparatively against other “vices,” links Indian opium to drug wars in Southeast Asia during the Second World War, and examines the economic interplay between Indian and Turkish opium production for American and European pharmaceutical markets. The panel will also focus on regulatory regimes and anxieties that constrain the provision of opioid pain medication for end-stage cancer patients in Pakistan as well as the biomediatization of the opioid epidemic in the border districts of Indian Punjab. Carefully considering opioids and their antagonists via recent developments in anthropology and STS—namely attunements to chemosociality and toxic methodologies—this panel will contribute to the ongoing efforts by ethnographers and historians to think chemically in ways that reckon with the long histories, promises, and perils of the chemical prosthetic (Shapiro and Kirksey 2017). Together, this panel offers new directions for the study of narcotic pasts, presents, and futures on the Indian subcontinent.


Presenter 1
Utathya Chattopadhyaya - chattop2@illinois.edu (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Colonial Identities and the Global Itineraries of the Alipore Smuggling Case

Presenter 2
Zahra Hayat - zahra.hayat@berkeley.edu ()
Cancer and Pain Medication: Pakistan’s ‘Opioid Crisis’?”

Presenter 3
Diana Kim - diana.kim@georgetown.edu ()
The Colonial Origins of Illicit Drug Economies in Southeast Asia

Presenter 4
Mauricio Najarro - mauricio.jose.najarro@gmail.com ()
Receptor Promises and Substitute Loves: Opioids and their Antagonists in Punjab


Tales Within Tales: Framing Frame Stories in South Asian Narrative
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: University C/D
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Raj Balkaran - raj.balkaran@gmail.com (University of Toronto )

Panel Organizer(s)
Raj Balkaran - raj.balkaran@gmail.com (University of Toronto )

The literary practice of placing tales within tales is prevalent across South Asian narrative texts. Through 5 case studies from the epics and purānas, this panel sheds light on the rich ramifications of this practice. Its first three papers focus on the thematic relationship between frame stories and the stories they frame: 1) Matthew Robertson shows how the frame story of the Mahābhārata’s Udyogaparvan, “The Victory of Indra,” establishes the qualities of righteous and unrighteous sovereigns through a reconsideration of long-held Brahmanical beliefs about the cosmically expansive identities of kings; 2) Timothy Lorndale investigates the curious framing of Sītā’s abandonment within the story of the Pāṇḍava’s horse sacrifice in the Mahābhārata, contending that this telling is actually the story of the abandoned wives of Rāma and Arjuna; and 3) Travis Smith analyses how the frame narrative of the Kāśīkhanda - i.e., that of sage Agastya who once lived happily in Varanasi, but was forced to leave permanently to subdue the Vindhya mountain - foregrounds key theological and aesthetic motifs found throughout the text. The final two papers on this panel make sense of the very process of narrative enframement: 4) Elizabeth Rohlman draws from Skanda and Sarasvati Purānas to show how a single narrative can be expanded and contracted, arguing that unique function of frame stories in purānic literature is more malleable than the metaphor of emboxment suggests, and is best conceived of as an accordion-like compositional process of growth and regeneration; and 5) Raj Balkaran examines the parallel frames of the Devī Māhātmya and Bhagavad Gītā to demonstrate the interplay of worldly and other-worldly religious aims in both, what he calls the dharmic double helix, suggesting such South Asian texts symbiotically owe their longevity to the very ideological double helix they encode.


Presenter 1
Matthew Robertson - matthewianrobertson@gmail.com (Florida State University)
A Match for a Great Kingdom: Expansive Sovereignty in the Udyogaparvan’s Frame Story

Presenter 2
Travis L Smith - tlsmith@snu.ac.kr (Seoul National University)
Framing the Kāśīkhaṇḍa: Theological and Literary Themes in the Agastya Narrative

Presenter 3
Elizabeth Rohlman - elizabeth.rohlman@ucalgary.ca (University of Calgary)
The Elasticity of Emboxment: Expansion and Contraction of Frame Narratives Across Puranic Literature

Presenter 4
Raj Balkaran - raj.balkaran@gmail.com (University of Toronto )
Suffering and Sovereignty: Decoding Dharma’s Double-Helix in The Parallel Frames of the Devī Māhātmya and the Bhagavad Gītā


Love, Translation, and Mythology: Explorations in Hindi, English, and Dhivehi Literature
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Parlour Room 627
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Sohomjit Ray - sohomjit@gmail.com (College of Staten Island, CUNY)

Panel Organizer(s)
Sohomjit Ray - sohomjit@gmail.com (College of Staten Island, CUNY)

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Presenter 1
Anandi Rao - anandir@uci.edu (University of California, Irvine)
Courting Controversy and Transgressive “Love” in Hindi translations and adaptations of Romeo and Juliet.

Presenter 2
Garrett Field - fieldg@ohio.edu (Ohio University)
The Garden of Poets: Dhivehi-Language Poetry in the Maldives, 1946-1948

Presenter 3
Sohomjit Ray - sohomjit@gmail.com (College of Staten Island, CUNY)
Ekbhashi Path Bahubhashi Path: Interpretation and the Fantasy of Monolingualism in Jhumpa Lahiri and Amitav Ghosh

Presenter 4
Muskan Sandhu - muskan.sandhu@mail.mcgill.ca (McGill University)
Novelised Myths: Mythological Bestsellers in Neoliberal India


Fragile Fictions: Identity, and performance in South Asian ethnographic encounters
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Parlour Room 629
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Uday Chandra - udaychandra84@gmail.com (Georgetown University, Qatar)

Panel Organizer(s)
Vivek V. Narayan - v.v.narayan@gmail.com (Stanford University)

This panel explores questions of caste and gender identity, and the performance of selfhood, through ethnography. The papers in this panel share an interest in what Dwight Conquergood called the “fragile fiction” of performance ethnography, which demands a “special doubling of consciousness [… where the fieldworker is...] both subject and object” (2013: 21). The papers in this panel emphasize the embodied, the intersubjective, and relational aspects of ethnographic fieldwork as they interrogate aspects of caste and gender identity and selfhood through performance. Performance here becomes both the object of study and the optic. Understood in its widest sense, performance covers the broad spectrum of embodied enactments from the quotidian to the extraordinary that constitute individual selves and social relationships. At the centre of any such investigation taking performance as object and method lies a conception of the primacy of the corporeal. The ethnographic accounts in this panel emphasize the intersubjective relationships formed during fieldwork encounters that unsettle any neat subject-object binary division. Priyanka Basu analyzes the verse-duelling/song-theatre genre of Kobigaan in Bengal and Bangladesh to offer a history of the social construction of Matua Dalit identity. Aniruddhan Vasudevan turns to the relationship of Thirunangai transgender women/ third gender persons in Chennai with the goddess Angalamman to understand the affective place of myth and ritual in the constitution of people as ethical subjects. Vivek V. Narayan discusses the political performances of the Dalit Women's Society (DWS), a twenty-five year old organization that works against caste patriarchy in Kerala, to argue that the DWS's situated political practice offers an embodied alternative to masculinist Dalit discourse as well as upper-caste feminism. Taken together, the papers in this panel offer intersubjective ethnographic accounts of caste and gender identities viewed through the lens of performance.


Presenter 1
Vivek V. Narayan - v.v.narayan@gmail.com (Stanford University)
Encounter, Deferral, Care: A performance ethnography of the Dalit Women's Society in Kerala, south India

Presenter 2
Aniruddhan Vasudevan - aniruddhan@utexas.edu (University of Texas at Austin)
Pillaging the Self: Goddess Angalamman, Thirunangai Transwomen, and Ethical World-Making

Presenter 3
PRIYANKA BASU - priyankabasu85@gmail.com (The British Library London)
Music, Mobilisation and Identity: Understanding the Cultural Politics of Matua Kobigaan in West Bengal and Bangladesh


Negotiating Religious Identities in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Parlour Room 634
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Nathan McGovern - nmcgover@fandm.edu (UW Whitewater)

Panel Organizer(s)
Nathan McGovern - nmcgover@fandm.edu (UW Whitewater)

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Presenter 1
Rajbir Judge - rsj2122@columbia.edu (Columbia University)
Reform In Fragments: An Essay on Orthodoxy

Presenter 2
Nathan McGovern - nmcgover@fandm.edu (UW Whitewater)
The Emergence of Religious Identity in Ancient India

Presenter 3
Aarti Patel - apatel10@syr.edu (Syracuse University)
Ritualization of Memory in the Swaminarayan Sampraday

Presenter 4
Ayesha Sheth - ayeshas@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
Recasting the Intellectual as Popular- A Study of the Brahmo Hymnal

Presenter 5
Elsa Marty - elsajmarty@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
Sarna Dharam: The Politics of Adivasi Religion and Identity


Rethinking Claims-making: Engagements with the Colonial and Post-Colonial State in India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Parlour Room 638
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

David Gilmartin - gilmarti@ncsu.edu

Panel Organizer(s)
Souvanik Mullick - souvanik.mullick@yale.edu (Yale University)

This panel takes a historical and ethnographic look at the social life of bureaucracy in India by examining different approaches to claims-making. For the purposes of our discussion, we understand claims-making as the practical attempt to enact rights and guarantee legal entitlements through the highly mediated procedures of state bureaucracy. We build upon anthropological approaches to the study of the state and bureaucracy, which emphasize the contingent and decentralized nature of everyday statecraft. Each paper focuses on engagements that illuminate at once the policy, legal, and ideological frameworks that inform the citizen/state relationship, and the bureaucratic cultures through which they are manifested. The papers follow encounters with the state in North India, from the 19th century to the present day. Moving from colonial Delhi, to the contested shore of contemporary Gujarat, to a Muslim community in rural Rajasthan, the papers share an interest in the development of bureaucratic forms, the particularities of their social contexts, and the strategies through which claimants seek to hold the state accountable. They ask: How are bureaucratic and legal frameworks created according to their historical, cultural, and ecological contexts? What are the local notions of rights, duties, responsibilities and entitlements that support claims and how are they expressed? How do conditions of social marginalization and economic precarity affect the practical efforts of claims-making? How does the lived experience of staking a claim inform conceptions of citizenship and the role of the state?


Presenter 1
Souvanik Mullick - souvanik.mullick@yale.edu (Yale University)
Town Planning and Court Claims in Punjab and Delhi, 1897-1911

Presenter 2
Meredith McLaughlin - meredith.mclaughlin@yale.edu (Yale University)
Charismatic Claims: Bureaucracy and Religious Affect in an Indian Muslim Community

Presenter 3
Chandana Anusha - chandana.anusha@yale.edu (Yale University )
Unsettling claims through the art of getting by: Maneuvering and meandering in the time of port infrastructures


Revisiting 'Sepia Mutiny': Blogging Collectivities in South Asian America
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Madison College D240 - 1
Floor: Madison College

V.V. Ganeshananthan - vganesha@umn.edu (University of Minnesota)
Lia Wolock - wolock@uwm.edu (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

This round table considers the foundational work of multi-person blog and forum Sepia Mutiny (SM, 2004-2012) in the formation of South Asian America as a popular coalitional identity intended to circumvent divisions subcontinental and domestic. SM acted as a center of digital gravity for a national and transnational community that did not exist until it came together via the site. Its posts on politics and popular culture fueled substantive discussions among its 60+ mutineers (bloggers) and 15,000 daily readers, across 5,300 posts and 250,000 comments. This timely session will address a recent turn toward a more politicized popular discourse around and by South Asian Americans. Although raising awareness, this newer movement centers a narrow range of voices. Examining the politics and labor of maintaining SM as a radically coalitional space, we ask what lessons the site holds for current activism and advocacy. Ethnomusicologist and mutineer Nilanjana Bhattacharjya will address the critical role SM played building community in the post-9/11 years for many South Asian Americans outside metropolitan areas, and the legacies of collaboration and connection that SM has engendered among a particular generation of South Asian Americans. Literature scholar and mutineer Amardeep Singh will argue that debates over the mainstreaming of South Asian American identity hashed out in the niche space of SM were precursors to the more recent work of comedians such as Ansari, Minhaj, and Nancherla. The contours of those earlier debates suggest where the mainstream debate may be headed. Media scholar Lia Wolock will place SM in conversation with the literature on publics and counterpublics to argue that SM can best be understood as a polyvocal public, a public that cannot exist except as many-voiced and aware of its own impossibility. Novelist and mutineer V. V. Ganeshananthan will chair the round table.


Presenter 1
Nilanjana Bhattacharjya - nbhatta2@asu.edu (Arizona State University)
Presenter 2
Amardeep Singh - amsp@lehigh.edu
Presenter 3
Lia Wolock - wolock@uwm.edu (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

New Directions in the Study of Political Violence and Revolutionary Terrorism: "Gentlemanly Terrorists" (2017) and "A Revolutionary History of Interwar India" (2015)
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Madison College D240 - 2
Floor: Madison College

Andrew Amstutz - aamstutz@wisc.edu (UW-Madison)
Andrew Amstutz - aamstutz@wisc.edu (UW-Madison)

Renewed global interest in political violence and terrorism has yielded vibrant interdisciplinary discussions on this subject in South Asia. How does political violence rethink the conventional narrative of Indian nationalism? In turn, what do studies of revolutionary terrorism in late colonial South Asia contribute to global debates on political violence and law? Taking up these questions, our round table considers two recent monographs and assesses their impact on South Asian studies and global histories of law and violence. The first book, Durba Ghosh’s "Gentlemanly Terrorists: Political Violence and the Colonial State in India," explores the relationship of political violence in Bengal to the development of the modern nation-state in India. Ghosh traces how gradual constitutional reforms that aimed to promote liberal governance in India were tied to emergency legislation. The second work, Kama Maclean’s "A Revolutionary History of Interwar India: Violence, Image, Voice and Text," examines how North Indian revolutionaries reshaped the goals and tactics of the Congress Party, especially the policy of nonviolence. Both books rethink the received chronology of the Indian freedom struggle and contribute to global conversations about the relationship of law, nationalism, and violence. The authors will be joined by a panel of four readers from different disciplinary backgrounds and specialties. Rohit De will offer comments from his perspective on law and colonialism in South Asia and comparative constitutionalism. In turn, Daniel Elam will provide a perspective from comparative literature on anticolonial and nationalist movements. Mou Banerjee will offer insights on changing norms of religious imagery that provided the ideological scaffolding for such revolutionary violence. Michael Silvestri will provide comments from his perspective on the evolution of British imperial police and surveillance systems. After the presenters have commented and the authors have responded, we anticipate ample time for the audience to participate in this lively discussion.


Presenter 1
Durba Ghosh - dg256@cornell.edu (Cornell University)
Presenter 2
Kama Maclean - kama.maclean@unsw.edu.au (UNSW Australia)
Presenter 3
Rohit De - rohit.de@yale.edu (Yale University)
Presenter 4
James Daniel Elam - j.daniel.elam@gmail.com (Cornell University / University of Hong Kong)
Presenter 5
Mou Banerjee - moubanerjee@fas.harvard.edu (Harvard University)
Presenter 6
Michael Silvestri - msilves@clemson.edu (Clemson University)
Presenter 7
Rishad Choudhury - rishad.choudhury@gmail.com (Oberlin College)

Explore Their Stories: Producing Documentary Films that Inspire, Educate, and Catalyze Change
Film

Location

Session: Session 1: Friday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Madison College Meeting Room 1
Floor: Madison College

Sadia Uqaili - sadia@exploretheirstories.org (Explore Their Stories, Inc.)

This is the story of Bapsi Sidhwa, the eminent Zoroastrian writer who overcame a lonely and painful childhood scarred with illness to become an internationally acclaimed novelist. One of the first women writers to write in English from the Indian subcontinent, Bapsi’s life takes us across thousands of miles, between continents and cultures from South Asia to the United States -- and touches us personally. Her story also lifts a curtain on the almost extinct and hidden community, the Zoroastrians. Bapsi Sidhwa’s writing, work, and life story will delight and inspire. Her works have been translated into Russian, French, German and Italian and taught at universities in the US and in Canada. You must be aware of the fact that Bapsi has received numerous awards internationally including the key to Houston. The renowned film maker Deepa Mehta has produced the famous trilogy based on Bapsi's writings; Earth 1947, Water and Fire. Explore Their Stories Inc. is a 501 (C) 3 our nonprofit mission is to discover, document, preserve and share via compelling films, the extraordinary in our everyday lives. To celebrate diversity, educate and inspire our audiences, to give a voice to the other and leave behind these inclusive narratives for our next generations. For details and our team please view www.exploretheirstories.org . We are also on Facebook: Explore Their Stories | Instagram: @bapsifilm and @exploretheirstories Trailer BAPSI https://vimeo.com/243342535


Milieus of the Technological Object and its Articulation of the Social: Time, Quality, Precision
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Assembly Room
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Dwaipayan Banerjee - dwai@mit.edu

Panel Organizer(s)
Ishani Saraf - isaraf@ucdavis.edu (University of California, Davis)

This panel ethnographically explores the various ways in which technological objects come into being, transform, are broken down, and modified in various contemporary settings. We contend that these technological objects emerge at the confluence of plural yet sustained material and knowledge practices and expertise. By foregrounding techniques by which technological objects come into being alongside the vibrant materiality of these objects, the panel looks into the conjunctures and spaces where recurrent, prolonged, often mundane practices and engagements weave together, disentangle, or metamorphose these technological objects. We ask, how do these practices construct technological objects? What are the epistemic and material histories that have congealed in these practices? What are the meanings that these objects acquire through these processes? How do these meanings direct the efficacy of these objects in the world? Where do these objects circulate and under what conditions are they consumed, used, dispersed? What worlds do these objects make possible and for whom? These questions point both toward the complex interactions of meaning making, material processes, and knowledge practices as well as how these interactions form the basis for and inflect competing claims around questions of livability, risk and sustainability as issues seen as increasingly amenable to technological articulation and management. In pursuit of these questions, papers will explore the engineering of time in the production of genetically modified cotton seeds, expertise of dissasembly in producing scrap from vehicles as technologically complex objects, and the standardisation of quality as input to the manufacture of cigarettes.


Presenter 1
Amrita Kurian - akurian@ucsd.edu (University of California San Diego)
The Articulation of Quality on FCV Tobacco Auction Floors in Andhra Pradesh, India

Presenter 2
Ashawari Chaudhari - ashawari@mit.edu ()
The Kernel of Doubt: Time, Braided Temporality, and Agrarian Environments in India

Presenter 3
Ishani Saraf - isaraf@ucdavis.edu (University of California, Davis)
Breaking a car: techniques of precision and the disassembly of technological objects in the scrap market


Interrogating the Sermon in Modern South Asian Islam
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Caucus Room
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Margrit Pernau - pernau@mpib-berlin.mpg.de (Max Planck Institute for Human Development)

Panel Organizer(s)
SherAli Tareen - stareen@fandm.edu (Franklin and Marshall College)

This panel interrogates the interaction and intersection of religion, affect, and emotion as reflected in the genre of the sermon (khutbah/waʿz/majlis) in modern South Asian Islam. More specifically, it addresses the following overarching question: what is the relationship between oral sermons, reformist texts, and the promise and desire of curating particular visions of a moral public? Phrased differently, how are listening, writing, and moral formation entwined? While engaging this broader question, this panel also takes up questions of the following sort: What are the major registers of ethical and affective sensibilities anticipated and generated by the medium of the sermon? How was Muslim public speech encountered and appropriated by specific audiences? How did the medium of the sermon negotiate and navigate technologies of print in colonial modernity? And finally, what function did the sermon play in the assemblage of the religious authority of prominent South Asian Muslim scholars? The panelists explore these questions through the intellectual careers and sermons of certain towering Muslim scholars (‘ulama’) in early nineteenth, late-nineteenth, and in mid and late twentieth century Northern India. Other than its expansive temporal coverage, this panel also considers scholars of remarkably varied sectarian and doctrinal persuasions including Shiʿite, Sunni Traditionalist/Hanafi, and non-traditionalist scholars. Moreover, while bound by the common theme of religious sermons and their emotive and affective work, the specific genres of sermons explored in this panel range from sermons dealing with the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday (mawlid), the commemoration of Muharram, and those aimed at the moral reform of the public. Collectively, this panel argues for the centrality of the sermon to the discursive tradition of modern South Asian Islam. It also makes a conceptual plea for taking seriously the critical significance of the affective exercise of listening to South Asian Muslim intellectual and reformist thought.


Presenter 1
Max Stille - stille@mpib-berlin.mpg.de (Max-Planck-Institute for Human Development, Berlin)
Obedient Passion – passionate obedience. Ashraf Ali Thanawi’s sermons on the love of the Prophet

Presenter 2
Syed Rizwan Zamir - rizamir@davidson.edu ()
Karbala and its Preaching in Times of Crisis: The Case of Sayyidul ‘ulamā’ Sayyed ‘Alī Naqī al-Naqvī (d. 1988)

Presenter 3
SherAli Tareen - stareen@fandm.edu (Franklin and Marshall College)
Qur'an Translations and Commentaries in South Asia


The Critique of Counter-Narratives: What Does it Mean to Retell A Story?
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Senate Room A
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Gregory Clines - gclines@trinity.edu (Trinity University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Gregory Clines - gclines@trinity.edu (Trinity University)

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Presenter 1
Gregory Clines - gclines@trinity.edu (Trinity University)
What Did He Know and When Did He Know It: Ravana’s Abduction of Sita in Two Jain Rama Narratives

Presenter 2
Itamar Ramot - itamar.ramot@gmail.com (University of Chicago)
Can a Genre Criticize Itself? Style and Temporality in Amitagati’s Dharmaparīkṣā

Presenter 3
Helena Reddington - helena.reddington@mail.mcgill.ca (McGill University)
Satire and the Vernacular in Kuñcan Nampyār’s Kalyāṇasaugandhikam


Old yet new: Changing Agrarian Relations and Institutions in Post-Liberalisation India
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Senate Room B
Floor: Floor 1

Linda Racioppi - racioppi@msu.edu (Michigan State University)
Sejuti Das Gupta - sejuti.dasgupta@gmail.com (Michigan State University )

Agrarian relations in India present a complex and contrasting story. While the agrarian political economy offers well-documented evidence that shows Indian agriculture has been in grips of a crisis for close to two decades, regional states have registered high agricultural growth during the period and rural rich have been constituting more than 40 percent of India’s rich. Recent Indian Customer Economy (ICE) 360 survey (2014) reveals that rural India contributes over half of India’s income (55.4%), has a share of 56.1% of consumption expenditure, and its 179.5 million households have a share of 52.3% of the country’s surplus income. To understand the story, attention to regional and local variations in terms of caste and class constellations, institutional structures, government policies are crucial. In the three decades since India and South Asia, more generally, took the neoliberal turn, institutions of the state, market and civil society have arguably been restructuring agrarian structures of class, caste and gender. The papers come together to re-examine these relations between institutions and social identities, thereby revealing a more layered process of agrarian change. This Round Table proposes that, agrarian relations and institutions have undergone significant restructuring under the influence of corporate agrarian capital, ecological constraints and political shifts. This is generating simultaneously elements of crisis and pathways to agrarian accumulation. Specific political realignments and social identities, on the other hand, determine the fate of particular social groups. The present agrarian sector is more internally differentiated yet polarised. Sejuti will draw attention to state and market interaction with the agrarian sector, Ishita focuses on state, Shreya on market and Taneesha on civil society and market with agrarian sector. Together they examine the case of India and Bangladesh.


Presenter 1
Sejuti Das Gupta - sejuti.dasgupta@gmail.com (Michigan State University )
Presenter 2
Ishita Mehrotra - mehrotraishita@yahoo.com
Presenter 3
Shreya Sinha - shreya04@gmail.com (SOAS)
Presenter 4
Taneesha Mohan - tdevimohan@gmail.com

Agrarian Imaginaries in India: Land, Capital and Politics
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Conference Room 1
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Suchismita Das - suchismita@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)

Panel Organizer(s)
Suchismita Das - suchismita@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)

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Presenter 1
Arshiya Sethi - arshiyasethi@gmail.com (University of Minnesota )
Eat Pray But No Love: Alimentary Politics in India Today

Presenter 2
Vaishnavi Tripuraneni - vtripuraneni@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Life and Debt. Farmer Livelihoods in South India.

Presenter 3
Suchismita Das - suchismita@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
Green Politics in Northeast India: Of Organic Agriculture and Regional Sovereignty


Breaking a Sequence: Disrupting the Materiality of Time in Contemporary India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Conference Room 2
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Anjali Arondekar - aarondek@ucsc.edu (UCSC)

Panel Organizer(s)
Maura Finkelstein - mfinkelstein@muhlenberg.edu (Muhlenberg College)

A sequence is an arrangement of symbols, producing temporal unity and coherent meaning. When people envision alternate renderings of the past and future, they break sequence and fall out of character, conjuring new social actors into existence that demand rhythms and sequences of their own. The seeming solidity of bodies and archives is splintered, projecting contradictory meanings and multiple potential futures. How does a slight shift in a sequence unravel an entire temporal plane, producing a material consequence that reaches far beyond its immediate temporal surround? The papers on this panel offer thick ethnographic descriptions of how social actors splinter the materials of the past, present, and future by reshaping time itself as material. Naisgari Dave explores the notion of “the inevitable” in animal rights discourse: how do we reconcile ahimsa and surrender through that which has been rendered “inevitable”? Shakthi Nataraj explores how debates about tirunankai identity in Tamil Nadu rearrange categories of kinship, marriage, and social reproduction, reimagining what manhood and womanhood might be. Maura Finkelstein engages the archive as an ethnographic methodology for unearthing stories previously buried and overlooked by seemingly seamless historical narratives. What does the city look like when the lives and labor of currently employed Mumbai textile workers collide with the city’s contemporary post-industrial identity? These papers offer diverse examples of how social actors across several Indian cities bring disparate historical traces into temporal, and therefore material, alignment.


Presenter 1
Shakthi Nataraj - shakthi.nataraj@gmail.com (University of California, Berkeley)
One Plus One is Three: The Tirunankai as the Future of Woman

Presenter 2
Maura Finkelstein - mfinkelstein@muhlenberg.edu (Muhlenberg College)
Stories from Mumbai’s Archive of Loss

Presenter 3
Naisargi Dave - naisargi.dave@utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Histories of the Inevitable


Reparations, Empowerment, and Disability in Post-War Sri Lanka
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Conference Room 3
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Lars Waldorf - l.t.waldorf@dundee.ac.uk (University of Dundee)

Panel Organizer(s)
Lars Waldorf - l.t.waldorf@dundee.ac.uk (University of Dundee)

Violent conflict in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs), such as Sri Lanka, generates large numbers of persons with physical and psychological disabilities who will be trapped in extreme poverty and social exclusion long after the war is over. Their rights and needs are frequently ignored in post-war reconstruction and development because they lack political voice, economic power, and social status. One way to begin correcting such neglect is to provide these people with the confidence, knowledge, and skills to demand socio-economic rights and service delivery from governments and other actors (such as donors and transnational corporations). This panel on empowering people with conflict-related disabilities in Sri Lanka is especially timely. First, the country ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in February 2016. The Convention obligates Sri Lanka to provide rights awareness, equal access to justice, and livelihood opportunities to persons with disabilities. Second, Sri Lanka joined the Mine Ban Treaty in December 2017 and has pledged to make the country “mine free” by 2020. Third, Sri Lankans are currently debating how to provide reparations for those affected by the civil war and state violence. Finally, the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals promote inclusion and access to justice. This inter-disciplinary panel (with scholars from dance, law, and politics) examines several efforts to empower people with disabilities in northern and eastern Sri Lanka through information, dance, and law. It asks whether these efforts have been effective and, if so, how and why. The panel is based on qualitative fieldwork conducted in 2017 and 2018.


Presenter 1
Lars Waldorf - l.t.waldorf@dundee.ac.uk (University of Dundee)
A Wound-Dresser: Reparations and the Right to Information for Sri Lanka’s War- Wounded

Presenter 2
Hetty Blades - ac1417@coventry.ac.uk ()
Embodied Learning: Empowering Sri Lankans with War-Related Disabilities through Dance

Presenter 3
Helena-Ulrike Marambio - hmaram@essex.ac.uk (University of Essex)
The Role of Legal Empowerment for Women with Physical Disabilities in Post-War Sri Lanka

Presenter 4
Neil DeVotta - devottn@wfu.edu (Wake Forest University)
Empowerment amidst Non-Transitional Justice


When the Political is Personal: Social Context of Collaborative Research
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Conference Room 4
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Mytheli Sreenivas - sreenivas.2@osu.edu (Ohio State University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Varsha Chitnis - varsha.chitnis@gmail.com

Feminist postcolonial methodology emphasizes the decentering of epistemic hierarchies institutionalized through gender and imperialist hegemonies. Collaborative research, where individuals and communities are participants in the production of knowledge, has been central to both feminist and postcolonial methodological perspectives. Drawing on individual research projects, which apply feminist research methods to questions of everyday lives, this panel explores the social complexities of collaborative research. Negotiating their insider-outsider positionality, the researchers on the panel explore the use of local cultural tools and practices in collaborative methodology, and argue that these instances further illustrate the situatedness of knowledge production. How do we, as researchers, balance the normative principles of collaborative methodology with the realities of power differentials on the ground? Sayoni Bose explores how recruiting her father allows her into the masculine domains that still remain inaccessible to her on account of her gender, despite her class and educational status. Anindita Sengupta’s paper, meanwhile, critically considers her positionality, which grants her access to doctors as well as surrogates, which otherwise would not have been possible. Adopting the informal adda approach allows her insights into the lives of women that would not have been possible through formal interview methods. But how do we represent these lives, when the politics of social relations is rooted in deeply personal experiences that are shared with the researchers? Varsha Chitnis examines some ethical questions about representation in collaborative research. If multiple, often contradictory, subjectivities are reflected in the interviews, what does it mean to do justice to the lives and voices of these participants? Taken together, these papers contemplate on the politics of feminist postcolonial research praxis.


Presenter 1
Sayoni Bose - sayonibose@gmail.com (Governors State University)
Negotiated Field: Doing fieldwork in West Bengal

Presenter 2
Anindita Sengupta - anisen80@gmail.com (University of Connecticut )
Adda: A Bengali way of knowing the world

Presenter 3
Varsha Chitnis - varsha.chitnis@gmail.com ()
Ethical Questions of Representation in Feminist Collaborative Research


Cold War in South Asia: A Cultural Perspective from the Global South
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Conference Room 5
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair
Panel Organizer(s)
Subho Basu - subho.basu@mcgill.ca (McGill University)

This panel investigates how the Cold War impacted literary and cultural imagining of the world from South Asian perspective. South Asia was drawn into the Cold War as India elected the path of non-alignment and Pakistan joined US sponsored treaty regimes. By 1971 India signed a no-war pact with the Soviet Union while US-backed Pakistan in a civil war with its eastern wing and thus India-Pakistan conflict was subsumed within the larger logic of the Cold War. Yet as the Cold War propaganda reached South Asia, South Asian writers and cultural activists imagined an alternative form of global solidarity through the experience of decolonization in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Poets and novelists experimented with literary forms and themes that ranged from realism to modernism and critical irrealism. Feminist writers critiqued social inequities based on gender and fashioned an imagination of world that transcended the ravages of patriarchy in addition to those of race and class. The supposed binaries of Cold War and nation state rivalries paved the way for creative engagement with alternative imaginings of the solidarities from the perspective of global south. By drawing on Bengali literature in 1950s and 60s this panel posits a fragment of this alternative view of the world and creative imagining of human solidarities.


Presenter 1
Sandeep Banerjee - sandeep.banerjee@mcgill.ca (McGill University)
An “Other” Modernism: The Cultural Cold War and Modernist Aesthetic in Bengal

Presenter 2
Sreya Chatterjee - schatterjee6@uh.edu (University of Houston)
Cold War and the Bengali Feminist Memoir

Presenter 3
Auritro Majumder - amajumder@uh.edu (University of Houston)
Cold War and Reimagining of solidarities in Global South

Presenter 4
Subho Basu - subho.basu@mcgill.ca (McGill University)
Forgetting ‘genocide’: Cultural Politics of the construction of Collective Memory of 1971 and Cold War


The Cinematic in Contemporary India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Sarunas Paunksnis - paunksnis@protonmail.ch (Kaunas University of Technology)

Panel Organizer(s)
Sai Diwan - diwan.sai@alumni.ubc.ca (University of British Columbia)

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Presenter 1
Padma Chirumamilla - padmachi@umich.edu (University of Michigan)
The Cinematic Roots of Cable Television in South India

Presenter 2
Sarunas Paunksnis - paunksnis@protonmail.ch (Kaunas University of Technology)
Spectral Cities and Uncanny Urban Space in India: Bollywood Horror as Critique of Neoliberalism

Presenter 3
Sai Diwan - diwan.sai@alumni.ubc.ca (University of British Columbia)
Monstress Divine, Monstrous Feminine: Reading Kali in Hindi Cinema in India

Presenter 4
Rudrani Gangopadhyay - rudraniganguly@gmail.com (Rutgers University)
Rethinking the Notion of Non-Place in Contemporary Hindi Cinema

Presenter 5
Tanushree Ghosh - tghosh@unomaha.edu (UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA AT OMAHA)
Reshaping Bollywood: Indian New Media and Hindi Cinema


CULTURAL LABOR OF “DANCING GIRLS” IN INDIAN CINEMA, 1930s-60s
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Capitol Ballroom B
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Davesh Soneji - dsoneji@upenn.edu

Panel Organizer(s)
Usha Iyer - usha.iyer@gmail.com (Stanford University)

This interdisciplinary panel brings together methodological approaches from dance studies, ethnomusicology, and film studies to produce a social and cultural history of female performers in Indian cinema from the 1930s to the 1960s. By studying the personal and performing lives of dancer-actresses like T.R. Rajakumari, T. Jyothilakshmi, Azurie, and L. Vijayalakshmi, the panel examines the circuits between traditional dancers, the cinema, and newly emerging classifications of classical, folk, and film dance. These little-studied female pioneers of Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi cinema negotiate categories of the regional and the national, traditional and modern, classical and filmic to alert us to the complex intermediality between dance and cinema, stage and screen. Trained in recently-canonized “classical” dance forms and well-known as well for their erotically-charged cabaret dance sequences, these dancer-actresses make visible the cultural labor of women from communities – whether devadāsī or Eurasian – that were beginning to be concertedly marginalized from the hegemonic national narratives of both dance and cinema. Through ethnographic work with T.D. Kuchalakumari, an actress from the devadāsī community, Hari Krishnan traces the contributions of her family members, T.R. Rajakumari and T. Jyothilakshmi to Tamil cinema. Rumya Putcha employs feminist and decolonial ethnographic methods, using memory as a critical tool to reconstruct the career of the “vamp,” L. Vijayalakshmi. Focusing on Azurie, known as “the Pavlova of India and Pakistan,” Usha Iyer examines the many hyphenated identities embodied by this early “sex symbol” of Bombay cinema. The focus on dance in all the papers emerges from our shared view that film dance, in particular, illuminates persistent tensions around public female performance. The remarkable dancer-actresses that animate this panel demonstrate how women, through their engagement with new dance traditions and the emerging form of the cinema, were central figures in articulating South Asian cultural modernities.


Presenter 1
Hari Krishnan - hkrishnan@wesleyan.edu (Wesleyan University)
The Devadāsī Community and the Cinematic Imagination: Politics, Participation, Representation, 1930-1960

Presenter 2
Usha Iyer - ushaiyer@stanford.edu (Stanford University)
Corporeal Histories from the Margins: Azurie, the Indo-German, Indo-Pakistani Dancing Girl

Presenter 3
Rumya Putcha - rsputcha@tamu.edu (Texas A&M University)
Cinematic Modernities and Cosmopolitan Citizenships: Affective Economies in Post-Independence Indian Cinema


Politics and Paranoia: Portraying Muslims and Islam in India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Wisconsin Ballroom
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Dennis McGilvray - dennis.mcgilvray@colorado.edu (University of Colorado, Boulder)

Panel Organizer(s)
Laura Dudley Jenkins - laura.jenkins@uc.edu (University of Cincinnati)

Fear, anxiety, and paranoia are powerful political catalysts. Audrey Truschke builds on her award-winning Aurangzeb: The Life and Legacy of India’s Most Controversial King (Stanford 2017), with new research about Sanskrit histories of Indo-Islamic incursions and rule. She examines how India’s traditional learned elite viewed the Muslim Other. Chandra Mallampalli uses examples from A Muslim Conspiracy in British India? Politics and Paranoia in the Early Nineteenth-Century Deccan (Cambridge 2017) (from which we drew our panel theme) to engage with even more recent scholarship on paranoia, paralysis and fear as driving forces in Indian colonial history. Mujeeb Ahmad builds on his articles on the Barelwis’ historical roles and organizations to examine the recent rise of the Tehrik-i-Labaik Ya Rasullah political party in Pakistan. Inspiring outrage against their political opponents by by accusing them of threatening Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, this party orchestrated massive street protests in 2017, prompting the resignation of the Law Minister and creating widespread fear of discussing religious or blasphemy law. Laura Dudley Jenkins a chapter from her forthcoming book Leaps of Faith (Penn Press 2019) beyond India to Sri Lanka to examine online rumors of Muslims forcibly converting Buddhists and threatening Buddhist sites. These rumors contributed to violent attacks on Muslims and their property in 2017, while the Sri Lankan government attempted to block Facebook and WhatsApp. Ranging from Truschke, lauded in a book review for “engaging with (and demolishing) WhatsApp history” about a premodern king, to Jenkins’ critique of WhatsApp-based techniques of violent mobilization, these papers shed light on paranoia as a historically recurring feature of narratives about varied Muslim groups. Discussant Dennis McGilvray, author of several articles on the anti-Muslim problem in Sri Lanka, and concerned with these issues throughout South Asia, will bring an anthropologist’s eye to our historical and political science research.


Presenter 1
Audrey Truschke - audrey.truschke@gmail.com (Rutgers University-Newark)
“Aurangzeb Raj” and More: Defining India’s Muslim rulers in the Past and the Present

Presenter 2
Chandra Mallampalli - mallampa@westmont.edu (Westmont College)
Being “Wahhabi” in South India, 1839-42: Defying the Colonial Patronage Order

Presenter 3
Mujeeb Ahmad - mahmadphdbarelwi@yahoo.com (International Islamic University, Islamabad)
Calling Prophet for Votes: Genesis of the Tehrik-i-Labbaik Ya Rasulullah

Presenter 4
Laura Dudley Jenkins - laura.jenkins@uc.edu (University of Cincinnati)
WhatsApp?! Online Paranoia and Violence in India and Sri Lanka


Ancient Wisdom or Primitive Treatment? Exploring the Perceptions Towards Alternative Medical Systems in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: University A/B
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Sree Padma Holt - spadma@bowdoin.edu (Bowdoin College)

Panel Organizer(s)
Sree Padma Holt - spadma@bowdoin.edu (Bowdoin College)

In the world of fast paced innovations where societies compete globally with each other to be at the forefront, maintaining age old traditions is complicated. One such tradition in south Asia involves generations of physicians practicing indigenous medicine, otherwise known as Traditional Medicine (TM). Westernization and globalization are not congruent with those who pursue the family trade of treating patients. Individual nations trying to meet international standards are less sympathetic to these indigenous practitioners. For example, the mere invocation of TM itself brings about two dominant but opposing narratives: one that holds that TM is unscientific in nature and thereby primitive while the other narrative regards TM as suffused with ancient wisdom with the capability of providing an effective alternative to bio medicine (especially in treating chronic illnesses without the risk of side effects to one's body and mind). In between lay an array of narratives and claims involving various groups. This panel is set to explore these points of view from the perspective of practitioners. The aim is to assess any changes to the modus operandi of TM practitioners as coping mechanisms and how this influence the TM itself.


Presenter 1
Sree Padma Holt - spadma@bowdoin.edu (Bowdoin College)
Coping Changes and Keeping Identities: Traditional Medicine Practitioners Treating Snake Bites

Presenter 2
Arima MISHRA - arima.mishra@apu.edu.in (Azim Premji University)
“We are Paramparika Vaidyas”: Engaging with the Discourses on Revitalization of Local Health Traditions in India

Presenter 3
Anjali Kanojia - aknojia@central.us.edu ()
Yoga as Soft Power in Defining Health Policy


The Less than Sharif Women of Hindi and Urdu Reformist Literature
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: University C/D
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Karen Leonard - kbleonar@uci.edu (University of California at Irvine)

Panel Organizer(s)
Darakhshan Khan - dkhan@sas.upenn.edu (International Institute of Islamic Thought)

The role of printed texts in the success of social reform movements is well-documented. The genre that best captures the project of reform is the novel. Often composed by men, the didactic novel was an important tool for instructing and educating respectable women. Male reformers used the literary space of the novel to imagine the ideal woman. From the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, countless Urdu and Hindi novels brought to life protagonists who were pious, wise, and chaste women from respectable families. The three papers in this panel complicate the profile of the sharif woman by drawing attention to heroines who subverted the script of reform by reinterpreting and de-centering the social world of the didactic novel. Dubrow traces the contours of the new sharif (respectable) woman in the late-nineteenth century novel, Fasana-e Azad (1878–1883), to argue that its protagonist Husn Ara cultivated a mode of respectability that was poised to subvert the very reformist discourse that upheld her as the ideal woman. Khan’s paper argues that Rashid ul Khairi’s lesser-known novel Bint ul Waqt (1918), in which a Westernized sharif woman is caricatured as a patient of hysteria, betrays the reformist anxiety about the dangers of educating and empowering elite women. Sreenivasan examines the Hindi novel, Goli (1950), a rare text whose protagonist is Champa, a female slave in an elite Rajput household. Champa’s discussion of Rajput debauchery has received attention from scholars, but Sreenivasan turns the lens on the novelist to argue that Champa’s critique of the Rajput household reveals the influence of Arya Samaj on Acharya Chatursen’s presuppositions about normative class and gender relations. By turning the spotlight on to resistant heroines, this panel will demonstrate the fragile underpinnings of a reformist discourse that was always susceptible to contestations.


Presenter 1
Jennifer Dubrow - jdubrow@uw.edu ()
Thinking for Herself: The Urdu Novel and the New Sharif Woman

Presenter 2
Darakhshan Khan - darakhshan@gmail.com (University of Pennsylvania)
Beyond the Pale of Respectability: The Hysteria of the Mis-educated Woman

Presenter 3
Ramya Sreenivasan - ramyas@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
Caste, Class, and Conjugality in the New Nation: Acharya Chatursen’s Goli


Textual Cultures of South Asia: Reading and Transmission in Vernacular Languages
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Parlour Room 627
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Gautham Reddy - gmreddy@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)

Panel Organizer(s)
Akshara Ravishankar - aksharars@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)

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Presenter 1
DAVID BUCK - david.buck@kctcs.edu (Elizabethtown Community and Technical College)
The Pearl Canopy: Introducing Panti-k-Kovai in Translation

Presenter 2
Akshara Ravishankar - aksharars@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
Transmission, Translation and Commentary in an 18th Century Bhagavad Gītā Ṭīkā

Presenter 3
Gautham Reddy - gmreddy@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
Sanskrit Poets, Telugu Publishers, & Tamil Printers: Multilingual Publishing in Colonial Madras

Presenter 4
Du Fei - feidu@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
Cataloguing the History of Hindi: Seeing Hindi Manuscript Culture Through Nāgarīpracāriṇī Sabhā's Catalogues

Presenter 5
mrinalini watson - mwatson4@wisc.edu (Mills College)
Translating the duality in Vijaydan Detha's narratives


Shifting Roles in Folk Art: Gender, Sexuality, Ethics, and Livelihood in Bihar’s Mithila/Madhubani Art
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Parlour Room 629
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Frank J. Korom - korom@bu.edu

Panel Organizer(s)
Katie Lazarowicz - k.lazarowicz@utexas.edu (The University of Texas at Austin)

Art often reflects a society’s underlying structures. Ideas about gender, sexuality, ethics, and economics are some of the cornerstones of those structures. Through the narrow lens of an individual art form, Mithila art, this panel demonstrates what folk art can reveal about many such inter-related contemporary issues. Mithila art, also known as Madhubani painting, was once made exclusively by women in rural Bihar (and Nepal) to impermanently adorn the interior mud walls of domestic spaces for rituals and religious rites of passage. In the late 1960s, in response to an economic crisis in the region, the Indian central government supported an initiative to help women in the region make these paintings on paper. This transformed the art form itself and offered new opportunities for the artists who make it, guiding Mithila art into the commercial marketplace. Today, the art form and the industry are thriving. This diverse set of papers reveals a range of ideas that serve to expand our understanding of what folk art can tell us and what is at stake for the artists and those who collect and promote it. In their piece, Professor Susan S. Wadley and artist Shalinee Jha give an account of Mithila art as a medium for self-expression providing opportunity for social commentary. In a related way, Professor Coralynn V. Davis presents a project grounded in Mithila’s oral tales, with communal reflections about gender roles in expressive arts. PhD student Katie Lazarowicz’s paper explores folk art as livelihood, exposing barriers to economic progress in Madhubani. Finally, John H. Bowles, a curator working with indigenous arts for thirty years, invites us to consider the ethical and aesthetic dilemmas for curators and collectors who investing in folk arts, using his current role in an exhibition of Mithila art as an example.


Presenter 1
Susan Wadley - sswadley@maxwell.syr.edu ()
Aesthetics of Marriage

Presenter 2
Coralynn V. Davis - cvdavis@bucknell.edu (Bucknell University)
Collaborative Storytelling in Mithila: Oral Tales, Painting, Dramatization and Film as Critical Praxis

Presenter 3
John Bowles - johnhbowles@gmail.com ()
Collecting and Curating

Presenter 4
Katie Lazarowicz - k.lazarowicz@utexas.edu (The University of Texas at Austin)
A Tale of Two Paintings: Making a Living in Madhubani


Sacred Spaces, Rituals and Objects of Worship of the Buddhist Newars in Nepal
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Parlour Room 634
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Gudrun Buhnemann - gbuhnema@wisc.edu (The University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Panel Organizer(s)
Gudrun Buhnemann - gbuhnema@wisc.edu (The University of Wisconsin-Madison)

The papers in this panel present recent research on sacred spaces, complex religious rituals and diverse objects of worship of the Buddhist Newars in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. Presenters approach the topic from different disciplinary angles and examine textual, ethnographical and art historical sources to shed light on worship practices which have so far received very little scholarly attention. The first panelist examines the transmission and development of the cult of the goddess Vajrayoginī in the Kathmandu Valley and the Himalayan foothills. The paper analyzes narrative literature and local historiography transmitted by Newar Budhist Tantric priests in the town of Sankhu. The insights emerging from this study lead to a new understanding of the origin and transformation of local forms of the goddess and her relationship to other Buddhist goddesses. The second panelist focuses on different representations of the feet of the Bodhisattva Manjuśrī and their significance as objects of worship. The paper examines the sculpted feet (and occasionally foot imprints and sandals) in their architectural setting in the Kathmandu Valley and addresses the question of their antiquity. The third paper explores the worship of sacred books (pustakapūjā) among the Buddhist Newars. In the center of this ritual are usually the Sūtras of Mahāyāna Buddhism, which are considered embodiments of transcendent Buddhas or other divine figures. The paper also investigates the occasions for and the motivations underlying this complex religious ritual. The fourth presenter investigates how an open space in a traditional Newar Buddhist monastery (bahā) can be ritually transformed for religious purposes. The paper presents a case study of the courtyard of Nāg Bahā in the city of Patan and demonstrates how annual ritual events transform its space and enable all members of the community to experience Buddhist ritual and thereby reaffirm their Newar Buddhist identity.


Presenter 1
amber moore - ambermarie.moore@mail.utoronto.ca (university of toronto)
Shapeshifting Mother: The Transmission and Transmogrification of Vajrayoginī along the Sankhu Corridor, Nepal

Presenter 2
Gudrun Buhnemann - gbuhnema@wisc.edu (The University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Manjuśrī’s Feet in the Kathmandu Valley

Presenter 3
Alexander O'Neill - alexander.oneill@mail.utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Newar Buddhist Book Worship

Presenter 4
Kerry Lucinda Brown - kerrylucinda@gmail.com (Savannah College of Art and Design)
Nag Baha: The Ritual Transformations of a Nepalese Courtyard


Cultural Choreography of Kashmir
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Parlour Room 638
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Ayesha Habib - arien89@yahoo.com (Quaid.e.Azam University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Ayesha Habib - arien89@yahoo.com (Quaid.e.Azam University)

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Presenter 1
Ayesha Habib - arien89@yahoo.com (Quaid.e.Azam University)
Ethnic Politics Among Students (Case Study of University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir

Presenter 2
Arif Nairang - naira001@umn.edu (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
Playing in the 'Uncertain'; Human and More than Human Entanglements of Political Violence in Kashmir


Laboring in Distinct Times: of Patrons, Ports, and Middle Managers
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Madison College D240 - 1
Floor: Madison College

Discussant/Chair

Lindsay Vogt - vogt@umail.ucsb.edu (University of California Santa Barbara)

Panel Organizer(s)
Lindsay Vogt - vogt@umail.ucsb.edu (University of California Santa Barbara)

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Presenter 1
Lindsay Vogt - vogt@umail.ucsb.edu (University of California Santa Barbara)
Liberalization’s Patrons? Wealth, Mythic Capital, and Philanthropy within India’s Tech Sector

Presenter 2
Devika Narayan - naray116@umn.edu (University of Minnesota )
The Rise & Fall of the Middle Manager: An analysis of industrial crisis in India's technology sector


Caste By Any Other Frame: Debating and Questioning Conventional Understandings of Caste, Minorities, and Movements
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 2: Friday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Madison College D240 - 2
Floor: Madison College

Discussant/Chair

Sonja Thomas - smthomas@colby.edu (Colby College)

Panel Organizer(s)
Sonja Thomas - smthomas@colby.edu (Colby College)

In recent years, there have been new studies on caste; from scholarship examining the intersections of gender and caste, to increased international attention to caste as descent-based discrimination. However, in much of this work, the Hindu-ness of caste is assumed, implied and/or taken-for-granted. Further, caste is often limited geographically to South Asia (India). Papers on this panel complicate the idea that Hindu as the source of caste encompasses the nature of casteism and the question the geopolitical bounded-ness of caste. We seek to not merely to include the experiences of caste in Christianity, caste in Islam, or caste in the diaspora. Rather, papers on this panel explore the “dynamic relationship between the production of ‘caste’ and the production of ‘religion’ (as Hindu)” (Ritty Lukose, Liberalization’s Children, 170), in an effort to fully think through solidarity movements and activism. Each of the panelists draw from ethnographic, historical, and sociological research to both critique dominant modes of understanding caste and to reveal the multiple processes of how caste actually functions. Papers on this panel ask: How may (Hindu) anti-caste activisms unintentionally engender casteism within Christianity? Where do non-ambedkarite Hinduized Dalits and their relationship to Muslims who obscure their caste fit in savarna structures of domination and casteist influence among Ashrafi Muslims? How do we reckon with a deliberately erased history of Pasmanda Muslims by the state and especially by institutions of higher education? How does the silent and invisible workings of caste interact intersectionality with race and class to create racialized religion and hierarchical ordering? By questioning and debating conventional understandings of caste, this panel begins to think through the ways in which interreligious solidarity, anti-caste activism across castes and religions, and new social movements are actualized in global South Asia.


Presenter 1
Sonja Thomas - smthomas@colby.edu (Colby College)
Complicating the Hindu-ness of Caste and Otherness of Minority Religions: Mixed Marriages and the Breast Cloth Movement

Presenter 2
Sanober Umar - s.umar@queensu.ca ()
“Allah Made Us Equals, Even Before the State”- Caste Consciousness, Religiosity and the Politics of ‘Recognition’ among Pasmanda Muslims in Lucknow

Presenter 3
Gaurav Pathania - jogijnu@gmail.com (University of Massachusetts)
“Demonizing” Religion, Countering Tradition: Exploring Dalit-OBC Student Activism in Indian University Campuses

Presenter 4
Himanee Gupta-Carlson - himanee.gupta-carlson@esc.edu ()
Exploring the Visible Invisibility of Caste in South Asian American Lives


Art and Archaeology of Ancient Gandhara: New Directions and Interpretations
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Assembly Room
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Jonathan Mark Kenoyer - jkenoyer@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Panel Organizer(s)
Jonathan Mark Kenoyer - jkenoyer@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

The study of art and archaeology of ancient Gandhara continues to reveal important new insights into a period when northwestern South Asia became a major crossroads for a vast network of cultural and ideological traditions. The indigenous foundations of Gandharan art and architecture have their roots in earlier Chalcolithic cultures, including the Indus urban civilization. However, during the Mauryan and later Kushana Periods (300 BCE to 400 CE) the northern Indus valley and adjacent regions became the center of economic and political interactions that linked the Indian subcontinent with Central Asia, East Asia and Iran and regions further to the west. The papers in this session provide new insights into the many different perspectives that contemporary archaeologists and art historians are taking to better understand this time period. The first paper in the session begins with an overview of the important socio-religious changes that were going on in terms of the spread of Buddhism and the emergence of different schools of Buddhist thought. The second paper focuses on the aspects of gender roles depicted in sculptural reliefs and the hierarchy of elite communities in contrast to common folk seen in Gandharan art. The comparison of ancient patterns of social organization and daily life activities can be correlated to many patterns of ethnohistorical communities in these same regions. The third paper looks at the types of architecture used to construct domestic as well as religious structures. The analysis of indigenous traditions that are closely tied to the environment, both in terms of raw materials and seismic activity provides a unique new perspective to these studies. The final paper examines the role of decorative art and symbolism to investigate alternative ways to interpret Gandharan narrative art.


Presenter 1
Qamar un Nisa - qammarunnisa@gmail.com (National University of Modern Languages)
The Role and Status of Women in an Early Buddhist Context as Represented in Gandhāran Art

Presenter 2
Ghaniur Rahman - ghaniurrahman@hotmail.com (Quaid-i-Azam University)
Socio-Religious Background and Iconographic Symbolism in the Life of Buddha Siddhartha as Narrated in Buddhist Texts and Gandhara Art

Presenter 3
Shakir Ullah - shakirkhan04@yahoo.com (Hazara University)
Traditional Architecture in Northern Areas of Pakistan: Analysis of Indigenous and External Influences

Presenter 4
Jennifer Bates - jennifer_bates@brown.edu (Brown University)
Identity in the Indus Borders Project: Diet, Agriculture and Social Interactions with the Indus Civilisation, South Asia (c.3200-1500BC)


The Legacy of Edward Said’s “Orientalism”
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Caucus Room
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Jeffrey Brackett - jmbrackett@bsu.edu (Ball State University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Jeffrey Brackett - jmbrackett@bsu.edu (Ball State University)

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Edward Said’s "Orientalism," this panel seeks to engage elements of the legacy of Said’s work and its continued influence on how India, Indians, and India’s religious traditions are imagined today. The panelists’ individual contributions put into conversation regions, histories, and academic disciplines that assess the reach of Said’s work in creative ways. The first paper draws on “spiritual-but-not-religious” (SBNR) scholarship by religion scholars to analyze how Art Professionals (i.e. professors, critics, curators, and artists) uncritically deploy the terms “spiritual art” to describe western art and artists allegedly influenced by Indian “spiritual teachings.” One result of these discursive practices is the continued othering of Indian religious traditions as mystical and esoteric, having originated in the “mystic East.” In the second paper, we shift our attention to limits of the applicability of Said’s work for critiquing British Indian Orientalism and Islamophobia, noting crucial differences between the focus of Said’s study (Middle East and North Africa) and British India. Our third paper asks us to reconsider classificatory schemes of Caribbean religion, showing how received categories of religion replicate East-West dichotomies, thereby excluding from discussions of Caribbean religion Hinduism as practiced among Indo-Trinidadian Hindus today. Rounding out our discussion, the fourth paper examines contemporary American yoga, and asks how much the stereotype of the mystic East still applies to the conceptualizing and defining of American yoga. The theme unifying the panelists’ papers is an engagement with Said’s work as it has influenced classification typologies. With each paper, new questions and critiques emerge that add to the broader conversation about "Orientalism" and its legacy.


Presenter 1
Jeffrey Brackett - jmbrackett@bsu.edu (Ball State University)
Naming and Framing: Spiritual-But-Not-Religious Art and the ‘Mystic East’

Presenter 2
Peter Gottschalk - pgottschalk@wesleyan.edu (Wesleyan University)
From Orientalism to Islamophobia: The Limits of Said’s Analysis for British India

Presenter 3
Prea Persaud - ppersaud@ufl.edu (University of North Carolina, Charlotte )
New Orientations: Rethinking Religion and the Study of Hinduism in the Caribbean

Presenter 4
Christa Schwind - christaschwind@gmail.com ()
American Yoga and the ‘Mystic East’


Rolling Stones: Histories of Mobility in the Epigraphic Record of Medieval South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Senate Room A
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Philip Friedrich - philipfr@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)

Panel Organizer(s)
Philip Friedrich - philipfr@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)

Historians of medieval South Asia have taken inspiration from their early modern counterparts in recent years, turning their attention away from the dynasty as the primary unit of analysis towards more complex networks of trans-regional connectivity. By following the circulations of material goods, people, and ideas, these historians have challenged received religious, regional, and chronological boundaries to great effect. Yet, sustained consideration has not been given to the implications and potential limits of transposing the constitutive features of early modernity—connectivity, mobility, and a general aura of social dynamism—into earlier historical settings. This panel proposes to wrest these historiographic tropes from their early modern moorings to investigate the social mechanisms and understandings of connectivity and mobility characteristic of earlier ‘medieval’ South Asian contexts. It does so by working out from the most quintessential of medieval textual sources: inscriptions. Panelists will engage interrelated epigraphic corpora from across south India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia in order to highlight convergences and interactions in royal, courtly, and mercantile social spheres and their discourses, as well as the precise social agencies that empowered and constrained the transmission (and transformation) of such discourses. In doing so, the panel hopes to begin to clarify what may distinguish 'medieval' from 'early modern' material and discursive networks.


Presenter 1
Daud Ali - daudali@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
Mobility, Immobility, and Immiseration in Medieval and Early Modern South India

Presenter 2
Anne M Blackburn - amb242@cornell.edu ()
Leveraging Potency: Buddhist Mobility in 14th-century Southern Asia

Presenter 3
Sebastian Prange - s.prange@ubc.ca (University of British Columbia)
Between Land and Sea: A Thirteenth-Century Bilingual Stone Inscription at Kozhikode, Kerala

Presenter 4
Philip Friedrich - philipfr@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
Temporalities of Mobility: Reassessing the ‘Period of Kalinga Kings’ in Medieval Sri Lanka


Capitalism in the Himalayas
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Senate Room B
Floor: Floor 1

Andrew Nelson - andrew.nelson@unt.edu (University of North Texas)
Dan Hirslund - hirslund@hum.ku.dk (University of Copenhagen)

Historically, capitalism has tended to be an under-studied topic in Himalayan studies. While village and religious studies have for long dominated field-based research, the past two decades has seen the emergence of studies related to state-building and wider socio-political conflicts, reflecting the changing geopolitical role of the Himalayas for regional and global powers. The liberation policies of the 1990s coupled with a shift in international development policies towards large-scale infrastructure and joint partnership operations across public and private spheres have changed the orientation and role of states in leveraging funds and propping up efficient bureaucracies. Despite pockets of protected industries remaining, national economic niches across the Himalayan region are increasingly marketed, financed or run by transnational financial conglomerates in fields as wide as energy, agriculture, transportation and service sectors. In crucial ways, then, capitalism is penetrating deeper into Himalayan societies, and it is an opportune moment for research to take stock of how to engage theoretically with the broad and often inchoate economic force of capitalism. For this roundtable, we invite an inter-disciplinary collection of scholars to start a conversation about how increased focus on capitalism might enrich our understanding of the region and connect its study to larger debates in the social sciences. Topics will include (but not be limited by) the following list of general questions: - What accounts for the historical neglect of capitalism in Himalayan studies? - How is post-quake disaster capitalism reshaping Nepal? (and/or other disaster-struck locations?) - How is the emerging political economy of infrastructure development reshaping the region? - How have global neoliberal policies shaped capitalist penetration of Himalayan societies? - In what ways are states recalibrating to accommodate changing economic realities? - How have Himalayan societies sought to adapt to being pulled into world markets?


Presenter 1
Mark Liechty - liechty@uic.edu (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Presenter 2
Dinesh Paudel - paudeld@appstate.edu
Presenter 3
Heather Hindman - h.hindman@mail.utexas.edu (University of Texas-Austin)
Presenter 4
Andrew Haxby - druhaxby@umich.edu (University of Michigan)

People and Environment in the Greater Himalaya
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 1
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Teri Allendorf - allendorf@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Panel Organizer(s)
Teri Allendorf - allendorf@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

This set of panels will focus on human-environment relationships in Nepal and India. It cuts across scales with national level consideration of policies and processes balanced with specific examples of the impacts on communities. The first paper compares two environmental crisis narratives, the 1970’s Theory of Himalayan Environmental Degradation and the modern narrative of Climate Change, using Nepal as an example but with implications relevant across the Himalaya. The second paper considers people’s perceptions of climate change in a wildlife sanctuary in northwest India and the institutions that can help them adapt to the changes. The third paper considers Nepal’s innovative policy concerning local communities and protected areas and how the policy is adapted and implemented within specific protected areas. The fourth paper gives a historical perspective on hill stations in India and how health and environment were connected at the time.


Presenter 1
John Metz - metz@nku.edu (Northern Kentucky University)
Himalayan Environmental Crises: THED vs Climate Change - how similar are they?

Presenter 2
Monica Ogra - mogra@gettysburg.edu (Gettysburg College)
Local perceptions of environmental change in the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS) Landscape, Uttarakhand, India

Presenter 3
Teri Allendorf - allendorf@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Balancing conservation and development in Nepal’s protected area buffer zones

Presenter 4
QUEENY PRADHAN - queeny.singh@gmail.com (GGS INDRAPRASTHA UNIVERSITY, DWARKA, NEW DELHI)
Mountain Air, Health and the Indian Hills in Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries


Return to the Region of Rumor in the Time of Digital Mediation
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 2
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Veena Das - veenadas@jhu.edu (John Hopkins University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Francis Cody - francis.cody@utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)

In an influential study of the communicability of language in the social production of hate, Veena Das examines what she terms “the region of rumor.”  This domain of language proliferated as a correlate and counterpoint to the official public sphere of state-controlled media, often leading to deadly consequences.  We now live a radically altered world: if economic liberalization has allowed for rapid increase in officially recognized media producers, the rise of globally networked digital media has given otherwise ordinary utterances and images the power to spread and influence political events on a scale previously inconceivable.  Rumor appears as important as ever, but its manner of circulation and the ease with which it penetrates more mainstream media have changed.  From WhatsApp-enabled caste violence in Tamil Nadu; to state recognition of farmer’s suicides in Vidarbha; to a Chief Justice’s fidelity to the nation in Bangladesh; and onto ‘braidchoppers’ and hartals in Kashmir; this panel explores the perlocutionary force of digitally mediated rumor in a bid to better understand resonances and turbulences that have emerged between networked media and older modalities of circulation. 


Presenter 1
Francis Cody - francis.cody@utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Rumor, Media Involution, and Caste Violence in Tamil Nadu

Presenter 2
Aarti Sethi - aarti.sethi@gmail.com (Brown University)
Politically Active and Socially Barren: The Farmer’s Suicide in Rural Vidarbha

Presenter 3
Nusrat Chowdhury - nchowdhury@amherst.edu (Amherst College)
The Curious Case of the Chief Justice: Rumor and Political Power in Bangladesh

Presenter 4
Nishita Trisal - ntrisal@gmail.com (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
Strike Breakers, Braid Choppers, and the “Battle of Minds” in Kashmir


Kashmir Pre-47
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 3
Floor: Floor 2

Dean Accardi - daccardi@conncoll.edu (Connecticut College)
Dean Accardi - daccardi@conncoll.edu (Connecticut College)

In the current conflict over Kashmir, both Kashmiris and others call upon Kashmir's past to make claims over the present. Furthermore, scholars from a variety of disciplines have extolled the unique contributions Kashmir has made to a plethora of fields in previous eras. However, collaborative scholarly work on Kashmir has primarily focused on social scientific engagement with the contemporary situation, such as the robust work of the Critical Kashmir Studies group. What possibilities might lie in a sustained collective scholarly collaboration on Kashmir before 1947, especially one that draws together experts on different historical periods from a breadth of disciplinary backgrounds to address a particular topic, theme, or issue? Can scholars of Kashmir engage in their work across temporal, religious, and disciplinary divides to think Kashmir in more complex and collectively-engaged ways? This round table panel will discuss the possibility of such a project and how it might be approached. In the hope of initiating collaborative conversations on Kashmir across the disciplines, this round table will discuss the possibility of creating a sustained collective scholarly project on Kashmir before 1947 with the intention of laying the groundwork for future possible conference panels, symposia, multi-day workshops, and other collaborative work. This panel will address questions like: Is such a sustained collaborative project even possible? How could it be pursued? What unique theoretical and methodological difficulties might arise for such a project- especially if the intent is to draw together experts from a breadth of disciplines on different historical periods and populations? Which specific topics, themes, or issues should be addressed? Are some of higher priority than others? What kind of venues might work best? Who is our intended audience?


Presenter 1
Dean Accardi - daccardi@conncoll.edu (Connecticut College)
Presenter 2
Prashant Keshavmurthy - prashant.keshavmurthy@mcgill.ca (McGill University)
Presenter 3
Luther Obrock - luther.obrock@utoronto.ca
Presenter 4
Hamsa Stainton - stainton@ku.edu (University of Kansas)

Trends in Indian Philanthropy
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 4
Floor: Floor 2

Nandini Deo - ndd208@lehigh.edu (Lehigh University)
Nandini Deo - ndd208@lehigh.edu (Lehigh University)

Philanthropy in India is in a period of rapid change that is remaking the country’s non-profit sector. Not long ago, organized charitable giving was largely the preserve of a handful of industrialists and foreign aid agencies. Today, incomes at the upper end of the income spectrum have ballooned, creating a new class of donors; one foundation estimates that India has added 100 million new givers between 2009 and 2017. Companies, too, have emerged as major sources of charitable funds. Article 135 of India’s 2013 Companies Act has turned companies into developmental actors and aid donors in the name of mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR). Meanwhile, foreign assistance is under increasingly strict scrutiny and is declining in importance as a source of funding for Indian NGOs and civil society. These changes raise a number of theoretical, empirical, and policy puzzles. How are India’s new philanthropists different from those who came before? Why mandate corporate philanthropy rather than tax companies? What are the implications for civil society and the non-profit sector of the rapid increase in corporate giving and the decline in foreign assistance? This interdisciplinary panel will 1) identify trends in Indian philanthropy based on our fieldwork, 2) theorize these trends and what they reveal about the dynamics between state, markets, and civil society, and 3) indicate further questions that require exploration.


Presenter 1
Sunila Kale - kale@uw.edu (University of Washington)
Presenter 2
Samuel Frantz - sfrantz@gwu.edu (George Washington University)
Presenter 3
Emily Clough - emily.clough@gmail.com (Stanford University)
Presenter 4
Mircea Raianu - mcraianu@gmail.com (University of Maryland )

Crafting Citizens Before and Beyond the Nation: Politics of Citizenship in Late Colonial India 1880-1940
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 5
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

HARALD FISCHER-TINE - harald.fischertine@gess.ethz.ch (ETH ZURICH)

Panel Organizer(s)
Elena Valdameri - elena.valdameri@gmw.gess.ethz.ch (ETH Zurich)

As known, empires produce subjects, not citizens. Nevertheless, colonial settings offered spaces and vehicles that subjects and other agents could exploit to elaborate theories, discourses and projects of citizenship. Thus, the aim of this panel is to shed light on the spaces and vehicles that non-state actors utilized in colonial India between the late nineteenth century and the 1940s to create projects of citizens-making and mobilize new bodies of citizenries. These pre-histories of citizenship – generally overlooked due to the prevailing fascination of scholars with the colonized/colonizer dichotomization as well as the usual focus on the nationalist grand narrative and on the post-colonial state – were the result of the circulation, appropriation, circumvention and subversion of endogenous and exogenous ideas, norms and epistemes. In particular, the papers in this panel will look at: - The medical effort in creating a gendered version of citizenship in the making in late nineteenth-century Bengal - The political conceptualization of citizenship of Gopal Krishna Gokhale, the main representative of the anticolonial moderate leadership, and the effort to create public-spirited citizens - Imperial citizenship and the reception, appropriation, and circulation of this concept at the grassroots level - The activities of the American and Canadian missionaries working for the Indian YMCA aimed at turning boys into virtuous ‘citizens’ beyond the colonial or the anticolonial versions of promoted citizenship Although these different projects of citizenship catered to different groups and had different objectives, they all considered citizenship as a virtue idea that implied participation, obedience, inclusion/exclusion and therefore created new divides and hierarchies, or confirmed existing ones. Focusing on specific moments or contexts, these efforts by non-state actors are partes pro toto that enrich the present scholarship on the history of citizenship in South Asia by exhibiting the irreducible complexity of its visions, practices and representations.


Presenter 1
Swapna Banerjee - banerjee@brooklyn.cuny.edu ()
“Imagining Children: Early Conceptualization of Citizenship in Bengali Science Magazines of the Late-Nineteenth Century”

Presenter 2
Elena Valdameri - elena.valdameri@gmw.gess.ethz.ch (ETH Zurich)
“Gopal Krishna Gokhale and the Making of Public-Spirited Citizens Through Political and Civics Education”

Presenter 3
Mark Frost - mrfrost@essex.ac.uk ()
“Imperial Citizenship, or Else: The Evolution of Global South Asian Radicalism, 1900-1920”

Presenter 4
HARALD FISCHER-TINE - harald.fischertine@gess.ethz.ch (ETH ZURICH)
“‘Why bother with Boys?’ — The Indian YMCA’s Boys’ Department and Its Practices of Citizenship Training (1919-1947)”


Regional Formations in Indian Cinema
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Anirban Baishya - baishya@usc.edu (University of Southern California)

Panel Organizer(s)
Anirban Baishya - baishya@usc.edu (University of Southern California)

While the term “Indian cinema” is often equated with Bollywood, India is home to numerous regional film cultures. Given India’s linguistic organization of states, speaking about Indian regional cinema often means talking about cinematic cultures that are both based in particular states, as well as cinemas that deploy different local languages and cultural traditions. This panel emerges out of the need to account for regional formations as constitutive of the cinematic culture of the country. Swarnavel Pillai’s paper examines the complex, frictional relationships between Dravidian subnationalism and Nehruvian socialism in 1950s Tamil cinema. He locates this ambiguous relationship through a reading of two films, Thirumbbippaar and Irumbuthirai, both starring Sivaji Ganesan. Similarly, Anirban Baishya’s paper takes us back to the period of Assamese subnationalism of the 1980s and interrogates how the filmmakers of the Assamese “New Wave” negotiated social critique and the virulent enthusiasm of the Assam Agitation. In this, Baishya’s paper examines the films as a form of counter-history that can fill-in absences in historical archives. Ganga Rudriah’s paper locates the how the “folk” form of “Kuthu” song-and-dance sequences are commercially incorporated into Tamil film music and examines how diverse musical and performative traditions are subsumed within a reified “Tamil” identity that is produced by the mediation of the film industry. Darshana Mini’s paper looks at the posthumous stardom of the actress Miss Kumari who was popular during the studio era of the 1950s. She interrogates how the complex history of this era combines with Kumari’s appeal to generate her epithet as the “First Female Star” of Malayalam cinema. Collectively, the papers complicate the monolithic category of “national cinema” and suggest that we need to be speaking of Indian cinemas (in the plural) to be able to better account for the polyphony of cinematic cultures within the country.


Presenter 1
Swarnavel Eswaran Pillai - mswarnavel@gmail.com (Michigan State University)
“Tamil Cinema, Nation, and the Subnation: Thirumbippaar (Look Back, 1953) and Irumbuthirai (Iron Curtain, 1960)”

Presenter 2
Anirban Baishya - baishya@usc.edu (University of Southern California)
Gender, Subnationalism and Political Struggle in the Films of the Assamese New Wave: Cinema as Counter-History

Presenter 3
Ganga Rudraiah - ganga.rudraiah@mail.utoronto.ca ()
Pure/Impure: On the Aesthetics of ‘Kuthu’ in Tamil Cinema


Caste Matters: Geographies of Gender (I)
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Capitol Ballroom B
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Indrani Chatterjee - ichatterjee@austin.utexas.edu (University of Texas at Austin)

Panel Organizer(s)
Anjali Arondekar - aarondek@ucsc.edu (UCSC)

For Dalit/bahujan studies, engagements with histories of gender/sexuality, language and slavery have robustly shifted the angles through which the field might begin to imagine collusions, collaborations and conversations within regions of South Asia and beyond. Historians, in particular, have contributed to our understanding of the forces at work in the making of ‘caste’ between the fifteenth and the twentieth centuries. However, such scholarship has minoritized relations of gender and language in the making of such geographies. Our two proposed panels reverse the trend by foregrounding the question: what would regional histories of ‘caste’ look like if interrogated as formulations of gender and language? Eschewing the conventional segregation and/or minoritization of regions as spatialities that provide local historical variation, the panels seek to simultaneously interrogate regional asymmetries of the past of caste, as well as highlight the centrality of gender and language in the making and conceiving of ‘caste’ itself. Staging concrete articulations of these key terms – gender, region, caste – also allows us to ask how we might differently understand global processes of social reproduction, and their relations to processes of historical transmission, narrative, and change. How might an interrogation of gender, language and region shift our understanding of the life-forms, modalities, and vernaculars of caste? And how might these different understandings of caste shape our thinking about the South Asian and global present?


Presenter 1
Divya Cherian - dcherian@princeton.edu (Princeton University)
Casting the Untouchable Body: Evidence from the Pre-Modern Past

Presenter 2
Anjali Arondekar - aarondek@ucsc.edu (UCSC)
Caste Aside: Sexuality and Bahujan Historiography

Presenter 3
Sharika Thiranagama - sharikat@stanford.edu (Stanford University)
Inheriting Enslavement: Caste, Work and Gender in Kerala


Politics, Identity and the Making of Muslim Publics in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Wisconsin Ballroom
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

David Gilmartin - david_gilmartin@ncsu.edu (North Carolina State University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Rohit Singh - rohitsingh5@gmail.com (Middle Tennessee State University)

This panel brings together papers on the historical constitution and mobilization of Muslim publics in different regions of the Indian subcontinent. Moving away from familiar signs like ‘separatism’ or ‘syncretism’, we focus on the varied events and idioms that seek to bring Muslims together, or take them apart, at specific historical junctures in certain places. Each paper looks at various moments in modern India in places as varied as Ladakh, Lucknow, Hyderabad, and Bengal. We pay particular attention to the rhetorical strategies, protests, and performances that not only make up a significant part of the practice of identity-formation, but also allow us to analyze it as a process. How is memory made through public events? What role does it play in imagining a social life in the present and through to an unpredictable future? What events and people are commemorated and why? At what points and to what ends are certain aspects of shared or distinct pasts emphasized and others devalued? How do each of these ‘local’ histories relate to the history of a nation, or even nationalist myth-making? And how does all this fit with the modality of electoral processes? These are some of the questions raised by the papers in this panel as we seek ways of understanding Muslim identity in South Asia through particular regional practices of community formation.


Presenter 1
Rohit Singh - rohitsingh5@gmail.com (Middle Tennessee State University)
The Intersections of Public Memory and Local/Trans-local Identity Formation among Shi‘is in Leh, Ladakh

Presenter 2
Zaheer Abbas - zaheerhere@gmail.com (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Elections, Electorates, and Muslim identity formation in colonial Benga

Presenter 3
Aseem Hasnain - aseemhasnain@gmail.com (Bridgewater State University)
Context, rhetoric, and community: Being Shia in modern India

Presenter 4
Shefali Jha - shefali.jha@gmail.com ()
Making the millat: the political rhetoric of the Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen of Hyderabad


Social Movements, Justice and Politics in South Asia: Disability as a Method of Theorizing and Organizing
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: University A/B
Floor: Floor 2

Michele Friedner - michelefriedner@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
Shruti Vaidya - shrutiv@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)

This panel aims to ask what possibilities disability theory, emerging both from India and internationally, opens up for various social movements, notions of ethics and justice, and forms of politics in South Asia. Panelists interrogate whether epistemological and methodological interventions made by disability studies and disability movements both in India and internationally could be deployed to theorize other social justice struggles in the region. Additionally, how has disability- as an identity, orientation, and mode of engaging the world- intersected with other social movement spaces? Disability theory has offered new ways of theorizing care, interdependence, vulnerability, distribution, identity, and sexuality, among other topics. Are articulations of rights, justice, entitlements, claims as made through a disability perspective useful for actively thinking through other questions of social marginalization and inequalities? Could such disability studies interventions, on the level of theory and practice, be relevant and productive for other marginalized identity groups in South Asia? Additionally, themes of equal access to socio-economic, sexual, reproductive, and educational rights for disabled people have been central to the disability studies agenda. In this sense, disability movements are working towards “the same” goals as other movements such as the feminist and dalit movements. So then, could disability become a mode of analysis of other social movements in South Asia?


Presenter 1
Shruti Vaidya - shrutiv@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
Presenter 2
James Staples - james.staples@brunel.ac.uk (Brunel University London)
Presenter 3
Megh Marathe - marathem@umich.edu (University of Michigan)
Presenter 4
Priyank Chandra - prch@umich.edu (University of Michigan)

Categories of Self-Description in South Asian Literature
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: University C/D
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Archana Venkatesan - avenkatesan@ucdavis.edu (University of California, Davis)

Panel Organizer(s)
Iva Patel - iva-patel@uiowa.edu (University of Iowa)

Texts often talk about themselves. Writers and poets encode information about themselves within their works, and often use their writing projects as exercises in self-fashioning. Taking the writing process to be purposeful and dynamic allows us to assess the underlying logics of self-presentations and their potential to both complement and contest arguments within dominant canons of information. Focusing on self-descriptive moments within South Asian Sanskrit, Persian, and vernacular texts, this panel investigates the rhetorical ways in which writers articulate their individual or collective selfhood, and frame their social, religious, or economic positions by reinforcing existing affiliations or severing them to build new ones. Covering a range of religious and other cultural texts to discuss different categories of self-description, panelists explore productive tensions of identity between self-narratives and perceived or stated popular narratives. They study writers’ strategies of mitigating potential risks of their rhetoric being misinterpreted, and also address how patronage and alternate economies of exchange inform production and subsequent reception of such texts. By drawing together and juxtaposing examples ranging from the fifth century C.E. to the post-colonial era, and from Gujarat to Bengal, the panel interrogates the communicative and creative power of self-descriptive moments in South Asian literary history. It analyzes the ability of self-description, whether expressed in a religious, political, or cultural idiom, to fashion community, authority, and legitimacy through writing focused on self-identification and positionality.


Presenter 1
Christopher Diamond - cldiam@uw.edu (University of Washington)
Ādi-Bhakta to Modern Man: Bengali Literary, Religious, and Popular Transformations of Vidyāpati (17th-20th centuries CE)

Presenter 2
Iva Patel - iva-patel@uiowa.edu (University of Iowa)
Warrior, Servant, Spouse: The Rhetoric of Self-Description in Gujarati Bhakti Lyrics

Presenter 3
Sabeena Shaikh - sabeena.shaikh22@gmail.com (McGill University)
Selfhood or Seduction: Reading Urdu Poetry as ‘Autobiography’

Presenter 4
Amanda Lanzillo - amlanzil@indiana.edu (Indiana University)
Community Biography between Persian and Urdu: Local Authority in Colonial North India, 1840-1900


Beyond the Hindi-Urdu Classroom: Language Acquisition through Study Abroad, Translanguaging, Authentic Materials and Understanding Language Politics
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 627
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Sarah Beckham - sbeckham@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin)

Panel Organizer(s)
Sarah Beckham - sbeckham@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin)

This panel brings together recent developments in research on South Asian languages, language processing, pedagogy and materials development, as well as an analysis of the broader impact of the Hindi-Urdu divide in understanding the South Asian linguistic and political landscape. Course collaborators Chaudhry and Beckham discuss the ongoing work on a blended course for Elementary Hindi, the first version of which was piloted in the South Asia Summer Language Institute (SASLI) 2018 program. The co-authors present the preliminary results of the study, discussing key theoretical and practical challenges in developing and implementing blended materials for the course, as well as areas for future direction in Hindi curricular development for proficiency-based instruction. Hong discusses recent work on a Mellon-funded project developing blended materials for Intermediate-level Hindi. In this paper, Hong raises the question of “authenticity” in the development of instructional materials, presenting recent considerations for the selection of authentic materials for classroom use, best practices for instructional design in the incorporation of authentic materials, as well as some of the challenges and future directions of this project. Ranjan presents research conducted in India on the factors affecting second-language acquisition in the study abroad context. His paper examines the effect of shifting acquisition contexts, along with students’ own experience and reflection on their linguistic and cultural development, in study abroad L-2 acquisition. Bhatia discusses his recent research and findings on language processing in bilingual schizophrenic patients in the context of pedagogical applications for “translanguaging,” or language mixing, in the second-language classroom. In his paper, Samarth traces the historical and political origins of the Hindi-Urdu divide to the modern-day linguistic landscape of South Asia. This paper considers the political construct of a national language, and its relevance to L2 learners in understanding this phenomenon for achieving cultural and linguistic competence in Hindi-Urdu.


Presenter 1
Sarah Beckham - sbeckham@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin)
Divya Chaudhry - dchaudhry@rice.edu (Rice University)
Blended Teaching-Learning Materials for Hindi: A SASLI 2018 Pilot Study

Presenter 2
Sungok Hong - shong@umn.edu (International Baccalaureate Organization)
Material Development in Line With Communicative Approach: Using Authentic Materials

Presenter 3
Rajiv Ranjan - rranjan@msu.edu (University of Iowa)
Is it enough to be there? L2 Hindi-Urdu Acquisition via Study Abroad

Presenter 4
Tej Bhatia - tkbhatia@syr.edu (Syracuse University)
Towards Translanguage Practices in Normal Classroom and in Schizophrenic Interactions

Presenter 5
Brajesh Samarth - brajesh.samarth@emory.edu ()
The Politics of Hindi-Urdu


Ethics Beyond/Despite/Contra “The IRB”
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 629
Floor: Floor 6

Mythri Jegathesan - mjegathesan@scu.edu (Santa Clara University)
Jeanne Marecek - jmarece1@swarthmore.edu (Swarthmore College)

Last spring, two prominent social scientists (Richard Shweder and Richard Nisbett) argued that “95%” of social research is “benign” and should be exempted from Institutional Review Board scrutiny. In their eyes, such scrutiny was tantamount to administrators’ meddling and an incursion on academic freedom. Members of this Roundtable, too, have sometimes taken issue with IRBs. We seek, however, to stimulate dialogue that can broaden and deepen the grounds of ethical reflection. IRBs, with their heritage in biomedical research, seek to assure the individual rights of “research subjects” whose participation is narrowly circumscribed in space and time. Furthermore, IRBs often presume that US-centric ethical strictures have universal applicability and salience. Researchers working in locales outside the US and those using ethnographic methods often experience a sharp disconnect with IRBs. In this Roundtable, we take up two broad issues: 1) Ethical quandaries and moral dilemmas about which IRBs are typically silent; and 2) circumstances in which IRB strictures fly in the face of sensibilities, norms, and even moral principles of the settings in which researchers work. The members represent diverse disciplines, and all have long-time experience in Sri Lanka or India. Three are senior researchers who have chaired or sat on university IRBs. Some are engaged in long-term research and have close relationships to the individuals and groups they study. Others are embedded in settings (such as schools, hospitals, CBOs, and social service agencies) and have had to negotiate local ethics, customary practices, and ethical requirements. The session will begin with members offering brief vignettes of ethical challenges. Then we open the discussion for contributions and insights from the audience. The goal of the session is not to “solve” ethical problems, but rather to adduce possible principles and strategies for critical ethical practice.


Presenter 1
Cynthia Caron - ccaron@clark.edu
Presenter 2
Bambi Chapin - bchapin@umbc.edu (UMBC)
Presenter 3
Michele Gamburd - gamburdm@pdx.edu (Portland State University)
Presenter 4
Vidyamali Samarasinghe - svidy@american.edu (American University)
Presenter 5
Julia Kowalski - julia.kowalski@nd.edu (University of Notre Dame)

A Convergence of Opposites: The Importance of Insight into Theoretical Misfits
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 634
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Gudrun Buhnemann - gbuhnema@wisc.edu (The University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Co-Discussant /Co-Chair
seth ligo - sethligo@gmail.com (Duke University)
Panel Organizer(s)
seth ligo - sethligo@gmail.com (Duke University)

Mircea Eliade and JZ Smith wrote extensively about distinctions, notably between the sacred and profane, and between insiders and outsiders. Insightfully, they argued that these are not essential, enduring states, but rather relative, contextually defined categories. This panel seeks to move beyond such arguments for relative designation to consider the undeveloped but not incongruent presence of misfits: cases in which categorical designation is episodic, points at which categories converge, and examples of enduring liminality. The papers that make up this panel draw upon cosmological, literary, ethnographic, material, and textual studies to identify and engage examples that complicate our taxonomic models and challenge our summary expectations. Nichols’ work shows us that not only do monstrous deities exist, their presence both does explicit work and indicates implicit trends in Buddhist contexts. Restifo’s work shows that prima facie impressions of Jain attitudes and practice don’t allow us to predict the nuanced and even ambivalent interplay of pleasure and spiritual devotion presented in their narratives. Ligo’s work shows that even well-known “misfits” are often more intriguingly complex than is immediately recognized, their presence at once sustaining challenge and reorganizing conformity. Um’s work demonstrates that even in instances of formal self-designation illuminating contradictions can help us understand a corpus and the perspectives of coeval and contemporary scholars. Unsatisfied with postmodern deconstruction of theoretical work through the identification of examples which do not conform to prevalent models, these presentations are intentionally constructive. Each paper addresses limitations and lulls in current scholarship, adding nuance and detail to scholarly discourse while refining the framework in which such discourse operates. Ultimately, while bracketing apparent “misfits” as outliers has at times facilitated research and scholarship, this panel demonstrates that identifying and addressing points of unresolved irregularity is a dynamic, fruitful way to further scholarship and academic discourse.


Presenter 1
Aleksandra Restifo - sasharestifo@gmail.com (University of Oxford)
The Ambivalence of Aesthetic Pleasure in Jain Culture

Presenter 2
seth ligo - sethligo@gmail.com (Duke University)
Wrath and Righteousness: The Dynamic Tension and Categorical Ambivalence of Bhairava


How Should We Study Democratic Politics in India Today?
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 638
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Jonathan Spencer - jonathan.spencer@ed.ac.uk (University of Edinburgh)

Panel Organizer(s)
Lipika Kamra - lipikakamra@gmail.com (Jindal Global University)

Democratic politics has been studied typically vis-a-vis electoral competition between contending parties and politicians. Such competition between elites and within elites is believed to follow well-established rules of the game regardless of context. Those who argue for an exceptional character to Indian democracy have pointed to certain unique features of the polity, albeit without questioning the overarching conceptual terrain in which we study democratic politics. These certitudes are increasingly being called into question in an age of “populism,” in which the agency of ordinary men and women is placed at the heart of journalistic and scholarly analyses of democratic politics. It is also becoming apparent that liberal assumptions underlying the study of democratic politics, especially voting and elections, may no longer be tenable. This panel features three papers that respond to a central question: how should we study democratic politics in India today? We use the lenses offered by gender, caste, and religion to answer this question against the backdrop of recent anthropological scholarship on democracy in India and beyond. The papers share a common focus on the everyday practices, discourses, and meanings of democratic politics. Lipika Kamra reframes democracy as a set of gendered norms and practices across households knit together into fluid networks that decisively shape electoral outcomes, and ultimately, who governs. Michael Collins shows how, despite claims of a silent revolution, vernacular practices of caste democracy actually limit the radical claims of Dalit politics and place them in new hierarchies generated by democracy itself. Uday Chandra argues for a new conception of democratic politics that is grounded in popular understandings and experiences of religion in a polytheistic society. Beyond liberal assumptions and conventional analyses of elite politics, therefore, these papers seek to look afresh at democracy in India, and indeed, elsewhere from the inside-out.


Presenter 1
Lipika Kamra - lipikakamra@gmail.com (Jindal Global University)
Women, Households, and the Reordering of Indian Democracy

Presenter 2
Michael Collins - michael.adrian@gmail.com (University of Göttingen)
‘Contesting’ Elections: Dalit Parties and Democracy in South India

Presenter 3
Uday Chandra - udaychandra84@gmail.com (Georgetown University, Qatar)
The Political Theology of Polytheism and the Sacral Hierarchy of Indian Democracy


The Infrastructural Bridge: Methodological Devices and Conceptual Tools Across Urban and Rural Divides
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Madison College D240 - 1
Floor: Madison College

Galen Murton - murtongb@jmu.edu (James Madison University)
Galen Murton - murtongb@jmu.edu (James Madison University)

We study roads and pipes, fences and dams. Too often, our conversations proceed through academic and social channels that follow the flows of urban studies or rural contexts, but not often both together. There is much to learn from those on the other side of this (false) divide, and that's the intention of this session. Infrastructure gives us a powerful point of common reference, within the geographically contextual space of South Asia. Rather than presentations of what we study, this roundtable will instead examine and share how we study infrastructure. Beyond topics of empirical research and seeing infrastructure as a kind of (convenient) metaphorical bridge, our session will ask and answer the following kinds of questions: in what ways do we approach infrastructure both conceptually and methodologically (and at what scale)? What analytical frameworks do we use to make sense of our infrastructural studies? And, moreover, how can we use infrastructure to highlight and translate new research tools and approaches for and from one another across rural and urban places in South Asia? Short presentations will include, but are not limited to: - Asking how infrastructure in Pakistan's high mountain areas both connects and disconnects - Discussing the everyday meanings and processes associated with the infrastructure of hydropower projects in Northeast India's South Asian borderland - Approaching 'mobilities as method' and how to employ frames of 'mobility and containment' to analyze data generated through mobile fieldwork of new road systems in the Nepal Himalaya - Examining infrastructure as territorialized socio-political relations and therefore as a site for place-based and ethnographically sensible research on local/national/global political economies.


Presenter 1
Yaffa Truelove - yaffa.truelove@colorado.edu (University of Colorado)
Presenter 2
Lisa Björkman - lbjorkman6@gmail.com (University of Louisville)
Presenter 3
Hasan Karrar - hkarrar@lums.edu.pk
Presenter 4
Siddharth Menon - siddharth.menon@colorado.edu (University of Colorado at Boulder)
Presenter 5
Parag Jyoti Saikia - meandering1800@gmail.com (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Anxieties of Authority in Sacred Spaces: Identity and Authenticity in South Asian Religious Praxis
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Madison College D240 - 2
Floor: Madison College

Discussant/Chair

Amanda Lucia - amanda.lucia@ucr.edu (University of California-Riverside)

Panel Organizer(s)
Amanda Lucia - amanda.lucia@ucr.edu (University of California-Riverside)

-


Presenter 1
Mallory Hennigar - mahennig@syr.edu (Syracuse University)
Keeping Maun: The Ethics of Silence & Speaking Out Among Ambedkarite Buddhist Youths

Presenter 2
Suraj Lakshminarasimhan - skl22@zips.uakron.edu (University of Akron)
Public Nationalism: Buddhist Shrines at Sarnath and the Rewriting of Indian History, 1951-1968

Presenter 3
Amanda Lucia - amanda.lucia@ucr.edu (University of California-Riverside)
White Bhaktas/White Yogis: Anxieties over Authenticity in Indic Spirituality in the United States

Presenter 4
Dheepa Sundaram - dheepa.sundaram@du.edu (University of Denver)
Globalizing Darśan: Virtual Soteriology and the Formation of a Hindu Brand

Presenter 5
Krishantha Fedricks - kfedricks@utexas.edu (The University of Texas at Austin)
Materializing Nirvana: Semiotic Ideology and Religious Mediation in Post-War Sri Lanka


A New World for Tamil Drama: The Literary, Performative, and Nationalist Work of Pammal Campanta Mutaliyār (1873-1964)
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 3: Friday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Madison College Meeting Room 1
Floor: Madison College

Discussant/Chair

Martha Ann Selby - mas@austin.utexas.edu (The University of Texas at Austin)

Panel Organizer(s)
Davesh Soneji - dsoneji@upenn.edu

This panel focuses on the emergence of modern theatre in Tamil Nadu at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. In this period, modernist impulses in literary production combined with the performative and musical contours of the touring Parsi theatre to form a new, professional, and distinctly Tamil medial form. At the helm of a mature phase of such innovation was Pammal Campanta Mutaliyār (1873-1964), often described as the “father of modern Tamil theatre.” His company, the Suguna Vilasa Sabha (est. 1891), became one of the most innovative and popular theatre companies of its time, and its actors, like Pammal himself, found themselves seamlessly transitioning into the world of the early Tamil cinema by the 1930s. In this panel, we consider Pammal’s life and contributions to modern Tamil literature and drama in an effort to critically historicize the early Tamil popular theatre. Davesh Soneji’s essay considers how Pammal’s work emerged in conversation with both the aesthetic and social concerns of his time. He demonstrates how Pammal’s dramas engage the politics of social reform and emergent forms of cultural nationalism. A.R. Venkatachalapathy examines a very large and hitherto unexamined body of autobiographical writing by Pammal, mostly in the form of memoirs, in order to reconstruct more about the literary influences on his writing, as well as his own articulations of the history of the modern Tamil theatre. Finally, Sascha Ebeling illuminates Pammal’s relationship to English literature and new spheres of colonial education, by focusing on his production of some of the earliest translations of Shakespeare into South Indian languages. Taken together, the essays map, from a range of interpretive and disciplinary perspectives, a relatively uncharted yet incredibly salient history of the performing and literary arts of modern Tamil Nadu.


Presenter 1
Davesh Soneji - dsoneji@upenn.edu ()
Questions of the Social and the Aesthetic in Pammal Campanta Mutaliyār’s New Tamil Drama

Presenter 2
A.R. Venkatachalapathy - arvchalapathy@yahoo.com ()
Staging the Self: The Memoirs of Pammal Sambanda Mudaliar

Presenter 3
Sascha Ebeling - ebeling@yahoo.com (The University of Chicago)
The Many Shakespeares of Rao Bahadur Pammal Campanta Mutaliyar (1873–1964)


Ornament and Seal technologies of the Indus Tradition: New perspectives from the Indus and adjacent regions
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Assembly Room
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Gregg Jamison - gjamison@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

Panel Organizer(s)
Gregg Jamison - gjamison@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

Specialized technologies used to produce ornaments and seals played an important role in the emergence of complex social organization in the greater Indus Valley region of what is now Pakistan and northwestern India. The Indus region was also linked to adjacent regions in peninsular India, Arabia, Iran and Central Asia that where contemporaneous communities were also engaged in similar processes of cultural and technological development. The study of specific types of technologies and the stylistic features of specific objects makes it possible to trace specific links between these different communities. While the local meaning and symbolism of objects may have varied, the sourcing of raw materials can be used to outline shared trade networks, and similarities in technical processes can often reveal shared technological traditions. The four papers in this session will focus on steatite or soapstone, one of the most important raw materials used in the Indus Tradition. The first paper will examine the multiple ways in which this soft stone was modified to produce a wide range of ornamental objects and seals that were essential for reinforcing hierarchy and wealth as well as ideological power. The second paper will focus on the production of Early Indus seals during the initial phase of urban development. The third paper looks that the production of seals during the period of urban expansion when the Indus cities were strongly linked through trade and economics. Comparisons of production technology during this period will shed new light on the links between specific urban centers. The final paper looks at the steatite seals and other types of seals used in regions outside the Indus. These seals provide a window on external linkages and also the potential for external influence on the Indus elites as well.


Presenter 1
Jonathan Mark Kenoyer - jkenoyer@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Indus Tradition Steatite Ornament and Seal Production: New Insights on manufacturing, firing, and surface modifications

Presenter 2
Ayumu Konasukawa - konasukawa@asafas.kyoto-u.ac.jp (Kyoto University)
Early Indus Seal Production in the Ghaggar Basin: Microscopic and Experimental Analyses

Presenter 3
Gregg Jamison - gjamison@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Multifaceted Studies of Indus Seal Production: Linking Style with Technology

Presenter 4
Dennys Frenez - dennys.frenez@gmail.com (University of Bologna)
Indus-related seals in Middle Asia and their significance for the socio-economic organization of Harappan external trade


Untying the Knot: Debating Meanings of Secularism and Islam in Contemporary Bangladesh
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Caucus Room
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Ali Riaz - ariaz@ilstu.edu (Illinois State University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Ali Riaz - ariaz@ilstu.edu (Illinois State University)

This panel will examine various dimensions of secularism and religion debate in Bangladesh. Common perception and public discourse in Bangladesh is shaped through a juxtaposition of Islam and secularism. Based on a skewed narrative of history, both secularism and Islam are presented as homogenous and monolithic ideas. The papers presented in the panel will challenge this conventional wisdom, explore historical roots of this binary, and unpack the complexity of this binarization. The panelist will discuss how the conceptualization of secularism as a state principle in 1972 was fraught with problems and has engendered an environment of intolerance and produced certain kinds of minority. On the other hand, Islamists, of various hues, have demonstrated their proclivity towards ignoring the diversities of lived Islam in Bangladesh. The papers will discuss various manifestations and practices of Bangladeshi Muslims as markers of the polyvocality of Islam. Considering politics beyond the top-down exercise of power through institutional channels and narrow confines of explicit association with political parties, panel will explore how social institutions are contributing to the politics of controlling the meaning of Islam. The homogenization of Islam is also manifested in the messages of extant violent extremist groups who construct their message of salvation based on a monolithic global Muslim identity and a universal Muslim way of salvation.


Presenter 1
DINA SIDDIQI - dmsiddiqi@gmail.com (New York University)
Secularism and the Minority Question in Bangladesh

Presenter 2
Ali Riaz - ariaz@ilstu.edu (Illinois State University)
Discussions on Secularism and Islam in Bangladesh: Four Shortcomings

Presenter 3
Md Mizanur Rahman - mrahma3@ilstu.edu (Illinois State University )
The Politics of Islamic Social Institutions in Bangladesh


Rethinking Rasa in Light of Pollock’s Rasa Reader
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Senate Room A
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

-

Panel Organizer(s)
Yigal Bronner - yigal.bronner@mail.huji.ac.il (Hebrew University)

Rasa is a key concept of Indic aesthetics. Numerous South Asian thinkers have theorized rasa, probing its nature, location, modes of generation, experiential and even soteriological dimensions, as well as its relevance for the analysis of various forms of art. Sheldon Pollock’s monumental A Rasa Reader (2016) offers a first panoramic view of these discussions, provides countless exciting discoveries, and allows us to think rasa anew. Taking inspiration from the Reader, our papers make forays into several aspects of rasa that demand further attention. Andrew Ollett, following Pollock’s identification of Dhanika (c. 975) as a pivotal figure in the “readerly” reorientation of rasa, examines the semantic theory underpinning Dhanika’s account of rasa, which allows him to speak of rasa as a “meaning” that the text conveys to a reader. Ajay Rao, in a paper co-authored with H. V. Nagaraja Rao, discusses the related question of whether or not the experience of rasa involves inference. More broadly, the two consider the question of the relationship between aesthetics and epistemology in Sanskrit theory as emerging from Mahimabhatta’s (c. 1025) treatise, the Critical Appraisal of Manifestation. Yigal Bronner’s paper revisits the question of whether rasa can be understood as a figure of speech. More specifically, he argues that, despite the dismissive approach of nearly all Indologists, Dandin’s treatment of rasa as an “ornament” (alankara) in his Mirror of Literature (c. 700) had theoretical strengths that made it far more lasting than ever realized. Finally, the longevity of rasa is the topic of Allison Busch’s paper, which assesses the continued relevance of rasa to classical Hindi authors, Indo-Muslim writers, and Mughal-period courtly and religious culture more broadly, including the domain of painted poetry.


Presenter 1
andrew ollett - andrew.ollett@gmail.com (harvard university)
In What Sense Is Rasa a ‘Meaning’ for Dhanika?

Presenter 2
Ajay Rao - ajay.rao@utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Aesthetics as Epistemology: Mahimabhatta and the Inference of Rasa

Presenter 3
Yigal Bronner - yigal.bronner@mail.huji.ac.il (Hebrew University)
The First Theory of Emotional Expressivity: Rasa in Dandin’s Mirror


Rethinking the Roots of Democracy, Secularism and Welfare in Modern India
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Senate Room B
Floor: Floor 1

Julia Stephens - julie.a.stephens@gmail.com (Rutgers University)
Julia Stephens - julie.a.stephens@gmail.com (Rutgers University)

How did the relationship between the Indian state and the society it governed change with the strokes of midnight in 1947? The exploration of new postcolonial archives; the legal turn in South Asian history and the focus on the everyday engagements by ordinary people has both added granular detail as well as complicated studies that viewed the state from above. This roundtable brings together four scholars whose books were published in the last year to explore the relationship between state and society through the questions of democracy, secularism and welfare along with the methodological challenges of the archives of law and the postcolonial state. Julia Stephens (author of Governing Islam) will chair the panel and contextualize the discussion by exploring longer colonial genealogies with a focus on her work on secularism. Ben Siegel (author of Hungry Nation) examines questions of nation-building and citizenship through the lens of food politics. His contribution to the panel will frame the centrality of questions of welfare to postcolonial history-writing. Rohit De (author of The People’s Constitution) explores how the Indian constitution, despite its elite authorship and alien antecedents, came to permeate everyday life in India. In the panel he will highlight how legal conflicts over market governance traverse the realms of elite and subaltern politics. Ornit Shani (author of How India Became Democratic) studies the implementation of adult franchise in post-colonial India. Her contribution to the panel will unsettle the idea that Indian democracy is an elite inheritance from the British Raj by foregrounding the role of non-elite Indians in constructing new frameworks of post-colonial governance.


Presenter 1
Benjamin Siegel - siegelb@bu.edu (Boston University)
Presenter 2
Rohit De - rohit.de@yale.edu (Yale University)
Presenter 3
Ornit Shani - shanio@research.haifa.ac.il (University of Haifa)

Artificial Glaciers, Technoscience, and Tibetan Buddhism: Contemporary Responses to Environmental and Climactic Change in Ladakh, India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 1
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Eben Yonnetti - ebyo8110@colorado.edu

Panel Organizer(s)
eben yonnetti - ebenyonnetti@colorado.edu (university of colorado boulder)

Like other Himalayan communities, peoples of the arid, high-alpine region of Ladakh find themselves today on the front-lines of tremendous climactic and environmental change, facing rising temperatures, melting glaciers, shifting precipitation and discharge patterns, and rapidly expanding development. To cope with these wide-ranging impacts, a number of ‘solutions’ have been enacted by stakeholders as wide ranging as governments, NGOs, religious institutions, and community groups. This panel offers a critical reading from multidisciplinary perspectives of several of these contemporary adaptation initiatives to climactic and environmental changes in Ladakh, India. First, Williams-Oerberg explores the ecological destruction wrought by the swift rise in domestic tourism and associated infrastructure around the tourist hub of Leh, while also highlighting the critical role that Tibetan Buddhist organizations have played in pushing for a more sustainable tourism industry in this area of scant resources. Continuing to examine contemporary religious organizations, Yonnetti analyses Buddhist leader Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche’s environmental projects and argues these initiatives both reinforce his traditional role as a mediator between humans and an agentive landscape, and present a ‘modern Buddhism’ that is relevant and capable of responding to contemporary issues. Examining responses to climate-induced water-stress, Gladfelter analyzes NGO attempts to construct ‘artificial glaciers’ in villages facing springtime water scarcity, highlighting how interventions are both tied to older traditions of water harvesting while also appropriating and reframing local knowledge in problematic ways. Finally, Gagné examines local struggles to adapt to climate change through infrastructure development in the politically marginalized region of Zanskar. In doing so, Gagné highlights how such projects require communities to engage with technoscience as a material form of citizenship, albeit within the context of systematic state abandonment. Together, these papers advance our understandings of both the limits and capacities of diverse coping strategies to address environmental and climactic change in Ladakh today.


Presenter 1
Eben Yonnetti - ebyo8110@colorado.edu ()
Elements Out of Balance: Tibetan Buddhism, Climate Change, and Environmental Activism in Ladakh

Presenter 2
Sierra Gladfelter - sierra.gladfelter@colorado.edu ()
Artificial Glaciers, Ice Stupas, and Frozen Mountains: The Contemporary Remaking of Ladakh’s Place-based Practices of Water Storage as Modern ‘Solutions’ to Climate Change

Presenter 3
Karine Gagné - gagnek@uoguelph.ca ()
Practicing Technoscience, Performing Expert Citizenship: The Challenges of Adaptation to Climate Change in Zanskar, India


The Transnational Politics and Aesthetics of Migration
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 2
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

-

Panel Organizer(s)
Mahendra Lawoti - mlawoti@gmail.com (Western Michigan University)

-


Presenter 1
Bitopi Dutta - bitopi.dutta2@mail.dcu.ie (Dublin City University)
Defining Processes of Gender Restructuring: The Case of Displaced Tribal Communities of North East India

Presenter 2
Yasha Sharma - ysharma@ddn.upes.ac.in (University of Petroleum and Energy Studies)
Rohingya Crisis in South Asia and the extent of responsibility of India under the Indian Law vis-à-vis International Law: An Analysis

Presenter 3
Mahendra Lawoti - mlawoti@gmail.com (Western Michigan University)
Who gets autonomy, and who does not?: Marginalized groups and Movements for Federal Autonomy

Presenter 4
Preeti Singh - singh.996@osu.edu (The Ohio State University-Columbus)
SHAILJA PATEL’S MIGRITUDE (2010) AND THE FUGITIVE HISTORIES OF THINGS


Writing Kashmir from ‘now’: Towards grasping Ontology of the Present in Kashmir-making
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 3
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Rafiq Pirzada - rafpirzada@gmail.com (Amar Singh College, Kashmir University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Rafiq Pirzada - rafpirzada@gmail.com (Amar Singh College, Kashmir University)

The scholarship on Kashmir-making and Kashmiri subjectivities is historically divided into three broad areas: the Chronicalists, whose focus is the Sanskrit literary tradition of Kashmir, particularly the Rājataraṅgiṇī, the Medievalists, whose conception of Kashmir and Kashmiriness is coeval with the arrival of Shah-i-Hamadan (read Islam) to Kashmir, and the Nationalists, who emerged from the post-1947 euphoria, and imagine Kashmir as the classical arcadia of the modern nation Within this contested terrain between chronicalists, medievalists and nationalists the present realties of Kashmir-making and Kashmiri subjectivities are either scantily discussed, or else left to journalists’ and activists’ reportage. The aim of this panel is to propose a deep philosophical-historical investigation of contemporary Kashmir-making by extending scholarly inquiry to the post-1987 struggles, articulations and construction of Kashmir as a distinct 'place' and 'Kashmiriness’ as a unique subjectivity. Arguing for opening up the alternate philosophical, literary and political resources which have been ignored by conventional Kashmir scholarship, this panel proposes an investigation into contemporary literature on Kashmir preferably written in Urdu and Kashmiri languages, so as to capture the unconventional, local, and marginalised writings on Kashmir. The aim is to facilitate a discussion on the context or the time we are living in. How to grasp the struggles, anxieties, fears and dissent of the present generations of Kashmiris? And, furthermore, thinking if our own selves could also be read through the time and the text. We feel that there is a need to disturb the historical continuity, and expose the heterogeneity of Kashmir-making. The panel argues for developing what could be called the militant epistemologies, questioning conventional modes of thinking and writings on ‘Kashmir-making’. Such an epistemology would try to trace the historical conditions of existence which have shaped radically unique practices of the present-day Kashmir-making.


Presenter 1
Amit Kumar - amithist27@gmail.com ()
Between History and Memory: Memoirs of Kashmir

Presenter 2
Fayaz Dar - fayaz.hist@gmail.com ()
Dedicated to the First gun wielding youngman': Life and works of 'Padam Shree' Akhtar Mohiuddin as a window to the 'Militant Times' of the Kashmiri Present

Presenter 3
ather zia - ather.zia@unco.edu (UNCO Greeley)
The State of Post-Colonial Siege and the “de-facto” Indian Occupation in the valley of Kashmir

Presenter 4
Rafiq Pirzada - rafpirzada@gmail.com (Amar Singh College, Kashmir University)
Enquiring the ‘Present’ in Kashmir: Writing a History of Mentalities, Materialities and Discontinuities of Kashmir-making


Technology, Subversion, and the Colonial Experience
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 4
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Zachary Leonard - leonardzt@gmail.com (University of Chicago )

Panel Organizer(s)
Zachary Leonard - leonardzt@gmail.com (University of Chicago )

-


Presenter 1
Zachary Leonard - leonardzt@gmail.com (University of Chicago )
Fanaticism and "False News": Allahabad, 1870

Presenter 2
Janaki Phillips - janakip@umich.edu (University of Michigan)
Ghostly Engagements in North Indian Hills Stations

Presenter 3
Zaib Aziz - zaibunnisa.aziz@yale.edu (Yale University)
The World as Stage: The Global Campaign for Indian Nationhood

Presenter 4
Mishal Khan - mishal@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago )
Abolition and its “Failure” in India: Investigating “Slavery” in Political Discourse in Sindh (1870 - 1930)


Tradition, Modernity, Spirituality, and Otherness: Impact on South Asian Narratives
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 5
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Runa Chakraborty Paunksnis - amialeekmaya@gmail.com (Kaunas University of Technology)

Panel Organizer(s)
Runa Chakraborty Paunksnis - amialeekmaya@gmail.com (Kaunas University of Technology)

-


Presenter 1
ayelet kotler - ayeletkotler@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
Tradition and Innovation in Muṣṭafá Khāliqdād’s Persian Panchākiyān

Presenter 2
Runa Chakraborty Paunksnis - amialeekmaya@gmail.com (Kaunas University of Technology)
In Search of Identity: Bangla Dalit Literature and the Politics of Silence

Presenter 3
Manbor Singh Warjri - wmanbor@yahoo.com (Sankardev College)
Church and State - a model of political communion of faiths in Meghalaya

Presenter 4
Deborah Philip - dphilip@gradcenter.cuny.edu (The Graduate Center, City University of New York)
Unashamedly Related: 19th Century Anthropology and Sinhalese Subjects at the Berlin Zoo


Ruminations on the Cinema of Ashish Avikunthak
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Erin O'Donnell - eodonnell@esu.edu (East Stroudsburg University-Pennsylvania)

Panel Organizer(s)
Erin O'Donnell - eodonnell@esu.edu (East Stroudsburg University-Pennsylvania)

The Bengali filmmaker Ashish Avikunthak has been making self-financed films in India since the mid-nineties, with his most recently completed feature films being Aapothkalin Trikalika (“The Kali of Emergency,” 2016) and Vrindavani Vairagya (“Dispassionate Love,” 2017). This panel’s papers will analyze and theorize the rich, multiple manifestations of the sacred and the mundane, and cinematic constructions of space, place, and time in several of the director’s films. Malasree Neepa Acharya will explore the role of spirituality as a productive point of departure in Kalighat Fetish (1999), Vakratunda Swaha (2010), and Rati Chakravyuh (2013), and will investigate the paradigmatic schism that emerges within the director’s dedication to Tantric ritual as a position of postcolonial power. As the cinematographer of Kalkimanthankatha (“The Churning of Kalki,” 2015), Basab Mullik will strive to comprehend the film within the paradigm of the ‘ordinary’ to examine the conditions of intelligibility which mark cinema as an accumulation of ‘significant’ actions and the stake of thinking about the ‘ordinary’ in terms of an aesthetic category. Drawing from Avikunthak’s short and feature films, Arnab Banerji will conduct an analysis of shot selection and duration, interspersed with the director’s pointed dialogue delivery, as a form of creative language that disrupts the diegetic expectation of film with a style that is reminiscent of avant-garde theatrical stage productions. Erin O’Donnell will focus on Aapothkalin Trikalika (“The Kali of Emergency,” 2016) to delve into how and why language, sound and image operate in requisite conjunction with the film’s characters who inhabit Kali and Ganesha masks and adopt the persona of gods and goddesses to dictate the diegetic space as one where the divine and the human unequivocally forefront and confront what is at stake in the current historical moment with the rise of global authoritarianism.


Presenter 1
Malasree Neepa Acharya - neepa.acharya@gmail.com (University of Delaware)
Reconciling Tantra across the Plateaux - The Realm of the Spiritual in Ashish Avikunthak's Films

Presenter 2
Basab Mullik - bmullik@gmail.com (Johns Hopkins University)
The Duree and the Ordinary in Kalkimanthankatha (2015)

Presenter 3
Arnab Banerji - arnab.uga@gmail.com (Loyola Marymount University )
The Theatrical Image in Ashish Avikunthak’s Films

Presenter 4
Erin O'Donnell - eodonnell@esu.edu (East Stroudsburg University-Pennsylvania)
Aapothkalin Trikalika (“The Kali of Emergency,” 2016): The Divine and Mundane in an Authoritarian Age


Caste Matters: Languages of Annihilation (II)
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Capitol Ballroom B
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Indrani Chatterjee - ichatterjee@austin.utexas.edu (University of Texas at Austin)

Panel Organizer(s)
Anjali Arondekar - aarondek@ucsc.edu (UCSC)

For Dalit/bahujan studies, engagements with histories of gender/sexuality, language and slavery have robustly shifted the angles through which the field might begin to imagine collusions, collaborations and conversations within regions of South Asia and beyond. Historians, in particular, have contributed to our understanding of the forces at work in the making of ‘caste’ between the fifteenth and the twentieth centuries. However, such scholarship has minoritized relations of gender and language in the making of such geographies. Our two proposed panels reverse the trend by foregrounding the question: what would regional histories of ‘caste’ look like if interrogated as formulations of gender and language? Eschewing the conventional segregation and/or minoritization of regions as spatialities that provide local historical variation, the panels seek to simultaneously interrogate regional asymmetries of the past of caste, as well as highlight the centrality of gender and language in the making and conceiving of ‘caste’ itself. Staging concrete articulations of these key terms – gender, region, caste – also allows us to ask how we might differently understand global processes of social reproduction, and their relations to processes of historical transmission, narrative, and change. How might an interrogation of gender, language and region shift our understanding of the life-forms, modalities, and vernaculars of caste? And how might these different understandings of caste shape our thinking about the South Asian and global present?


Presenter 1
Juned Shaikh - jmshaikh@ucsc.edu (University of California, Santa Cruz)
S. A. Dange, Marxism, and Caste, 1920-50

Presenter 2
Rupa Viswanath - rupa.viswanath@gmail.com (University of Göttingen)
Politics, Political Economy and the “Permanent Minority”: Race and the Indian Poor in Malaysia

Presenter 3
Ramnarayan Rawat - rawat@udel.edu ()
The Poetics of Dalit Politics in North India: “Sant-Mat” and the Intellectual inheritance


Power, knowledge and praxis: Rethinking methods in the context of vulnerability in India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: University A/B
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Vandana Chaudhry - vandana.chaudhry@csi.cuny.edu (City University of New York, College of Staten Island)

Panel Organizer(s)
Dolly Daftary - dolly.daftary@umb.edu (University of Massachusetts Boston)

This panel will discuss power, knowledge and epistemology across space and time in the context of groups occupying spaces of vulnerability in contemporary India. Drawing upon ethnography among disability communities, sex workers, dryland rural poor and Dalit women, the politics of knowledge-production in relations saturated with power, and how researcher-researched relations are mutated and upturned based on praxis, self-reflexivity, and intimacy; are discussed. Panelists attend to how sites and contexts inform knowledge creation, and critique methodological practices, using established methods to new ends, and novel methods to break new ground in their disciplinary fields. Identifying the survey as an affective instrument, Daftary enquires what it means to ask someone to share their life circumstances ‘when we are not prepared to deal with the consequences’ (Monaheim 2018). She traces the possibilities, generative openings and refusals generated by the survey as an ethnographic analytic in Gujarat. Prasad describes how participatory map-making switched from a parallel exercise to a central instrument in spatializing the social in rural Bihar. In relation to Dalit women’s land ownership, participatory map-making both reversed the researcher-researched power dynamic, and enabled tracing a new social order in terms of its spatial ruptures. Sinha self-reflexively departs from the survey as an instrument of distrust and fear among sex workers in Kolkata, using cultural biography as a tool that addresses power differentials, destigmatizes participants, and produces more authentic ways of knowing. Chaudhry problematizes the concept of insider ethnography based on status as a disabled ‘halfie’, arguing that while the researcher’s own embodied experience of disability helps gain insight into disability communities in Telangana; regional, caste, and class intersectionalities queer this premise. She argues for performative synergies that go beyond liberal disability studies methodologies.


Presenter 1
Dolly Daftary - dolly.daftary@umb.edu (University of Massachusetts Boston)
The survey as an ethnographic analytic: Identity, sovereignty, and affect in rural Gujarat, India

Presenter 2
Indulata Prasad - indulata@utexas.edu (Arizona State University)
Spatializing caste, spatializing Dalitness: Insights from participatory map-making among Dalit women

Presenter 3
Sunny Sinha - sinha.sunny@marywood.edu (Marywood University)
Cultural biography: A non-stigmatizing approach to doing research with sex workers in India

Presenter 4
Vandana Chaudhry - vandana.chaudhry@csi.cuny.edu (City University of New York, College of Staten Island)
A performative praxis for doing Disability Research in India


Categories of Self-Description in South Asian Literature
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: University C/D
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Jamal Jones - jamal.and.jones@gmail.com (University of California, Davis)

Panel Organizer(s)
Iva Patel - iva-patel@uiowa.edu (University of Iowa)

Texts often talk about themselves. Writers and poets encode information about themselves within their works, and often use their writing projects as exercises in self-fashioning. Taking the writing process to be purposeful and dynamic allows us to assess the underlying logics of self-presentations and their potential to both complement and contest arguments within dominant canons of information. Focusing on self-descriptive moments within South Asian Sanskrit, Persian, and vernacular texts, this panel investigates the rhetorical ways in which writers articulate their individual or collective selfhood, and frame their social, religious, or economic positions by reinforcing existing affiliations or severing them to build new ones. Covering a range of religious and other cultural texts to discuss different categories of self-description, panelists explore productive tensions of identity between self-narratives and perceived or stated popular narratives. They study writers’ strategies of mitigating potential risks of their rhetoric being misinterpreted, and also address how patronage and alternate economies of exchange inform production and subsequent reception of such texts. By drawing together and juxtaposing examples ranging from the fifth century C.E. to the post-colonial era, and from Gujarat to Bengal, the panel interrogates the communicative and creative power of self-descriptive moments in South Asian literary history. It analyzes the ability of self-description, whether expressed in a religious, political, or cultural idiom, to fashion community, authority, and legitimacy through writing focused on self-identification and positionality.


Presenter 1
Titas De Sarkar - titas@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
Hungry Manifestoes – Formation of Youth Identity Through Linguistic Practice in Postcolonial Calcutta

Presenter 2
Bhakti Mamtora - bhaktim@ufl.edu (University of Florida)
Writing History, Constructing Identity in Colonial India

Presenter 3
Hillary Langberg - hillarylangberg@gmail.com (The University of Texas at Austin)
Affirming the Bodhisattva-Goddess in Mahāyāna Soteriology: A Study of Discursive Structures Across Mediums

Presenter 4
Rebecca Manring - rmanring@indiana.edu (Indiana University)
The Lost Boy: Rupram Cakravarti and his Dharmamangala.


Translation and its forms of Knowledge: Modern Economic Thought and the Indian Vernacular
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 627
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

-

Panel Organizer(s)
Osama Siddiqui - ors9@cornell.edu (Cornell University)

This panel examines the development of modern economic thought in Indian languages, with an emphasis on translation as a technology of vernacular knowledge production. Focusing on previously unexplored economic texts and translations in Marathi, Bengali, and Urdu, our panel investigates the ways in which regional languages contributed to the making of social scientific disciplines in India. Although much scholarship exists on the formation of colonial knowledge about Indian society, there is little work on how regional languages, with their own disciplinary histories, enabled the imagining of society and nation as unified objects of study. Our panel, therefore, seeks to open new directions in the history of economics and the social sciences in India. Specifically, Naregal's paper uncovers pre-1857 forays into the translation of political economy in Bombay-Pune by examining early Marathi translations of J.S. Mill and Jane Marcet, showing how these translations anticipated later colonial debates on development and drain. Siddiqui's paper focuses on Delhi and North India, showing how Urdu translators drew on older Indo-Persian ideas of wealth and statecraft to make sense of political economy. Sonalkar's and Mitra's papers turn to the early-twentieth century. Sonalkar examines the economic thought of D.R. Gadgil and sheds light on how he engaged with political economy in Marathi. Mitra examines the methodological innovations of Benoy Kumar Sarkar and the Bengal Economic Association, and shows how Sarkar's unique translational methods contributed to the formalization of vernacular economics. Each of these papers seeks to problematize the concept of 'translation'. Rather than seeing translation as a seamless transfer of meaning between languages, we are interested in thinking about how translation restructured the relationship between language, region, and knowledge production. In doing so, our panel aims to contribute new insights to both the history of economic thought in India and to the field of translation studies.


Presenter 1
Osama Siddiqui - ors9@cornell.edu (Cornell University)
Creating an Urdu Political Economy: Texts and Translators at Delhi College, c. 1840

Presenter 2
Wandana Sonalkar - wsonalkar@gmail.com (Tata Institute of Sociali Sciences, Mumbai)
D.R. Gadgil: Early Twentieth-Century Discourse of Indian Political Economy in Western India


Maintaining Interpretive Ambivalence: Gender, Religion, and Scholarly Interpretation in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 629
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Emilia Bachrach - ebachrac@oberlin.edu (Oberlin College)

Panel Organizer(s)
Jennifer Ortegren - jennortegren@gmail.com (Middlebury College)

This panel examines the productive potential of “interpretive ambivalence” in scholarship on religion in South Asia. Rather than adhering to a single interpretive strategy for indigenous claims made in literary texts and ethnographic narratives, we locate and highlight multiple possibilities in the process of interpretation that resist academic inclinations (or expectations) to resolve ambiguity or contradictions. Collectively, these papers raise important questions about what we, as scholars, can gain when we commit to remaining in the sometimes uncomfortable spaces of uncertainty and multiplicity. The first paper explores the moral ambivalence of legitimizing sexual labor as a poor woman’s path for religious deliverance in the story of Nimbiyakka from the 13th century Kannada text of the Śivaśaraṇara Ragaḷegaḷu. The second analyzes the 19th century Tamil text of the Māriyammaṉ Tālāṭṭu, dedicated to the goddess Māriyammaṉ, to consider the interpretive possibilities that emerge from local devotional texts rather than colonial or missionary archives. The third paper examines the ambivalence of interpreting narratives of upwardly mobile men in Rajasthan cooking for their wives during menstruation to maintain ritual purity, but overlaying the practice with emerging middle class sensibilities. The final paper addresses the nuance that emerges from holding together seeming inconsistencies in narratives by examining shifting claims surrounding the life, death, deification, and domestication of Devanayaki, a scheduled caste woman in Tamil Nadu. While each of these papers focus on gender and religion, we emphasize the productive possibilities of multiple interpretive frames – ethical and otherwise – about South Asia more broadly. Indeed, we seek to recover the value of ambivalence as a way of pushing scholars of South Asian religions to new questions, rather than answers, that will allow us to see connections between these features of everyday and narrative life in new ways.


Presenter 1
Gil Ben-Herut - gilb@usf.edu (University Of South Florida)
Male Voice, Female Role: Multiple Readings of a Devotional Story about a Female Saint’s Sexual Labor

Presenter 2
Lisa Blake - lisa.blake@mail.mcgill.ca (McGill University)
Interpreting Devotion: The Māriyammaṉ Tālāṭṭu and 19th Century Worship Practices in South India

Presenter 3
Jennifer Ortegren - jennortegren@gmail.com (Middlebury College)
“He Does the Cooking!” Interpretive Ambivalences Surrounding Gender, Religion, and Food in Urban Rajasthan

Presenter 4
Amy Allocco - aallocco@elon.edu (Elon University)
Ten Years, Few Certainties: Interpretive Ambivalence and Gendered Tensions in Death, Deification, and Domestication Narratives


The Nath Panth amid Varieties of Religio-Political Formations
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 634
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Daniel Gold - drg4@cornell.edu (Cornell University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Carter Higgns - chh64@cornell.edu (Cornell University)

As the English press in India recalled in 2017, the Nath Panth was the premier heterodox Shaiva sect in precolonial northern South Asia, and maintained affiliations with diverse political and religious formations. With some siddhi-wielding yogis wed to powerful states, others mixed well with Tantric Buddhists, early Sikhs, and Sufi and Ismaili Muslims. The journalistic exposés on Nath history followed the UP state elections, when Yogi Adityanath, a Hindutva politician and abbot of the Nath temple-monastery in Gorakhpur, took office as the Chief Minister. Adityanath and his predecessor, Avaidyanath, have long been leaders in such Hindutva mobilizations as Ramjanmabhumi, the Hindu Yuva Vahini, and the electoral BJP. This panel brings together scholars of historically diverse Nath groups to explore the connections among these disparate iterations of Nath religio-political practice. Approaching the question of “the religio-political” from several perspectives, the presentations will offer a sketch of critical moments in the historical transformation of Nath patterns of political participation. Considering the translation of siddhi (yogic capacities) into temporal power in precolonial Nath literature, the first paper establishes a hagiographical thread that weaves through the subsequent papers. The second presentation examines how concerns to cultivate siddhi gave way to involvement in the political sphere in twentieth-century Gorakhpur. Drawing attention to Nath politics of caste, the third reads the publications of householder Naths in Bengal, who deploy historiographical arguments to critique Bengali caste practices and their own classification as a Backward Class. The last paper uses ethnographic research on the political relations of a Nath monastery in Rajasthan to conceive of a Hindu Right assemblage not always oriented to the nation. The presentations thus provide a rich archive for tracking the heterogeneous religio-political entanglements of Naths, from precolonial ascetic powers and tales of yogi kings to the Hindu nation and modern state.


Presenter 1
Adrian Munoz - amunoz@colmex.mx (El Colegio de México)
The Extreme Success of Powerful Yogis

Presenter 2
Joel Bordeaux - bordeauxjoel@gmail.com (Stony Brook University)
Back When We Were Brahmins: Historical and Caste Critique among Bengali Naths

Presenter 3
Carter Higgns - chh64@cornell.edu (Cornell University)
Nath-Hindutva Resonance? The Changing Political Relationships of a Monastery in Contemporary Rajasthan


The Purveyors of Violence: Studying Armed Combatants in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 638
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Ajay Verghese - ajayaverghese@gmail.com (University of California, Riverside)

Panel Organizer(s)
Ajay Verghese - ajayaverghese@gmail.com (University of California, Riverside)

This panel explores the identities of armed combatants in South Asia, featuring four papers that try to understand who commits violence, how they join violent movements, and why they sometimes abandon them. The first two papers, by Emmanuel Teitelbaum and Rumela Sen, examine the Maoist insurgency in India. Teitelbaum’s paper examines the effect of migration on ‘sending communities’ rather than ‘receiving communities’ by using survey data to explore how out-migration affects Naxal conflict zones. Sen’s paper uses the Naxalite conflict as a case study to explore the understudied question of how rebels quit armed groups. Using a controlled comparison of north and south India, Sen argues that rebels are more easily able to exit in the south through ‘harmonic’ networks because of a stronger associational life that ties multiple actors together. Kolby Hanson’s paper focuses on rebels but moves the discussion to conflicts in northeast India and Sri Lanka. Hanson shows how ceasefires counterintuitively undermine rebel groups by letting them operate openly, leading to poorer militant screening, and higher dissension and fragmentation. The final paper, by Ajay Verghese and Roberto Foa, examines contemporary Hindu-Muslim riots, which are often described as the outcome of carefully-orchestrated Hindu nationalist provocation. Verghese and Foa use a historical perspective to show that Hindu nationalist groups formed in areas of Mughal-Maratha conflict in the 17th century. Taken together, these papers begin to get at a deeper understanding of the purveyors of violence in South Asia.


Presenter 1
Emmanuel Teitelbaum - ejt@gwu.edu (George Washington University)
Migration and Conflict in India’s Red Corridor

Presenter 2
Rumela Sen - sen.rumela@gmail.com ()
Rebel Retirement Through Informal Exit Networks: Evidence from India

Presenter 3
Kolby Hanson - kolby.hanson@columbia.edu (Columbia University)
Discipline Under Fire: Ceasefires and Screening in Rebel Recruitment

Presenter 4
Ajay Verghese - ajayaverghese@gmail.com (University of California, Riverside)
Historical Legacies and Ethnic Violence: The Case of Hindu-Muslim Conflict in India


The Infrastructural Bridge: Methodological Devices and Conceptual Tools Across Urban and Rural Divides
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Madison College D240 - 1
Floor: Madison College

Galen Murton - murtongb@jmu.edu (James Madison University)
Galen Murton - murtongb@jmu.edu (James Madison University)

We study roads and pipes, fences and dams. Too often, our conversations proceed through academic and social channels that follow the flows of urban studies or rural contexts, but not often both together. There is much to learn from those on the other side of this (false) divide, and that's the intention of this session. Infrastructure gives us a powerful point of common reference, within the geographically contextual space of South Asia. Rather than presentations of what we study, this roundtable will instead examine and share how we study infrastructure. Beyond topics of empirical research and seeing infrastructure as a kind of (convenient) metaphorical bridge, our session will ask and answer the following kinds of questions: in what ways do we approach infrastructure both conceptually and methodologically (and at what scale)? What analytical frameworks do we use to make sense of our infrastructural studies? And, moreover, how can we use infrastructure to highlight and translate new research tools and approaches for and from one another across rural and urban places in South Asia? Short presentations will include, but are not limited to: - Asking how infrastructure in Pakistan's high mountain areas both connects and disconnects - Discussing the everyday meanings and processes associated with the infrastructure of hydropower projects in Northeast India's South Asian borderland - Approaching 'mobilities as method' and how to employ frames of 'mobility and containment' to analyze data generated through mobile fieldwork of new road systems in the Nepal Himalaya - Examining infrastructure as territorialized socio-political relations and therefore as a site for place-based and ethnographically sensible research on local/national/global political economies.


Presenter 1
Katharine Rankin - k.rankin@utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Presenter 2
Galen Murton - murtongb@jmu.edu (James Madison University)
Presenter 3
Edward Simpson - es7@soas.ac.uk (SOAS)

Yoga and Politics: South Asia and Beyond
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Madison College D240 - 2
Floor: Madison College

Discussant/Chair

Nick Tackes - jtackesiii@gmail.com (Columbia University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Christopher Miller - chpmiller@ucdavis.edu (Loyola Marymount University)

The academic study of yoga is perhaps the most dynamic, promising, and diversifying field linked to South Asia Studies that we have seen since the advent of postcolonialism. Not only does it draw in excellent philologists, historians, religionists, anthropologists, sociologists, and now increasingly political scientists, but it reaches outside of area specialization to appeal to those interested in feminism, Marxism, decolonialism, diaspora studies, and beyond. It is also one of the few areas of inquiry associated with South Asia to involve physical scientists who study the effects of yoga on the body and mind. In many ways, the study of yoga is a model for the power of interdisciplinary area studies writ large. As a contribution to this growing interdisciplinary field, this panel specifically examines the confluence of yoga and politics in South Asia and beyond with contributions from the fields of South Asian studies, religious studies, anthropology, and political science. Presenters consider yoga as political theory in South Asian textual history and the implications of this history in the present, several propose interpretations of Narendra Modi’s annual “mass yoga performance” at the International Day of Yoga, while others consider the deployment of various South Asian textual yoga traditions to sanction contemporary yoga practices such as those found in the United States’ carceral system.


Presenter 1
Christian Novetzke - novetzke@gmail.com ()
Sunila Kale - kale@uw.edu (University of Washington)
Yoga Nation: The Institutionalization of Modern Yoga in India

Presenter 2
Andrea Jain - andrjain@iupui.edu ()
Politics on the Yoga Mat: Social Conflict, Power Relations, and Political Ritual in India

Presenter 3
Patricia Sauthoff - sauthoff@gmail.com (SOAS)
Yoga and Politics in Indian Discourse

Presenter 4
Christopher Miller - chpmiller@ucdavis.edu (Loyola Marymount University)
Modi-fying Patañjali: Biopolitics and Subjectivity in South Asia’s Aspiring Neoliberal Nation State

Presenter 5
Farah Godrej - farah.godrej@ucr.edu ()
Prison Yoga and Meditation: South Asian Text and Practice in the U.S. Carceral System


Reframing Gendered Subjectivities
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 4: Friday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Madison College Meeting Room 1
Floor: Madison College

Discussant/Chair

Mario da Penha - mario.dpenha@gmail.com (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)

Panel Organizer(s)
Mario da Penha - mario.dpenha@gmail.com (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)

In recent years, scholars of gender and sexuality in South Asia have extended the study of intersectional subject formation by unpacking commonplace categories of analysis, and challenging established certitudes. These investigations have ranged from historical surveys of courtly cultures, the place of diverse household women in building or contesting dynastic power and monastic communities, research examining the position of those whose ritual lives lie outside the gender binary, and ethnographies that foreground vernacular epistemologies of relationality, of kinship and friendship, between and beyond human beings. This panel furthers these efforts across the disciplines of law, philosophy, anthropology and history. Christopher Fleming examines the legal arguments disputing Draupadi’s material transfer from Yudhiṣṭhira to Duryodhana, as Sanskrit scholars interpreted this crucial episode in the Mahabharata across time. Samana Gururaja analyzes how influential women married into the medieval Hoysala lineage pressed their kinship and regional networks into the service of the state’s territorial expansion. Mario da Penha explores the lives of hijra monks, who functioned as ritual beggars and mediators connecting shrines to people within the Maratha state. Amulya Mandava compares distinct claims around and evaluations of love marriages between Dalit men and dominant caste women, to appreciate the changing connotations of desire, endogamy, and kinship in contemporary Tamil Nadu. Finally, Clarisse Wells employs Navya-Nyāya philosophy to overcome the distinctions that have marred feminist debates on the metaphysics of gender, and to propose a way forward. Together, these papers engage with multiple personhoods and subjectivities across time and region in South Asia, urging new frameworks and methodologies to comprehend the place of gender within them.


Presenter 1
Christopher Fleming - fleminct123@gmail.com (University of Southern California )
Gambling with Justice: Juridical Approaches to ‘Draupadī’s Question’ in the Sabhāparvan of the Mahābhārata

Presenter 2
Samana Gururaja - samana@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
Marriage and Mobility in the Territorial Expansion of the Hoysaḷa Dynasty c. 1050 - 1300

Presenter 3
Mario da Penha - mario.dpenha@gmail.com (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)
The King’s Beggars: Hijras as Mendicant Monastic Mediators in the Eighteenth Century Western Deccan

Presenter 4
Amulya Mandava - amm304@mail.harvard.edu (Harvard University)
Inter-Caste Marriage and the Problem of Sincere Love

Presenter 5
Clarisse Wells - cwells@g.harvard.edu (Harvard University)
Reframing the Philosophy of Gender: Building the Case for a Navya-Nyāya Feminist Framework


“Recent Archaeological Advances in Ceramic, Copper/Bronze, and Iron Technologies of Ancient South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Assembly Room
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Alan Lee - aflee@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin - Madison)

Panel Organizer(s)
Alan Lee - aflee@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin - Madison)

The relationship between cultural change and technology has always been a central focus of archaeology, and scholars who have studied the Indus Valley Tradition and Gandharan region of Northwestern South Asia. As the Indus Valley Tradition at the ancient city of Harappa transitioned from the Ravi to Kot Diji to the Harappan phases, urbanizing Indus peoples adopted new technologies and opened new trade networks that allowed for social differentiation through material wealth. These cultural changes can be seen in multiple technologies, from ceramics to copper/bronze metallurgy. The first two papers in this session will focus on the Indus period ceramics and copper/bronze metallurgy. Roughly a millennium after the decline of the Indus Valley tradition, the Early Historic period of South Asia began and lasted roughly from the later half of the first millennium BC through the first millennium AD. During this time, the Gandhara region of Northwestern Pakistan was influenced by several multi- regional empires, Achaemenid, Mauryan, Kushana, Gupta etc. Likewise, new religious ideologies, such as Buddhism, affected social structures as can be observed within stucco and stone art pieces within Buddhist stupas and temples. At religious sites like the Bhamala stupa, construction materials, in the form of preserved metallic iron nails and hinges have allowed us insight into a growing local iron-working tradition of this region. The growth of this technological tradition is likewise evidenced by iron-working slag sites along ancient routes at Tehsil Batkhela. Gandhara was being connected to larger trade networks that linked South Asia to a global system spanning from the Mediterranean to Southeast Asia. The last two papers in this panel will discuss iron technology during the Early Historic Period.


Presenter 1
Sneha Chavali - schavali2@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Compositional Variation in Pottery from Harappa: Comparing the Ravi, Kot Diji, Harappan and Late Harappan Periods

Presenter 2
Brett Hoffman - bchoffman@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
Comparing the Patterns of Consumption and Use of Indus Copper and Bronze at Harappa and Neighboring Regions

Presenter 3
Alan Lee - aflee@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin - Madison)
Metallographic Analysis of Iron Samples from Bhamala Stupa

Presenter 4
Abdul Basit - processual.archaeology@gmail.com (Taxila Institute of Asian Civilizations Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, Pakistan)
Evaluating the Archaeometallurgical Potential of Tehsil Batkhela, District Malakand, Pakistan

Presenter 5
Anna Wieser - afwieser@ku.edu (University of Kansas)
Ethical Use of Remotely Sensed Imagery in Archaeological Research


At the Edges of Religions in India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Caucus Room
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

William Sherman - wsherma2@uncc.edu (UNC-Charlotte)

Panel Organizer(s)
Shahid Khan - sm7khan@gmail.com (Georgetown University)

-


Presenter 1
Matthew Kuiper - mkuiper@missouristate.edu (Missouri State University)
Popularity, Controversy, and Indirect Resistance in the Da‘wa Outreach of Indian Muslim Televangelist Dr. Zakir Naik

Presenter 2
William Sherman - wsherma2@uncc.edu (UNC-Charlotte)
Messianic Misdeeds: Sin, Heresiography, and Apocalypse in Mughal India

Presenter 3
Shankar Nair - san2k@virginia.edu (University of Virginia)
Reconsidering “Islam” in Sanskrit Doxography: Madhusūdana Sarasvatī and the Construction of Hinduism Debate

Presenter 4
Fuad Naeem - fuadsnaeem@gmail.com (Gustavus Adolphus College)
Presenting Islam to Victorians: Syed Ameer Ali, Apologetics, and the Construction of a Modern Islam in South Asia

Presenter 5
Shahid Khan - sm7khan@gmail.com (Georgetown University)
Iqbal, Azad, and Nizami: Theological Engagements with Select Hindu Texts


Multiple Bhagavadgītās: Intellectual History Through Commentaries
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Senate Room A
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Srilata Raman - s.raman@utoronto.ca

Panel Organizer(s)
Manasicha Akepiyapornchai - ma886@cornell.edu (Cornell University)

The Bhagavadgītā is perhaps the most famous of all Hindu texts, but its extensive commentarial traditions remain relatively understudied. This panel draws attention to several lesser-known commentarial streams, representing a range of languages, periods, and sectarian affiliations. It charts the reception history of the Bhagavadgītā, reminding us that it was never a single, standardized text, but emerged in multiple forms through the mediation of its commentators. Tamara Cohen examines the tenth-century Arjunopākhyāna, a subtale of the Mokṣopāya, which is known in its later Advaita Vedānta recension as the Yogavāsiṣṭha. Tamara argues that the Arjunopākhyāna rendered the Bhagavadgītā a unified Advaita text by selecting and commenting on passages that describe absolute nonduality, while leaving out the singularity of Kṛṣṇa’s divinity. Michael Allen investigates the Bhagavadgītā commentary of Śrīdhara, a fourteenth-century Advaita Vedāntin who makes the claim—unprecedented for Śaṅkara’s follower—that devotion alone, rather than knowledge, is the ultimate means to liberation. Charting three significant departures from Śaṅkara’s interpretation of the Bhagavadgītā, Allen argues that Śrīdhara’s commentary raises historical questions about what it means for a thinker to identify as a follower of Śaṅkara. From Advaita Vedānta, we move to Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta. Manasicha Akepiyapornchai traces the soteriological transition from devotion to self-surrender in Vedāntadeśika’s fourteenth-century commentaries on Bhagavadgītā 18.66, found in the Tātpāryacandrikā, the Nikṣeparakṣā, and the Rahasyatrayasāram. Akepiyapornchai argues that the three commentaries recontextualized the whole Bhagavadgītā as the teaching of self-surrender in each of these three different contexts. Finally, Tarinee Awasthi discusses two modern commentaries on the Bhagavadgītā in the colonial context, one by Sri Aurobindo and the other by Lahiri Mahasaya. Awasthi argues that these two commentaries can be used to understand attitudes towards colonial modernity and a spiritual endeavour, and contain the possibility of radically rupturing presumptions of post-Enlightenment modernity by disrupting its conception of knowledge.


Presenter 1
Tamara Cohen - tamara.cohen@utoronto.ca ()
The Arjunopākhyāna: A Unified Nondual Translation of the Bhagavadgītā

Presenter 2
Michael Allen - msa2b@virginia.edu (University of Virginia)
How to Follow Śaṅkara without Following Śaṅkara: Śrīdhara’s Commentary on the Bhagavadgītā

Presenter 3
Manasicha Akepiyapornchai - ma886@cornell.edu (Cornell University)
Three Contexts in the Śrīvaiṣṇavas’ Commentaries on the Bhagavadgītā 18.66

Presenter 4
Tarinee Awasthi - ta358@cornell.edu ()
Sri Aurobindo and Shyama Charan Lahiri: Spiritual Praxis, Knowledge, and Intellectual History


Indigeneity in the context of Extractive Industrialization: The Mineral Conflicts of East-Central India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Conference Room 1
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Alok Amatya - alok.amatya@lmc.gatech.edu (Georgia Institute of Technology)

Panel Organizer(s)
Alok Amatya - alok.amatya@lmc.gatech.edu (Georgia Institute of Technology)

India’s mineral-rich east-central region – encompassing states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Odisha – saw a growing number of social conflicts in the last three decades. Economic reforms, since the National Mineral Policy of 1993, expanded the extraction of minerals like coal, iron-ore and bauxite from the central Indian forest belt. The rapid liberalization of the mining sector also inflected the formation of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh states in 2000. Since large mining corporations of east-central India have not adequately passed on economic benefits to the region’s populace, proposed mining projects are met with resistance by indigenous (adivasi) activists and environmentalists. Resistance movements against new mining operations in Chhattisgarh and Odisha also provide the occasion for contemporary articulations of indigenous identities. While indigenous people have joined the labor force in several mining towns, more than 600 tribal villages were forcefully displaced from resource-rich areas of Chhattisgarh between 2005 and 2007, with several incidents of sexual violence. To study the plural effects of the east-central region’s expanding mineral-extraction industry – as a touchstone of India’s socioeconomic progress in the last 25 years – this panel brings together scholarly perspectives across the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, economics, literature, and geography. Our first panelist discusses new socioeconomic inequalities emerging in Santhal communities of Jharkhand that participate in nearby coal-mining operations. The second panelist examines the revitalization of Gond identity in Surguja district of Chhattisgarh in the tribe’s resistance to land-grabs by mining corporations and proselytization by dominant religions. Our third panelist studies depictions of sexual violence against indigenous women in Arundhati Roy’s essay “Walking with Comrades,” reading comparatively with a text set in the Niger Delta oil conflict of Nigeria. The co-panelists of the last presentation investigate the formation of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh states within the political economy of resource governance in India.


Presenter 1
Itay Noy - i.noy@lse.ac.uk (London School of Economics and Political Science)
Livelihoods and Inequality in the Eastern Indian Coal Belt

Presenter 2
Jay Prakash Sharma - jasharma@syr.edu (Syracuse University )
Adivasi Political Consciousness: Looking beyond Indigenous Religion

Presenter 3
Alok Amatya - alok.amatya@lmc.gatech.edu (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Tracing Gendered Violence in the Space of Global Mineral Conflicts


Immobilities, Mobilities, Legality in South Asia and the British Empire
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Conference Room 2
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Douglas Haynes - douglas.e.haynes@dartmouth.edu (Dartmouth College)

Panel Organizer(s)
yoshina hurgobin - yhurgobi@kennesaw.edu (Kennesaw State University)

Recent scholarship has underlined the importance of discarding geographical specificities and considering how colonial legal rule and legalities have formed across time and space, linking seeming disparate territories, thus creating shared and paradoxical practices. This panel examines the confluence and collision between colonial legalities and the mobilities (and immobilities) of peoples in the Indian subcontinent and British Empire. The colonial state in India, as demonstrated in Peter Hynd's paper, used excise laws to impinge on specific mobile groups (labor migrants, mendicants, small traders) to increase its revenues and assert its control. Malarvizi Jayanth's paper assesses the conflict between customary law regimenting the lives of agrarian slaves in Madras Presidency and new British laws governing the transportation for sale of the same slaves. Catherine Warner's paper uses labor migration to tea plantations in Darjeeling to examine how multiple crossings through the India-Nepal borderland reshaped notions of subjecthood as well as the various ways in which migrants shaped legal cultures of the borderland.Yoshina Hurgobin's paper examines how overlapping and diverging legal frameworks in the British Empire (Trinidad, British Guiana and Mauritius) and India shaped the propertied lives and afterlives of Indian immigrants.


Presenter 1
Catherine Warner - warnercc@bc.edu (Boston College)
Rendition, Subject Status, and Migration across the India-Nepal Borderland, 1840 to 1890

Presenter 2
Malarvizhi Jayanth - malar@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
The Mobile Slave in Abolitionist Debates from Southern British India

Presenter 3
Peter Hynd - peter.hynd@mail.mcgill.ca (McGill)
Mobility and Excise in Colonial India, 1860-1914

Presenter 4
Yoshina Hurgobin - ydhurgob@syr.edu (Kennesaw State University)
Indian Indentured Immigrants, Heirs and Colonial Governments in the British Empire


Challenges Facing South Asian Secondary States in Navigating External Relations: The Sri Lankan Case
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Conference Room 3
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Amita Shastri - ashastri@sfsu.edu (San Francisco State University)

Co-Discussant /Co-Chair
Sumudu Atapattu - sumudu.atapattu@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Panel Organizer(s)
Stanley Samarasinghe - ssamara1963@gmail.com (Tulane University)

The international community welcomed the end of Sri Lanka’s (SL) 30-year civil war in 2009 and promised support to rebuild the nation. But the country has not fulfilled these expectations. The reasons are partly domestic and partly external but the two intertwined. The three papers on this panel discuss the external dimension of the continuing political and economic instability in SL in the context of its location in South Asia, Sino-Indian competition in the region, and broader changes that are taking place in global poltical economy, security and diplomacy. Darren J. Lim and Rohan Mukherjee (Panelist) in their paper “Secondary States and Major-Power Competition in the Indo-Pacific” present a “theory of secondary state strategic choice” drawing on the behavior of Asian secondary states such as SL in the midst of Sino-Indian competition. The authors argue that “hedging” — or, the deliberate creation of ambiguity surrounding alignment decisions — emerges as one among a range of strategies that secondary states might adopt. Sri Lanka, that has close relations with both India and China, is an ideal example. Neil DeVotta in his paper “Sri Lanka’s Intermestic Quandary: Negotiating Multipolarity Amidst Sinhalese Buddhist Supremacy” notes that systems theorists argue that the international structure determines a country’s foreign policy. DeVotta argues that in the Sri Lankan case it works in the reverse direction. Sinhalese Buddhist majortarianism and ethnic disharmony dominate SL’s domestic politics. This causes the country to manipulate opportunities that regional rivalries such as India vs. China create to its own advantage. Stanley W. Samarasinghe in his paper “Sri Lanka’s Economic Dependency: The 21st Century Version” argues that the only viable path to economic prosperity for Sri Lanka is an export-led economy. But inward looking policies of the country and unresolved issues in external economic relations block that path.


Presenter 1
Rohan Mukherjee - rohan.mukherjee@yale-nus.edu.sg (Yale-NUS College)
Secondary States and Major-Power Competition in the Indo-Pacific

Presenter 2
Neil DeVotta - devottn@wfu.edu (Wake Forest University)
Sri Lanka’s Intermestic Quandary: Negotiating Multipolarity amidst Sinhalese Buddhist Supremacy

Presenter 3
Stanley Samarasinghe - ssamara1963@gmail.com (Tulane University)
Sri Lanka’s Economic Dependency: The 21st Century Version


Coercive or Co-Constitutive: Law and Society in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Conference Room 4
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

David Gilmartin - david_gilmartin@ncsu.edu (North Carolina State University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Maryam Khan - maryam.khan@ideaspak.org (Research Fellow, Institute of Development & Economic Alternatives (IDEAS), Lahore, Pakistan)

-


Presenter 1
Prashant Iyengar - psi2101@columbia.edu (Columbia University)
Making Khutput - A 'native' correlate of the rule of law

Presenter 2
Maryam Khan - maryam.khan@ideaspak.org (Research Fellow, Institute of Development & Economic Alternatives (IDEAS), Lahore, Pakistan)
Empowerment without Accountability? The Lawyers’ Movement in Pakistan and Its Aftershocks

Presenter 3
Cynthia Farid - farid@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Imperial Justice versus Imperial Constitutionalism: Judicial Politics in Colonial Bengal


State Capacity and Bureaucratic Rationality in India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Conference Room 5
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

-

Panel Organizer(s)
Himanshu Jha - jha@uni-heidelberg.de (Heidelberg University)

This panel proposes to examine: what engenders redistribution and citizen well being in India? The panel explores how a diverse liberal democracy develops the capacity to serve citizens. In this light it investigates the relationship between state capacity and the process of development. State capacity is an outcome of both ideas within the techno-bureaucratic elite and political will that produce a moral purpose of the Indian state. Rationalities within the strong arm of the state – its bureaucracies – depend to a large extent on the motivational ideologies that engender a moral purpose. These rationalities have a powerful impact on policy paradigms. The social and political sciences and the humanities need to pay greater attention to the moral purpose of the state embedded in these paradigms. The existing literature on state capacity has portrayed the Indian state as lacking capacity. The substantial literature on clientelism in Indian politics suggests the reasons why the Indian state lacks the capacity grow rapidly and promote welfare. This literature has substantially explained the bottlenecks to economic development and citizen well -being in India. It is now well known that the Indian state has entered an era of rapid economic growth. Undoubtedly, politics of redistribution is riddled with many challenges , however, the rights based approach initiated in 2004 has yielded results. The rights based approach that provides citizens the right to basic amenities such as work, education, forest resources, food, etc., like the economic reforms of 1991, constituted a watershed in the economic history of India. At this juncture it is pertinent to think deeply about how a weak state has persisted with governance. Exploring state capacity in India can throw significant light on how a post-colonial liberal democracy could successfully pursue the project of development.


Presenter 1
Bilal Baloch - bbaloch@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
Crisis and Credibility: Ideas, Power, and Political Decision-Making in India

Presenter 2
Himanshu Jha - jha@uni-heidelberg.de (Heidelberg University)
Rise and Fall of Welfare Politics in West Bengal

Presenter 3
Anindita Adhikari - anindita_adhikari@brown.edu (Brown University )
Beyond Regimes of Welfare and Towards a Relational Account of State Capacity: The Case of the National Rural Employment Guarantee in India


Cinema In and Out of Place: New Histories of Indian Film Exhibition (1960s-Present)
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Neepa Majumdar - neepamajumdar@gmail.com

Panel Organizer(s)
Kartik Nair - kartiknair@gmail.com (New York University)

Seeking to expand and challenge the historical and imagined locations of cinema in South Asia, this panel visits unexplored places of Indian film exhibition from the 1960s to the present. It offers new histories of film’s material appearance on screens that have existed after, alongside and in between the colonial film theater and the contemporary multiplex, privileged objects of film exhibition scholarship. Drawing on original interviews, archival documents and ethnographic research, the papers in this panel focus on Delhi’s deluxe theaters of the 1960s, the ramshackle video parlor of 1980s’ Bombay, and the ubiquitous cellphone screen of the 2000s and after. Chatterjee’s paper, using oral narratives and photographic archives, charts the overlaps between the urban production of specific cinematic environments and the Indian State’s aspirations for a ‘public architecture’ in the 1960s and 70s through a close case study of India’s first 70MM theater, Shiela Cinema. Re-reading newspaper and trade reports of violent police raids on video parlors, Nair delineates the challenges posed by the emergent video parlor of the 1980s to the the territorial and monopolistic control of theatrical distributors and exhibitors, and post-colonial state regimes of taxation, censorship, and copyright. Through ethnographic research into the mobilephone technoscape, Tanvir’s paper complicates Western debates about streaming by focusing on film-viewing on cellphones in India, bringing into view a new media culture marked by piracy, poor quality and regularly failing signals that produce the moving image in creative fragments. Together, the papers in this panel track the shifting scales and sites at which the cinematic object and its infrastructural environments have shaped each other and postcolonial public media cultures of the Global South.


Presenter 1
Tupur Chatterjee - tupurc@gmail.com (University of Michigan)
Rational Architectures: Delhi’s Cinematic Environments in the 1970s

Presenter 2
Kartik Nair - kartiknair@gmail.com (New York University)
Find and Erase: The Police Raid on the Video Parlor in 1980s’ Bombay

Presenter 3
Kuhu Tanvir - kut10@pitt.edu ()
Bollywood Interrupted: Circulating Cinema on Cell Phones (2005-present)


Bangalore as Multiple City: Urban Responses through Cultures of the Body
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Capitol Ballroom B
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Kareem Khubchandani - kareem.khubchandani@tufts.edu

Panel Organizer(s)
Ameera Nimjee - ameeran@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)

The city of Bangalore, or Bengaluru, has seen exponential growth in its population and corresponding infrastructure in the past twenty years. Today, it is commonly referred to as the “Silicon Valley of India” or India’s “tech capital,” especially given the surge of multinational flagship companies, “tech parks,” and call centers in its recent past. Placed against the backdrop of Bangalore’s longer history, its contemporary urban landscape represents what Bangalore-based writer Aditi De terms “Multiple City” in her edited volume of the same title (2008), which gathers perspectives on its motley of architecture, linguistic vernaculars, cultural identifiers, and geography. She writes, “It is as much at ease with the masala dosa of Vidyarthi Bhavan as with the stiff upper lip colonial traditions of the Bangalore Club, or the shining new towers and gated communities of IT-based international commerce” (2008: xvi). This interdisciplinary panel brings together four papers that respond to Bangalore as a “multiple city.” It focuses on the movement of people and bodies that maneuver and navigate the city through consumer markets, technologies of travel, spaces of queer performance, and nexuses of expressive creativity. We offer new frameworks for understanding cultures of the body, and the body as a site for multiple meaning in the context of Bangalore’s particular brand of urbanity. We bring together ethnographic projects in the study of food ecologies, bicycle cultures, nightlife spaces, and dance companies to explore: How do actors, citizens, and consumers engage with the infrastructure of the metropolis? Where and how do they move? What are the constraints and restrictions on this mobility? And how do they respond, and correspond? We approach Bangalore as a “multiple city,” offering a case study-based cross section of how its citizens move through it.


Presenter 1
Ameera Nimjee - ameeran@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
Off the Dance Floor: Mobile Intersections Among Bangalore Creatives

Presenter 2
Kareem Khubchandani - kareem.khubchandani@tufts.edu ()
B1nary C0des: Dancing Dichotomies in Bangalore’s Gay Nightlife

Presenter 3
Jonathan Anjaria - janjaria@brandeis.edu ()
Exposure: Striving and Cycling in India

Presenter 4
Camille Frazier - cfrazier@clarkson.edu (Clarkson University )
Mutton Whoppers and Ragi Mudde: Food, Health, and the Body in Bangalore


Beyond Padmaavat: Historicizing Memory in Modi’s India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Wisconsin Ballroom
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Cynthia Talbot - ctalbot@austin.utexas.edu

Panel Organizer(s)
Tanuja Kothiyal - tanuja@aud.ac.in (Ambedkar University Delhi)

The controversy over Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s recent film Padmaavat highlighted tensions between history and memory in India. This panel moves beyond the Padmaavat debate to explore diverse expressions and representations of the “popular” in the context of the “historical.” Samira Sheikh examines representations of Muslim sultans and treacherous ministers in a range of non-courtly fictional and non-fictional sources, arguing for closer examination of both popular and academic images of such figures. Malavika Kasturi explores the world of Baba Ratannath of Devi Patan in eastern Uttar Pradesh, a site of heterodox and liminal practices by Muslim nathyogis. She explores how following appropriation by the powerful Gorakhnath Math, the heterodox practices of worship associated with the shrine were marginalized. Tanuja Kothiyal explores the intricate networks of goddess temples on the borders of India and Pakistan, dedicated to miraculous women born to Charan families. She argues that while the heterodox nature of these temples is now lost, in the past they represented sites of negotiated authority in the religious and political milieu of the Thar Desert. Aparna Kapadia explores the contested memories of the Mughal conquest of Gujarat in 1591, represented through memorials dedicated to the Mughals as well their Rajput antagonists at the site of the battle of Bhuchar Mori. Together, these papers offer up for discussion the dichotomy between the popular, supposedly democratic, realm of cultural memory, and the historical or academic approach, suggesting that both strands may be constructed through selective appropriation catering to contemporary social concerns.


Presenter 1
Samira Sheikh - samira.sheikh@vanderbilt.edu (Vanderbilt University)
Tyrants and Traitors Remembered, or, What Do We Do with Inconvenient Histories?

Presenter 2
Tanuja Kothiyal - tanuja@aud.ac.in (Ambedkar University Delhi)
Crafty Devis and Devious Pirs: Charani Goddess Temple Networks in the Great Indian Desert

Presenter 3
Malavika Kasturi - malavika.kasturi@utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Religious Pluralism in the Shadow of Hindutva: Engaging Baba Ratannath, the Shrine of Devi Patan and the Gorakhnath math

Presenter 4
Aparna Kapadia - ak16@williams.edu (Williams Collge)
The Mughal Conquest of Gujarat: Rajput Histories and Memory of the Battle of Bhuchar Mori


Public Health in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: University A/B
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Annu Daftuar - annukncite@gmail.com (The State University of New York at StonyBrook)

Panel Organizer(s)
Annu Daftuar - annukncite@gmail.com (The State University of New York at StonyBrook)

In “Violence, Mourning, Politics,” Judith Butler claims “[O]ne mourns when one accepts that by the loss one undergoes one will be changed… Mourning has to do with agreeing to undergo a transformation (11). Using Butler as my point of departure, in this paper, I examine the relationship between medical care, violence, and mourning through an exploration V.V. Ganeshanathan’s short story, “Hippocrates.” Set in a warzone during the Sri Lankan civil war, the story narrates an encounter between a former LTTE female medic, now a doctor, and a female fighter, Saavi, who eventually becomes a suicide bomber. Using Nimmi Gowrinathan’s work on the female fighter, I examine the shared loss of community that leads both women to join the LTTE; and develop their competing views on violence. Medicine, I argue, becomes the site of contestation as providing healing and at the same time enabling violence. That is, if the Hippocratic oath states that a doctor should “not harm” her patients, the story raises questions about the ethical dilemma war doctors face when treating patients, who are healed only to ‘harm others’ through violence. Saavi is such a patient. In this story, Ganeshananthan explores the social and historical forces that shape the female fighter to choose death over life.


Presenter 1
Archana Venkatesh - venkatesh.29@osu.edu (The Ohio State University)
Private Lives, Public Work: Women Doctors at home in 20th Century south India

Presenter 2
Annu Daftuar - annukncite@gmail.com (The State University of New York at StonyBrook)
Regulating Commercial Surrogacy in India: A Critical Analysis of Surrogacy Bill 2016

Presenter 3
Daniel Ball - dandball@gmail.com (University of Kentucky )
An Anthropological Investigation of Doctor-Patient Consultations for Treating Mental and Emotional Distress in Post-War Eastern Sri Lanka

Presenter 4
Mita Saksena - msaks003@fiu.edu (Rutgers)
India and Global Health Security Regime

Presenter 5
Kathleen Fernando - fernandok@kenyon.edu (Kenyon College)
“Everyone Deserved Medicine”: Treating and Mourning the Female Fighter in V.V. Ganeshanathan’s “Hippocrates”


Manly Melons and Feminine Feasting: Food, Gender, and Sex in the Literatures of South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: University C/D
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Nicolas Roth - njroth@fas.harvard.edu (Harvard University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Nicolas Roth - njroth@fas.harvard.edu (Harvard University)

Perhaps even more so than other realms of human activity, the preparation and consumption of food have often been an intricately gendered as well as eroticized affair, in South Asia and elsewhere. While gender and sexuality have received growing attention in the study of South Asian history, literatures, and anthropology, and there is some nascent work on the history of the region’s cuisines and gastronomic cultures, the intersection of these fundamental human concerns in the context of the Indian Subcontinent still largely awaits scholarly consideration. To begin to address this surprising lacuna, this panel will explore textual and narrative engagements with gendered and sexual practices, ideals, and expectations surrounding foodstuffs, cooking, eating, and hospitality in various South Asian languages from the early modern period to the present. By tracing these topics through a variety of genres and time periods, from Persian lifestyle and etiquette manuals to Urdu poetry and short stories and on to Bengali novels and Santhal folk narratives, the various papers will contribute to a more nuanced understanding of both literary and social practices and ideals as well as their evolution. Moreover, they will do so in relation to a set of interconnected fields of human experience and activity – gender, sex, and food – that have frequently been at the center of debates about culture and identity in South Asia, and very much continue to be so at present.


Presenter 1
Nicolas Roth - njroth@fas.harvard.edu (Harvard University)
Of the Manliness of Cucurbitaceous Vegetables, or, The Sexual Politics of Produce in Early Modern South Asia

Presenter 2
Mou Banerjee - moubanerjee@fas.harvard.edu (Harvard University)
“Sand in the greens, salt in the milk”: Politics of love and grief in the kitchens of colonial Bengali women

Presenter 3
Sanjeev Kumar - subaltern1@gmail.com ()
Jackfruit Flowers: Reversing the Gender Narrative in an Adivasi Context

Presenter 4
sadaf Jaffer - sadaf.jaffer@gmail.com ()
The Obscenity of Everyday Life: Pleasures of Food and Sex in Ismat Chughtai’s Liḥāf


Syllables of Praise and Power: Mantras in South Asia Traditions
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Parlour Room 627
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Richard Davis - rdavis@bard.edu (Bard College)

Panel Organizer(s)
Gardner Harris - gharris@hsc.edu (Hampden-Sydney College)

Although mantras have been central to South Asian traditions from the Vedas down to the present day, modern scholarship has not always given them the attention they deserve. By addressing mantras in different media, religious contexts, and time periods, this panel explores the breadth of mantras as a category in South Asia. Engaging a wide array of material—Tamil Śaiva texts, early Indic epigraphy and iconography, and North American yoga culture—the three papers employ contrasting approaches, from the philological to the art historical to the ethnographic. In an effort to understand how mantras shape ritual, theology, soteriology, iconography, and identity, these papers are united by a common aim of critically reflecting on these syllables of power and praise. The first paper engages the neglected visual history of the sacred syllable “OM,” contributing a survey of this mantra’s diachronic and regional development in South Asian visual culture, and then offering a case study of an unpublished OM painting from early modern manuscript culture. The next paper addresses the pañcākṣara mantra in Tamil bhakti, furnishing a close analysis of Śiva's five-syllable formula as an interpretive key to the cosmological and soteriological stance of a collection of devotional hymns in a medieval Śaiva Siddhānta milieu. The last paper takes on the reinvention of the orthodox gāyatrī mantra in the modern era, exploring its innovative reception in North American yoga circles, and seeking to account for the mantra’s persistent appeal across the boundaries of time and space. With a discussant who has published widely on these topics, this panel should provide a rigorous yet wide-ranging conversation on mantras in South Asian religions.


Presenter 1
Finnian Gerety - finnian_moore-gerety@brown.edu (Brown University)
Inscribing the Sacred Syllable: Towards a History of OM Iconography

Presenter 2
Gardner Harris - gharris@hsc.edu (Hampden-Sydney College)
Sound before Praise: the Pañcākṣara Mantra in Māṇikkavācakar's Tiruvācakam

Presenter 3
Neil Dalal - ndalal@ualberta.ca (University of Alberta)
Absorbing Savitṛ: Ritual innovation and Universalization of the Gāyatrī Mantra


Local Realities and Representations: Reconsidering Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain Figures in Specific Contexts
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Parlour Room 634
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Ali Smears - ali.smears@mail.mcgill.ca (McGill University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Ali Smears - ali.smears@mail.mcgill.ca (McGill University)

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Presenter 1
Ali Smears - ali.smears@mail.mcgill.ca (McGill University)
“Mobilizing Shakti: Hindu goddesses and campaigns against gender-based violence”

Presenter 2
Phil Lagace - pll434.usask@gmail.com (Concordia University)
Ardhanārīśvara: Dedicated Sites of Worship for a Composite Hindu Deity


Rethinking the Murder of the Mahatma: Political Assassinations and the Burdens of History
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Parlour Room 638
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Anand Yang - aay@uw.edu (University of Washington)

Panel Organizer(s)
Neeti Nair - nn2v@virginia.edu (University of Virginia)

2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the assassination of Gandhi in New Delhi. Seventy years later, there is still very little understanding regarding the motivations of the assassin, Nathuram Godse, and the modes by which he has become such a popular (and polarizing) figure. We do not know how artists, writers, ideologues, politicians from various parties and bureaucrats, indeed the citizenry at large, have been shaped by the assassination, and responded to it. We do not know how ideologies held central to the newly independent Indian state, such as secularism, were shaped by the assassination. We have the barebone narrative of the fate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in the immediate aftermath of the assassination, but little understanding of how the Hindu Right went on to own or disown the reasons behind this violence, so elaborately explained by the assassin himself during his trial. The spectacular rise of the Hindu Right in India, along with the rise in popularity of the assassin himself make these questions particularly urgent ones, particularly for historians of India who have also been rather silent on this paradigmatic moment that shaped the new nation. The bulk of the historiography around the assassination has focused on technicalities such as whether or not the Congress government did enough to prevent the final attempt on Gandhi’s life. This panel makes very different sets of historiographical interventions. Ramaswamy explores artistic representations of the assassin to understand what is at stake in making him visible. Chaturvedi examines V.D. Savarkar’s elaboration of the political assassination as a key component of his conceptualization of violence as an ethical mode of conduct for Hindus. Nair studies the arguments made by Nathuram Godse during his trial, and its consequences for the debate on secularism and the fate of minorities in India.


Presenter 1
Sumathi Ramaswamy - sr76@duke.edu (Duke University)
How to Paint an Assassin, or Not

Presenter 2
Vinayak Chaturvedi - vinayak@uci.edu (UC Irvine)
The Place of the Political Assassination

Presenter 3
Neeti Nair - nn2v@virginia.edu (University of Virginia)
Godse’s Legacy for Gandhian Secularism


The Political Life of “Smartness”: Of Technological Subjectivities in South Asian Cities
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Madison College D240 - 1
Floor: Madison College

Discussant/Chair

Simanti Dasgupta - sdasgupta1@udayton.edu (University of Dayton)

Panel Organizer(s)
noopur raval - noopur.raval@gmail.com (University of California Irvine)

Cities all over South Asia are witnessing a rise in "smart" technologies of governance. While the most prominent “smart” narratives are coming from the postcolonial State’s eager push to wire urban spaces through infrastructure and surveillance projects, other parallel and counter-moves are emerging in conjunction and disjunction. Therefore the city-space is being made “smart” by consumption, communication and mobility practices of those who dwell in urban spaces. With state-citizen relations being mediated by digital technologies, the official rhetoric underlying the adoption of digital solutions by both state and non-state providers is to provide quicker, corruption-free, accessible government services. Citizens, too, "talk back to the state" and, in doing so, interface with and resist forms of digital authority. Outside of the citizen-State relationship, relationships of class, gender, caste, and capital are also being “updated” to find a place for the self in the South Asian Smart city. Recognising this urgent imperative we attempt to attend to the simultaneous apparatuses that (re)produce the space of the South Asian Smart city and the self within it to understand contemporary political life in South Asian societies. Our two-part panel gathers various insights from different social and material contexts, be it the variegated notions of being mobile or manoeuvring proper notions of visibility. We ask several questions through this panel to develop sharper apparatuses to probe the proliferation of material, symbolic, and affective relations, that citizens and states have, to "the technological" and, to understand contemporary political life in South Asian societies. The object of inquiry of this panel emerges from the assemblage of rhetorics, practices, and feelings entangled with the legibility afforded by 'smart technologies' in everyday life. Encompassing a wide variety of empirical contexts, we attempt to conceptualize the "smarting processes of techno-subjectivation" to theorize state power and citizen engagement.


Presenter 1
Noopur Raval - naraval@uci.edu ()
Outsmarting for relief: how ridesharing drivers “manage” space, people and visibility in Bengaluru

Presenter 2
Tariq Rahman - tlrahman@uci.edu ()
What is Finance?: Land, Speculation, and Postcoloniality in Pakistan

Presenter 3
Eveleen Sidana - eksidana@ucdavis.edu (University of California, Davis)
Mediating images from ‘smartening’ city of Pune, India


Rethinking Education Provision in 21st Century South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Madison College D240 - 2
Floor: Madison College

Discussant/Chair

Emmerich Davies - emmerich_davies_escobar@gse.harvard.edu (Harvard Graduate School of Education)

Panel Organizer(s)
Aditi Tandon - adtandon@iu.edu (Indiana University Bloomington)

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Presenter 1
Emmerich Davies - emmerich_davies_escobar@gse.harvard.edu (Harvard Graduate School of Education)
Skeptical Democrats: Education for All and Political Participation in India

Presenter 2
Anindita Chatterjee - chatt051@umn.edu (University of Minnesota)
A tale of two cases: intellectual property battles and the jurisprudence of access to knowledge in India

Presenter 3
Aditi Tandon - adtandon@iu.edu (Indiana University Bloomington)
Equal Educational Opportunity or Educational Opportunities of Equal Worth: The Case of Oppressed Caste Groups in India

Presenter 4
Sudipta Roy - suroy@umail.iu.edu (Indiana University Bloomington)
Does Schooling Legitimize Development? Ethnographic Observations from Coastal Schools in Bangladesh

Presenter 5
Jessica Chandras - jessu1006@gwu.edu (The George Washington University)
The Aksharnandan School: A moral imperative for mother tongue medium education for the middle class in India


Sanskrit’s Legacy Across Time and Space
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Madison College Meeting Room 1
Floor: Madison College

Discussant/Chair

Justin Henry - jhenry4@luc.edu (Loyola University Chicago)

Panel Organizer(s)
Justin Henry - jhenry4@luc.edu (Loyola University Chicago)

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Presenter 1
Emily West - ebwest@stkate.edu (St. Catherine University)
Tzvi Abusch - abusch@brandeis.edu ()
Seeds of Uncertainty: The Transmutation of the Mesopotamian Flood Myth in India

Presenter 2
Justin Henry - jhenry4@luc.edu (Loyola University Chicago)
Of Kokilas and Jaguars: Modern Sanskrit Revivalism in Sri Lanka

Presenter 3
Justin Brown - browjust@iu.edu (Indiana University)
Breathing the Divine: Examining Agency, Reward, and Imagination in the Rgveda

Presenter 4
Anirudh Karnick - akarnick@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
A Past of Our Own: Religious vocabulary, the popular, and idioms of the inner in Dwivedi’s Hindi literary histories


Specialized Crafting and Socio-political Interaction in Ancient South Asia: Internal and External Networks, Hard and Soft Stones
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Assembly Room
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Geoffrey E. Ludvik - ludvik@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin - Madison)

Panel Organizer(s)
Geoffrey E. Ludvik - ludvik@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin - Madison)

The examination of specialized craft production and the exchange of crafted commodities has a central role in tracing socio-political networks in the ancient world. From the prehistoric period on, societies in South Asia accessed the subcontinent’s significant raw material outcroppings to fashion objects of personal adornment, practical utility, and social symbolism using specialized knowledge and unique techniques and materials. The quality of resources collected in the region as well as the skill of South Asian craftsmen in producing commodities for use and exchange made these raw materials and finished products lucrative items for trade. Whether considering steatite or carnelian beads, or other types of artifacts, specific areas of South Asia were historically major centers for the production of commodities by highly skilled craft specialists. Objects and materials from South Asia themselves can thus be seen as important indicators of socio-political and economic networks that linked geological sources, craft workshops, and consumers in different parts of South Asia as well as to more distant regions like Oman and the Persian Gulf, Mesopotamia and the Levant, and Korea and Japan. Recently, the quality and quantity of information about past societies that the study of specialized craft products can provide has been greatly improved using scientific approaches to these artifacts and their geological and cultural origins. The papers in this panel present the most recent studies of skilled crafting and its relationship to socio-political interaction in South Asia and in areas linked to this region. Specifically, these papers focus on stone resources, both hard and soft. Two papers discuss production and trade of carnelian beads. The other two discuss a recent analysis of steatite bead provenance and reconstructed trade networks. Together, these papers provide new insights into the nature of these highly specialized craft technologies and socially-significant interregional interactions in South Asia.


Presenter 1
Randall Law - rlaw@wisc.edu ()
The Geological Provenience and Exchange of Harappan Steatite Beads, Part 1: INAA of beads from Pakistan, India, Oman & Iran

Presenter 2
Brad Chase - bchase@albion.edu (Albion College)
The geologic provenience and exchange of Harappan steatite beads, Part 2: modeling circulation

Presenter 3
Geoffrey E. Ludvik - ludvik@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin - Madison)
Indus Style Carnelian Beads and the Population Migrations into the Southern Levant: 2500-2000 BCE

Presenter 4
Lauren Glover - llglover@wisc.edu (UW-Madison)
The Production and Trade of Faceted Stone Beads from South Asia: Implications for the study of pan-Asian trade


Before and After Partition: The Emergence of an Idea, and its Afterlife
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Caucus Room
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Subho Basu - subho.basu@mcgill.ca (McGill University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Subho Basu - subho.basu@mcgill.ca (McGill University)

Whereas Partition is usually framed in terms of memory and trauma in the post-colonial moment, this panel will investigate the broader history leading up to this event beginning with the earlier partition of Bengal in 1905. Our papers examine the different ways in which civil society, aesthetic production, and other ideological formations were harnessed to the cause of the Partition. According to the preeminent historian Gyanendra Pandey, “[t]here was a very short time – a mere seven years – between the first formal articulation of the demand for a separate state for the Muslims of the subcontinent and the establishment of Pakistan.” Despite, or perhaps because of, the short period of time within which these demands had to be articulated and developed, the Partition lives on in both material and subjective histories as one of the most violent events in human history. This violence manifested itself particularly in sexual and gendered forms, locating women as sites of communal property and exerting control over them. While the study of this violence is the central focus of our works, we also want to open the question in an intersectional manner, to think about how various socio-economic communities in India, spanning the spectrum of caste, class, religion, and region, all experienced the rise of the two-state theory, the partition, and its extensions into the future, in different and specific manners. In this context, we ask what the role of official histories and counter-memories is with respect to Partition. How has the discourse of Partition been harnessed by various political and cultural institutions across South Asia for their ends, both sectarian and resistant, and in what ways does it continue to haunt the politics of aesthetics?


Presenter 1
Suvij Sudershan - suvij.sudershan@mail.mcgill.ca ()
“Resolving the “Death Train” in Shyam Benegal’s Yatra (1986)”

Presenter 2
Zain Mian - zainmian@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
War of the Words: Narrativizing Partition in Pakistani State Textbooks and Qurratulain Hyder’s River of Fire

Presenter 3
Felix Fuchs - felix.fuchs@mail.mcgill.ca (McGill University)
Absent Cause: Qurratulain Hyder, Abdullah Hussein, and the longue durée of Partition


Yamuna in Context: Innovation and Argument in medieval South Indian intellectual history
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Senate Room A
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Srilata Raman - s.raman@mail.utoronto.ca

Panel Organizer(s)
Whitney Cox - wmcox@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)

Grand-teacher of the celebrated Ramanuja, and recogized as the second founder of the Srivaisnava tradition, Yamanacharya (fl. ca. 1000?) is one of the pivotal figures in Sanskrit intellectual history. In this panel, we aim to better understand this remarkable figure and his works, both internally as a corpus and as a transformation of the major debates and methods of medieval Indian intellectual life. Aleksandar Uskokov presents Yamuna’s summary and analysis of the Bhagavadgita, the Gitarthasamgraha, as marking a crucial point in the exegetical history of that most foundational work of Sanskrit religious literature. As Uskokov demonstrates, it is only in this work that the division of the Gita into three groups of six chapters is first offered, an interpretation of the text which would be shared by all subsequent commentators regardless of sectarian or doctrinal affiliation, which had discernable consequences in soteriological theory far beyond the Srivaisnava sampradaya. Whitney Cox argues for a reinterpretation of Yamuna’s major surviving complete philosophical text, the Agamapramanyam, suggesting that the work may be understood as centrally invested in the social and political theorization of the Brahmanical estate. Through close examination of the work’s argumentative and rhetorical structure, and through adducing evidence of other, analogous efforts in earlier Sanskrit sastric works and in contemporaneous inscriptional documents, the stakes of Yamuna’s bravura intervention can be reconstructed, and its success measured. Finally, Larry McCrea offers a wide-ranging reading of Yamuna’s entire philosophical corpus. Placing his works in conversation with a host of other early second millennium texts, McCrea argues that Yamuna disrupted the intellectual protocols and disciplinary boundaries of the system of medieval Brahmanical knowledge, and that his real contribution may have been the novel generic and argumentative rearrangement that emerges in his surviving works.


Presenter 1
Aleksandar Uskokov - uskokov@wisc.edu (Yale University)
"A Bhakti Sandwich: Reflections on Yamuna's Gitarthasangraha"

Presenter 2
Whitney Cox - wmcox@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
Insurgent Brahmanism: Yamuna’s Agamapramanyam as political thought

Presenter 3
Lawrence McCrea - ljm223@cornell.edu (Cornell University)
Outsider Intellectual: Yāmunācārya and the Sanskrit Disciplines


The Materiality of Religion at Kailasanath and Kanchi: Exploring the Embodiment of Religion at a Pallava Temple and its urban settings
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Conference Room 1
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Richard Mann - richard.mann@carleton.ca (Carleton University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Richard Mann - richard.mann@carleton.ca (Carleton University)

The three papers for this panel focus on the materiality of religion in both ancient and contemporary contexts. The essays seek to understand the role of material culture, such as temple sculpture, portable images, and ritual paraphernalia on religious traditions as they were expressed in the city of Kanchipuram, South India. While Richard Mann’s and Padma Kaimal’s papers focus on religious imagery carved on a specific temple—the Kailasanatha, royal temple of the Pallava dynasty—Emma Natalya Stein’s paper looks at objects and images that circulated throughout the city and its temples. Each essay takes an in-depth look at the use of images, objects, and other forms of expression established in the Pallava era in order to examine relationships between static and dynamic forms of religiosity. How did the placement of sculptures reveal religious traditions? How did it help construct these traditions? What was the role of commerce in the growing circulation of knowledge? The papers further examine the role played by material culture in expressing certain perceptions of religiosity and how those perceptions have transformed over time.


Presenter 1
Richard Mann - richard.mann@carleton.ca (Carleton University)
Materializing the Epic: Kailasanath and the Mahabharata

Presenter 2
Padma Kaimal - pkaimal@colgate.edu (Colgate University)
Categories and culture: excavating thought from the sculptures of the Kailasanatha temple in Kanchipuram

Presenter 3
Emma Natalya Stein - emma.stein@yale.edu (Yale)
Gods to Go: Circulations of Religious Material Culture in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu


South Asian Diaspora: Negotiating Borders, Belonging, Separation, and Identity
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Conference Room 2
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Lisa Knight - lisa.knight@furman.edu (Furman University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Karimah Rahman - karimah.rahman@ryerson.ca (Ryerson University)

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Presenter 1
Admir Skodo - admir.skodo@sasnet.lu.se (Lund University)
The External and Internal Control of Afghan Asylum Seekers in Sweden in the 1980s and the 1990s

Presenter 2
Lisa Knight - lisa.knight@furman.edu (Furman University)
Writing Bangladesh: Exiled Secular Bangladeshis in Nordic Countries

Presenter 3
Saira Chhibber - 17sc28@queensu.ca (Queen's University)
New Media Representations of diasporic South Asian women

Presenter 4
Karimah Rahman - karimah.rahman@ryerson.ca (Ryerson University)
How is the Old South Asian Diaspora in Trinidad and Guyana “Othered” by Mainland South Asians?


Politics and Protest in Literatures of Nepal
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Conference Room 4
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Kritish Rajbhandari - kritishrajbhandari2012@u.northwestern.edu (Northwestern University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Kritish Rajbhandari - kritishrajbhandari2012@u.northwestern.edu (Northwestern University)

Over the past six decades of its modern history, Nepal has experimented with different political forms oscillating between parliamentary democracy and authoritarianism, while tackling structural inequalities rooted in history and inherited in the forms of caste, class, gender, and ethnic marginalization, which it shares with its South Asian neighbors. This panel aims to explore how the literatures written and produced in different languages in Nepal engage with political exigencies at local, regional, and global levels. We ask: How do writers engage with Nepal’s embattled histories, attend to its present-day discontents, and imagine new political futures? How does literature and cinema as the medium for politics, protest, and activism shape, consolidate, or contest identities in relation to nation, ethnicity, language, and gender? How does literature from Nepal reflect on political crises, violence, and refugee problems in South Asia? The papers in this panel examine the ways in which literary writings function as modes of thinking about democracy and freedom in the context of Nepal, and South Asia at large. Covering a range of literary and cinematic texts in Nepali as well as indigenous languages, the papers address the issue of political representation and activism at various fronts including local politics of indigeneity, critiques of nationalism and gender, international relations, and global politics.


Presenter 1
Khem Guragain - guragaink@gmail.com ()
Belonging or Unbelonging: The Gurkha’s Daughter and the Contradictions of Nationalism

Presenter 2
Pushpa Acharya - pushpa.acharya@mail.utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Democracy and Women's Fiction in Nepal

Presenter 3
Kritish Rajbhandari - kritishrajbhandari2012@u.northwestern.edu (Northwestern University)
Self-Reflexivity and the Politics of Language in Nepal Bhasa Literature


Fieldwork, women’s work: identity, surveillance, and the ethics of research in and after Sri Lanka’s civil war
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Conference Room 5
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Sharika Thiranagama - sharikat@stanford.edu (Stanford University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Mythri Jegathesan - mjegathesan@scu.edu (Santa Clara University)

In May 2009, Sri Lanka’s nearly 26-year-long civil war came to an end. In August 2011, the Government of Sri Lanka relinquished its grip on regulations that had kept the country in a 28-year-long state of emergency. In March 2018, after a series of violent attacks on Muslim communities, the Government briefly reinstated emergency regulations—a move signaling the limits of postwar transitional justice mechanisms and the state’s failure to demilitarize civil society. Researchers in Sri Lanka have long anticipated such emergency conditions, but little attention has been paid to the embodied impacts of militarization and surveillance on women researchers in Sri Lanka at intersections of race, gender, and inequality. This panel brings together four women of color scholars to explore the ethics and conditions of conducting research during emergency and in first decade after the end of Sri Lanka’s war. Specifically, the panel asks how surveillance and militarization impact research relationships and methodologies and women researchers’ long-term commitments to working in and writing about Sri Lanka. Each paper questions how research and writing are entangled and presents ethical projects that demand specific negotiations of embodiment, care, mistrust, belief, and confirmation. From examining the temporalities and larger histories of suspicion and doubt among minority communities in the South-Central tea plantations and Eastern coastal areas to presenting interventions in ethnographic, fiction and creative nonfiction writing that reflect the delicate praxis of building knowledge through social relations, these papers ask how an awareness of surveillance and its accompanying visible and invisible sensibilities activate more engaged ways of knowing and writing about Sri Lanka. In doing so, these papers ask how such ethical commitments relate to broader questions of research methodologies, collaborations, and experience within related conditions of surveillance and militarization in South Asia.


Presenter 1
Mythri Jegathesan - mjegathesan@scu.edu (Santa Clara University)
Doing research under emergency and in postwar transition: the optics of surveillance on Sri Lanka’s tea plantations

Presenter 2
Neena Mahadev - neena.mahadev@gmail.com (Yale-NUS College)
Shibboleth: language, misrecognition, and research in a time of checkpoints

Presenter 3
V.V. Ganeshananthan - vganesha@umn.edu (University of Minnesota)
Writer Acca: moving in and out of surveilled and family spaces as a writer

Presenter 4
Vivian Choi - vivianychoi@gmail.com (St. Olaf College)
Situated field research in Sri Lanka’s militarized spaces


Working Women: On and Off Screen in Pakistani and Indian Cinema
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Zeltzyn Rubi Sanchez Lozoya - zrubisl@gmail.com (University of Texas at Austin)

Panel Organizer(s)
Zeltzyn Rubi Sanchez Lozoya - zrubisl@gmail.com (University of Texas at Austin)

In the area of South Asian cinema studies, the women on screen have been a bigger subject of investigation in comparison to their off-screen counterparts. This panel aims to shift the lens towards contemporary women working in the Pakistani and Indian film industries. Using the tools of ethnography and close readings, the papers included in this panel aim to shine a light on the works created by female filmmakers, the challenges they face while working in the industry, and the reception of their work. Working Women analyzes the work of women in order to better provide a feminist critique of the industry itself and to further the representation of women in scholarly and professional discourses. The papers selected show a variety of disciplinary approaches to the question of women in South Asian film beyond actors and characters. With a special interest on consumption, as it relates to film distribution, exhibition, and viewing, these papers look at how factors like transnational mobility, film-critics, and the corporatization of film-making affect films made by and centrally about women.


Presenter 1
Zeltzyn Rubi Sanchez Lozoya - zrubisl@gmail.com (University of Texas at Austin)
Beyond the camera: Women in the Mumbai Filmmaking industry.

Presenter 2
Rebecca Peters - rlp08c@fsu.edu (Florida State University)
Perpetuating Patriarchy: How Film Reviews Read Women-Directed Films

Presenter 3
Nabeeha Chaudhary - chaudhnz@gmail.com (University of Texas, Austin)
Home, Mobility, and the 'New Woman' - - Dobara Phir Se and the 'New' Pakistani film


Gender, Religion, and Violence in Contemporary India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Capitol Ballroom B
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Sucheta Kanjilal - skanjilal@ut.edu (University of Tampa)

Panel Organizer(s)
Wajiha Mehdi - wajihafatimamehdi@gmail.com (University of British Columbia)

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Presenter 1
Niveditha Menon - niveditha@cbps.in (Centre for Budget and Policy )
"Even if it was my own father, I would have testified; he was merely my husband": The individual and the collective in narratives of empowerment

Presenter 2
Sucheta Kanjilal - skanjilal@ut.edu (University of Tampa)
Muscular Mahabharatas: Masculinity and Transnational Hindu Identity

Presenter 3
Wajiha Mehdi - wajihafatimamehdi@gmail.com (University of British Columbia)
Hindu Nationalism, Muslim Identity formation & Gendered Mobility: A case study of Aligarh, India

Presenter 4
Reena Kukreja - kukreja.reena@queensu.ca (Queen's University)
Masculinity Under Siege: Meo Muslim Masculinity and Contemporary Hindutva

Presenter 5
Anisha Anna Anthinattu - 619106@soas.ac.uk (SOAS)
Not just rape: Contextualising the complainant's understandings of consent, coercion, agency and resolution.


Decentering India
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Wisconsin Ballroom
Floor: Floor 2

Shefali Chandra - sc23@wustl.edu (Washington University in St Louis)
Shefali Chandra - sc23@wustl.edu (Washington University in St Louis)
Nishant Upadhyay - kneeshant@gmail.com (University of Massachusetts Dartmouth)

The project to annihilate a hegemonic formation runs the risk of re-centering that very entity. However, the centrality of India to the theoretical, methodological and even temporal contours of South Asia as well as of globalization must be critically examined, and urgently. In this round-table, we build a conversation between scholars working on the margins of India, on the territories occupied by India, on any aspect of non-Indian South Asian nations, regions, and countries, and those working to expose the universalistic claims of India. Our aim is to collaborate on the process and the stakes of de-centering an increasingly hyper-real “India”. India plays an essential, and dominating role in framing the politics and scholarship on South Asia. Simultaneously, “India” anchors the academic discourses of world historical change: from colonial and empire studies to postcolonial theory, cultural studies, subaltern studies, social movements, alternative modernities and transnational feminism, the invocation of “India” has been vital, even indispensable. Meanwhile, figures such as M.K. Gandhi, Arundhati Roy (etc.) are de-contextualised and then re-invoked as Indians who have provided the paradigmatic blue-print for combating the ceaseless plunder of global capitalism. Bollywood and yoga, among other things, are celebrated as iconic symbols of Indian and therefore anti-imperial cultural possibility. Our round table strives to critically examine this recurrent reiteration of “India” by querying why “South Asian studies” has re-inscribed a certain idea of India. How have upper-caste Indian and white academics, across disciplinary and ideological trajectories, propagated this hegemonic idea of India? What exactly is at stake in bringing the “margins” of South Asia together, and that too at the Madison South Asia Conference? Finally, how and why has the North American academy extended the idealistic reach of India beyond its geographic and economic frontiers?


Presenter 1
DINA SIDDIQI - dmsiddiqi@gmail.com (New York University)
Presenter 2
Saadia Toor - saadia.toor@csi.cuny.edu
Presenter 3
Mona Bhan - monabhan@depauw.edu (DePauw University)
Presenter 4
Shaista Patel - patel_shaista@yahoo.com
Presenter 5
Arun Rodrigo - rodrigo.nedra@gmail.com (York University)
Presenter 6
Nishant Upadhyay - kneeshant@gmail.com (University of Massachusetts Dartmouth)

Sex-ing the Nation: Gender and Sexuality in South Asian Literature and Media
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: University A/B
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Gohar Siddiqui - gsiddiqui@clarku.edu (Clark University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Mehreen Jamal - mehreen@email.uark.edu (University of Arkansas )

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Presenter 1
Rovel Sequeira - rovelseq@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
Death of a Museum Foretold?: Toward a Postcolonial Hermeneutic of the Sex Museum in India

Presenter 2
Ujaan Ghosh - gerrardghosh@gmail.com (UW Madison)
Amrita Chowdhury - amrita.chowdhury@mail.mcgill.ca (Mcgill)
Reading Upendra Bhanja’s Baidehisa Bilasa: Situating a Queer and Erotic Ramayana in the Courtly culture of Early Modern Odisha

Presenter 3
Mehreen Jamal - mehreen@email.uark.edu (University of Arkansas )
"Mehfil-e-Tahzib": A bridge between readers and writers of the Women's Magazines

Presenter 4
Gohar Siddiqui - gsiddiqui@clarku.edu (Clark University)
Feminist Consciousness and Limits of #LipstickRebellion in Lipstick Under My Burkha

Presenter 5
Debadatta Chakraborty - debadattacha@umass.edu (University of Massachusetts, Amherst )
Queering Bollywood: Sexuality of the Disabled Body


Creatively Writing South Asia
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: University C/D
Floor: Floor 2

Sareeta Amrute - amrutes@uw.edu (University of Washington)
Sareeta Amrute - amrutes@uw.edu (University of Washington)
Megan Moodie - mmoodie@ucsc.edu (UC Santa Cruz)

As a vibrant, interdisciplinary terrain, South Asian Studies has produced experimental, genre-crossing research and writing. Experimental writing on South Asia has told Dalit and women’s stories, explored working class urban communities, enriched depictions of everyday Islam as well as Muslim courtly life, and expressed the struggles of plantation laborers. Yet in South Asian studies, there has been very little discussion of writing per se: How do we decide upon genre or voice as we craft our accounts? How do the rich and diverse literary traditions of South Asia shape and inform our writing in whichever language it occurs? What is the relationship between projects that are labeled “creative” and more conventional academic practice and accounting; put another way, how do we add creative work to our CVs? What kind of collaborative spaces might need to be opened to allow for more experimentation and play in writing? This session seeks to open the black box of writing-as-craft and provide participants with space to collaborate on answers to these questions and many more. More atelier than panel, each participant will bring a piece of work-in-progress that somehow pushes against traditional genres. We will be as concerned with the emergent form of each piece – its structure, word choice, cadence, and imagery – as with its content. Participants will circulate a description of their project and a short excerpt before the October conference; the roundtable will begin with a “reading” from each participant from their work and then a collective discussion of the individual pieces as well as broader themes. Our goal is to generate ideas for one another’s nascent creative works, create a list of ideas and resources for further writing experimentation, and to brainstorm what it might mean institutionally to write South Asia creatively from within and in-between disciplinary formations.


Presenter 1
Megan Moodie - mmoodie@ucsc.edu (UC Santa Cruz)
Presenter 2
Rashmi Sadana - rsadana@gmu.edu (George Mason University)
Presenter 3
debarati sen - dsen@kennesaw.edu (Kennesaw State University)
Presenter 4
Dwaipayan Banerjee - dwai@mit.edu
Presenter 5
Reema Rajbanshi - rajbanshir@wlu.edu

Translating Revolution in Early 20th c. India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Parlour Room 627
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair
Panel Organizer(s)
Ajay Skaria - skari002@umn.edu (University of Minnesota)

In the first half of the early twentieth century, especially in the wake of the Russian Revolution, the concept of revolution-articulated through many translations of the word into Indian languages-seizes the imagination of poets, writers, thinkers and political actors in the Indian subcontinent. Subramania Bharati's famous poem is written almost immediately in its wake; the Ghadar party invokes the Russian example; British officials express fear over the spread of "Bolshevism" in the subcontinent. As elsewhere in the world, what makes the communist revolution so charged is its twofold promise-first, of a social transformation which empowers the most marginal and, second, of the instantaneousness of that transformation. But these promises raised many questions that could be answered only by working through the singularities of the subcontinent. What would be the relation between political change (in the sense of Indian self-determination) and social change (which would fracture the very unity of the "Indian" which mainstream nationalists sought and assumed)? Would not instantaneous social change, as distinct from political change, necessarily involve violence? Could the most marginal groups-Dalits or kisans, for example-even attempt an instantaneous social change, given their very marginality? Did not their hopes rest rather in attempting a structural change? The papers in this panel will explore how the issues raised by the promises of the communist revolution are articulated and reworked by various South Asian thinkers (especially Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Indulal Yagnik, Bhagat Singh), and in translations of the Communist Manifesto.


Presenter 1
Benjamin Conisbee Baer - bencbaer@princeton.edu ()
Translation/Revolution

Presenter 2
Simona Sawhney - beboval@gmail.com ()
Bhagat Singh, Ambedkar, and rhe Concept of Revolution

Presenter 3
Ajay Skaria - ajayskaria@gmail.com (University of Minnesota)
Evil, Hindutva. Ambedkar.


Expressing Caste, Class, and Social Mobility in India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Parlour Room 629
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Aaron Sherraden - aaron.sherraden@gmail.com (University of Texas at Austin)

Panel Organizer(s)
Aaron Sherraden - aaron.sherraden@gmail.com (University of Texas at Austin)

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Presenter 1
Christina Davis - c-davis@wiu.edu (Western Illinois University)
A Life History of a Man Named Hitler: Caste, Class, and Social Mobility in Mumbai, India

Presenter 2
Ketaki Jaywant - jaywa001@umn.edu (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
Politics at the Intersection of Caste and Knowledge: A Focus on Nineteenth Century Anti-caste Critique in Western India.

Presenter 3
Aaron Sherraden - aaron.sherraden@gmail.com (University of Texas at Austin)
Comparing Shambuka's Crimes in Two Hindi Dramas

Presenter 4
Ruma Sinha - rusinha@syr.edu (Syracuse University)
The Politics of Publication, Dissemination, and Translation of Dalit Women’s Memoirs


Of Trajectories and Thresholds: Place, Space and Mobility in the Temples of Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Parlour Room 634
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Richard Davis - rdavis@bard.edu (Bard College)

Panel Organizer(s)
Archana Venkatesan - avenkatesan@ucdavis.edu (University of California, Davis)

Recent scholarship has begun to dismantle notions of the Tamil temple as a static site, simply acted upon through expansion, renovation, or changing patterns of worship. Temples are now understood as dynamic, ever-shifting spaces constituted discursively, ritually, and architecturally through the interactions of gods, devotees, priests, and donors. Taking as their case-studies temples in the Tamiraparani region in southern Tamil Nadu, the three panelists consider the processes of place-making through movement, paying particular attention to the liminality of temple thresholds. Leslie Orr shows how inscriptions document the creation of temporary ritual spaces within the walls of the temple. The inscriptions give voice to gods, rulers, and the people of the temple; Orr analyzes what the inscriptions’ location on the temple walls, particularly near entrances and doorways, may signify with respect to the meanings of the spaces they create. Anna Seastrand, too, asks us to pause at the threshold, at the towering gopura, a gateway through which one enters into the sacred space of the temple. Instead of a lateral movement into the heart of temple, Seastrand takes us on a vertical journey, through the painted and sculpted interior tiers of the gopuras of the Tirukkurungudi temple, invisible and inaccessible to most devotees. Archana Venkatesan’s paper examines the intersection of time and space at the temple of Tirukkurungudi and the December ‘Gateway to Heaven’ Festival. This festival facilitates Vishnu’s descent to earth and the mokṣa of Nammāḻvār, his most important devotee. She demonstrates that this annual festival destabilizes the boundaries between earth and heaven and between god and devotee, and only resolves when authority is vested in the Maṭha attached to the temple and its titular head. Richard Davis brings his insights and expertise in temple ritual and material religion as panel discussant.


Presenter 1
Leslie Orr - orr.leslie@gmail.com (Concordia University)
Making and Marking Place in the Temples of Medieval Tamilnadu

Presenter 2
Anna Seastrand - anna.seastrand@gmail.com (University of Minnesota)
Lingering on the Threshold: The Interior Life of the Gopura

Presenter 3
Archana Venkatesan - avenkatesan@ucdavis.edu (University of California, Davis)
Cosmic Doorway: Time, Space and Transformation in ‘Goodbye, Mokṣa’


Insurgency, counter insurgency and post-insurgency in South Asia: Rebellion and state responses in North East, Punjab and Kashmir, and Maoist insurgencies in Nepal and India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Parlour Room 638
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

-

Panel Organizer(s)
Shivaji Mukherjee - shivaji.mukherjee@utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)

This panel brings together papers using different methods to look at the causes of rebellion and counter insurgency in South Asia, and also the long term effects of transitional justice after insurgency ends. In a paper using individual level data, Prakash Adhikari analyzes public opinion after the end of the Maoist insurgency in Nepal. He probes the question of what explains why post-conflict compensation programs are often criticized for lacking fairness. Philip Hultquist addresses the question of variation in counter insurgency strategies used by the Indian state, and compares across the insurgencies in Kashmir, Punjab and India’s North East to understand why attempts to deal with the political demand so often fail and why states are so rarely able to defeat insurgent movements via hardline/supply-side strategies. Anoop Sarbahi asks what accounts for the variation in rebel mobilization in India? He draws upon ethnographic work in Northeast India studying Naga, Mizo and Meitei insurgencies and utilizes a diverse range of methodological tools to argue that efforts of rebel entrepreneurs to mobilize an ethnic group are conditioned by the socio-structural constitution of the group, which are historically determined by the spread of organized religion among these indigenous groups. Shivaji Mukherjee investigates whether colonial institutions played a role in creating the conditions for sons of the soil (SoS) type insurgency? He finds that there are sons of the soil dynamics in some of the Maoist insurgencies in India, and uses the case of Bastar region in Chhattisgarh to process trace exploitation of resources from colonial times and their persistence as internal colonialism into post-colonial times.


Presenter 1
prakash adhikari - adhik1p@cmich.edu (cmu)
Transitional Justice in the Aftermath of Maoist Insurgency in Nepal

Presenter 2
Philip Hultquist - phultquist@gmail.com (Command and General Staff College)
Coercion and compromise in Indian counter-rebellion strategies: Integrating political and military approaches to managing conflict

Presenter 3
Anoop Sarbahi - sarbahi@umn.edu ()
Anchoring Rebellion: Ethnicity, Religion & Insurgent Mobilization

Presenter 4
Shivaji Mukherjee - shivaji.mukherjee@utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Colonial Legacies, Internal Colonialism and Sons of the Soil insurgency: Maoist conflict in Chhattisgarh, India


Pleasure, Punish, Panic: the social life of technology in urban India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Madison College D240 - 1
Floor: Madison College

Discussant/Chair

Jonathan Anjaria - janjaria@brandeis.edu

Panel Organizer(s)
Sneha Annavarapu - snehaa@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)

The second session of the multi-panel panel titled "South Asia Updated: new considerations of technology, infrastructure, affect and the urban", this group of papers considers the social life of technological interfaces in contemporary India. While the most prominent “smart” narratives are coming from the postcolonial State’s eager push to wire urban spaces through infrastructure and surveillance projects, other parallel and counter-moves are emerging in conjunction and disjunction. Taking into consideration moments emergent in the circulation of rhetorics, practices, and affects around the digital, this panel extends the conversation to look more closely at how the city-space is being made and unmade by consumption, communication and mobility practices of those who dwell and move in urban spaces. Citizens, too, "talk back to the state" and, in doing so, interface with and resist forms of digital authority. Outside of the citizen-State relationship, relationships of class, gender, caste, and capital are also being “updated” to find a place for the self in the South Asian Smart city. Recognising this urgent imperative we attempt to attend to the simultaneous apparatuses that (re)produce the space of the South Asian Smart city and the self within it to understand contemporary political life in South Asian societies. We ask several questions through this panel to develop sharper apparatuses to probe the proliferation of material, symbolic, and affective relations, that citizens and states have, to "the technological" and, to understand contemporary political life in South Asian societies. The object of inquiry of this panel emerges from the assemblage of rhetorics, practices, and feelings entangled with the legibility afforded by 'smart technologies' in everyday life. Following up on debates on the "political life of smartness" in South Asia, this panel extends the conceptualization of "smarting processes of techno-subjectivation" to think through questions of urban belonging.


Presenter 1
Kat Frances Lieder - lieder@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Sex and the City: Performance and Sexual Education Online with Agents of Ishq

Presenter 2
William F Stafford Jr - wstafford.jr@berkeley.edu (UC Berkeley)
The Screen, the Box, and the Signal: the Panic Button and the Impossible Localisation of Danger

Presenter 3
Sneha Annavarapu - a.sneha91@gmail.com (University of Chicago)
“Outsmarting the panopticon?” Of drivers, traffic rules, and policing in Hyderabad, India


Education in South Asia: Anticipation, Aspirations, and Outcomes across Generations
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Madison College D240 - 2
Floor: Madison College

Discussant/Chair

Jonathan Spencer - jonathan.spencer@ed.ac.uk (University of Edinburgh)

Co-Discussant /Co-Chair
Helen Ullrich - heullrich@bellsouth.net (Tulane University Medical School)
Panel Organizer(s)
Helen Ullrich - heullrich@bellsouth.net (Tulane University Medical School)

Education provides access to the golden age for some and a change from a caste system to a class system. For others, education reinforces old inequalities. The three papers of this panel through longitudinal studies seek to understand the importance given education in South Asia and the disillusionment when the educated fail to reap the expected rewards. Despite disillusionment, the experience of the presenters reveals that education remains a priority. This panel proposes to provide an overview of the different types of education and insight into its significance for two geographical areas, Sri Lanka and Rajasthan. Historian-anthropologist, Nita Kumar documents the curricular practices of modern Indian schools, which include both the taught curriculum and the “hidden curriculum.” She illustrates how the “hidden curriculum” in particular insidiously serves to reinforce the very hierarchies the education system claims to eliminate. Documenting the collaboration and computing skills of illiterate tenant farmers, R. Thomas Rosin argues this laid the foundation for subsequent success in formal schooling. The knowledge and skills, which schools and hostels provided, empowered educated members of the tenant class to challenge and transform a feudal regime. Through a longitudinal study of a Sinhalese village, Deborah Winslow provides an in depth understanding of the spread of schools through rural Sri Lanka. Rural school availability is a more significant determinant than gender for educational accomplishment. Her analysis addresses the origins of Sri Lanka’s current high literacy rate and lack of gender disparity.


Presenter 1
Tom Rosin - homasgailrosin@att.net ()
Thinking Through Livelihood: How a Peasantry of Princely Rājpuṭāna Became Educated and Activist Rural Citizens of Rajasthan, India

Presenter 2
Nita Kumar - nita.kumar@claremontmckenna.edu (Claremont McKenna College)
The Curriculum, and the Hidden Curriculum, in Indian Education, 1985 to the Present

Presenter 3
Deborah Winslow - dwinslow@nsf.gov (National Science Foundation)
Gender Differences in the Early Years of Schooling in Rural Sri Lanka

Presenter 4
Helen Ullrich - heullrich@bellsouth.net (Tulane University Medical School)
A Multigenerational Study of Education in a Karnataka Village


Interrogating the Cultural Politics of South Asian Public and Popular Cultures in Historical and Contemporary Contexts
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Madison College Meeting Room 1
Floor: Madison College

Discussant/Chair

Snehal Shingavi - snehal.shingavi@utexas.edu (University of Texas Austin)

Panel Organizer(s)
Ahmed Afzal - a_afzal222@hotmail.com (California State University, Fullerton)

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Presenter 1
Tania Saeed - taniasaeed@gmail.com (Lahore University of Management Sciences)
Ideology and the curriculum: Exploring the case of Urdu textbooks in government schools in Punjab, Pakistan

Presenter 2
Ahmed Afzal - a_afzal222@hotmail.com (California State University, Fullerton)
JACKSON HEIGHTS (2015): TRANSNATIONAL LIVES AND THE SOUTH ASIAN MUSLIM IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE IN URDU-LANGUAGE PAKISTANI TELEVISION DRAMAS

Presenter 3
Snehal Shingavi - snehal.shingavi@utexas.edu (University of Texas Austin)
Nation, Class, and Gender: Joginder Paul’s Ek Boond Lahu Ki and the Crisis in Nehruvian Socialism

Presenter 4
Alexander Jabbari - jabbari@ou.edu (University of Oklahoma)
Shibli and the Arabs: Identitarian Problems in Urdu Historiography


Religious Materiality in Pre-modern South Asia, 1300-1800
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Assembly Room
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Arun Brahmbhatt - arun.brahmbhatt@gmail.com (St. Lawrence University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Owen T Cornwall - ocornw01@tufts.edu (Tufts University)

In the last decade, art historians have increasingly examined the ways that material culture mediates religious ideology in pre-modern South Asia. By examining monumental architecture, epigraphy, illustrated manuscripts, textiles, and numismatics, this new scholarship moves beyond a focus on conspicuous consumption to the ways in which materials and religions were co-produced. Our panel engages this scholarship by opening a dialogue between studies of scribes, artisans, devotional networks, and mercantile exchange that discusses both the meanings of material and the ways in which the facture and quiddity of material extends meaning into functional and practical horizons of experience. Our studies take advantage of the hybridity of objects and monuments to examine tensions between theology and devotional practice; regional and inter-aesthetics; and intersectional concerns of political economy before European colonialism and during its early stages.


Presenter 1
Liza Oliver - eoliver3@wellesley.edu (Wellesley College)
South Asian Painting Traditions and the Making of European Natural History in Eighteenth-Century French India

Presenter 2
Owen T Cornwall - ocornw01@tufts.edu (Tufts University)
Religion, Empire, and Science in the Delhi Sultanate, 1300-1400

Presenter 3
Usman Hamid - usman.hamid@gmail.com ()
The Value of Muslim Relics in the Indian Ocean World: Three Perspectives from the Late-Sixteenth Century


What is a South Asian Muslim?
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Caucus Room
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Akbar Ahmed - akbar@american.edu (American University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Chad Haines - chad.haines@asu.edu (Arizona State University)

South Asia has the largest concentration of Muslims in the world and also one of the most diverse, spanning distinct nation-states, representing extremely different ethnic communities, with a huge number of theological orientations, as well as a number of significant political, social, and pious movements. Yet, Muslims are often collapsed into essentialized categories driven by national politics and geo-political strategic interests. Being divided across three nation-states, the postcolonial/nationalist experience of Muslims reorients and disrupts everyday lives giving rise to radically distinct expressions of Muslimness in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. In India, Muslims are defined as a minority, more often than not as a foreign minority where food, love/marriage, and identity are employed to marginalize and terrorize Muslims today. In Bangladesh, the nationalist conflation of Bengali (language) and Bangladeshi (nationality) erases minority Muslims from belonging and deepens the problematic relationship with newly arrived Rohingya refugees. While in Pakistan Muslims are fragmented into diverging and conflictual sects with deep ethnic, caste, and class divisions to assert claims over defining both the nature of the state as well as national identity. These ruptures are often violently casting a long shadow over the experience and meaning making of everyday Muslims. These issues are not just nationalist rhetoric, but lived realities. Based on these distinct experiences, drawing upon Akeel Bilgrami reflecting on “What is a Muslim?” we ask “What is a Muslim in South Asia?” In engaging this question panelists will probe a variety of issues and approaches, contextualized in particular postcolonial histories. The panel’s overarching concern is mapping the divergent ways Muslims are being represented and in the modes through which they assert their identities. Panel sponsored by the South Asian Muslim Studies Association


Presenter 1
M. Raisur Rahman - rahmanmr@wfu.edu (Wake Forest University)
“Cut them to Size”: Marginalization of Muslim Minorities in Uttar Pradesh

Presenter 2
Yasmin Saikia - ysaikia@asu.edu (Arizona State University)
The “Illegal” Muslim or “Bangladeshi” in Assam

Presenter 3
Navine Murshid - nmurshid@colgate.edu (Colgate University)
Bengali Muslim Identity in Neoliberal Times

Presenter 4
Chad Haines - chad.haines@asu.edu (Arizona State University)
Whiskey Drinkers, Muslims, and Roads of Divergence in Pakistan


Vedānta and Literature
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Senate Room A
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant/Chair

Ajay Rao - ajay.rao@utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)

Panel Organizer(s)
Shiv Subramaniam - sks2184@columbia.edu (Columbia University)

While Vedānta has often been understood as a philosophical system grounded in Sanskrit scholastic or exegetical prose, in recent years scholars have sought to develop a more expansive notion of it. A 2015 panel at Madison, for example, focused on Vedānta’s role in shaping philosophical and religious argument in the second millennium. A 2017 panel focused on Vedāntic texts written in languages other than Sanskrit, arguing that such texts are crucial for understanding the cultural life of Vedānta in the vernacular millennium. Presenters on these panels often saw non-canonical materials—materials usually considered didactic, derivative, or philosophically unoriginal—as indispensable for reconstructing the whole of the Vedānta archive. Our panel continues this scholarly trend by highlighting the complex relationship between Vedānta and literature. While scriptural commentary and monographs were the mainstay of Vedāntic writing, many Vedāntins showed a special interest in literature, whether by interpreting literary works in terms of their doctrines or by composing poems of their own. Our papers sample the different kinds of investment that Vedāntic writers had in literature. Shiv Subramaniam will examine the Haṃsasandeśa of Vedāntadeśika (1268-1369), arguing that the descriptive passages which resist allegorical interpretation aren’t merely decorative but central to the poem’s theological premises. Anusha Rao will discuss the Rukmiṇīśavijaya, a poem by the 16th century Mādhva monk Vādirāja, which reads the rivalry between Dvaita and Advaita traditions of Vedānta into the epic tale of Jarāsandha. Anand Venkatkrishnan will examine Nārāyaṇa’s 17th century Advaita commentary on the Bhagavadajjukam, a satirical play from the 7th century Pallava court. He will locate the commentary's attempt to excavate the "hidden" meanings of the comedy in its literary, historical, and performative context.


Presenter 1
Shiv Subramaniam - sks2184@columbia.edu (Columbia University)
Image-Making in Vedāntadesika's "Message of the Goose"

Presenter 2
Anusha Sudindra Rao - anusha.sudindrarao@ucalgary.ca (University of Calgary)
When Philosophers become Demons: Jarāsandha in Vādirāja’s Rukminīśavijaya

Presenter 3
Anand Venkatkrishnan - anand.venkatkrishnan@gmail.com (Harvard University)
The Hermit, The Harlot, and the Holy Roller: Deep Reading in 17th C. Kerala


Assessing Modi's India
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Senate Room B
Floor: Floor 1

Sanjay Ruparelia - ruparelia@newschool.edu (New School for Social Research)
Sanjay Ruparelia - ruparelia@newschool.edu (New School for Social Research)

In May 2014, Narendra Modi became 15th prime minister of India. The remarkable ascendance of the controversial chief minister of Gujarat, enabling the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to secure a rare parliamentary majority, signalled a new era in modern Indian politics. Indeed, under Modi the BJP has rapidly expanded its political dominance, defeating opposition parties in successive assembly elections. His government has also pursued many policy initiatives and institutional reforms in the name of rapid neo-industrial modernization, from Smart Cities, Make in India, and demonetisation to Aadhaar and direct cash transfers. Furthermore, the prime minister has pursued myriad efforts to strengthen India’s position in key bilateral relations and multilateral fora. Yet his tenure has witnessed the growing executive power and a harsh crackdown on civil society. And renewed attempts by the sangh parivar to realize a militant Hindu nationalist vision, not least by targeting minorities through campaigns such as ghar wapsi and love jihad, has increased everyday communal violence.   This roundtable seeks to examine these major developments and assess their consequences for democracy, secularism and welfare in India today. The chair and organizer, Sanjay Ruparelia (Politics, New School for Social Research), will examine how far Narendra Modi has been able to centralize executive power vis-à-vis the Lok Sabha and Supreme Court, and the ramifications of his foreign policy ambitions. Gilles Verniers (Political Science, Ashoka University) will analyze how the BJP has been able to defy anti-incumbency by explaining its new electoral strategy. Amrita Basu (Political Science, Amherst College) will investigate how the populism of the Modi government undermines its opponents by appealing to the democratic ideal of popular sovereignty. Finally, John Harriss (International Studies, Simon Fraser) will assess the effectiveness of the major economic policy and social welfare initiatives in light of the grand promises the administration made in 2014.


Presenter 1
Amrita Basu - abasu@amherst.edu (Amherst College)
Presenter 2
John Harriss - jharriss@sfu.ca (Simon Fraser University)
Presenter 3
Gilles Verniers - gilles.verniers@ashoka.edu.in (Ashoka University)

Postcolonial Life and Ecological Discourses
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 1
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Sayantan Saha Roy - sayantan.saharoy@gmail.com (University of Chicago)

Panel Organizer(s)
Elizabeth Bittel - elizabeth.bittel@colorado.edu (University of Colorado at Boulder)

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Presenter 1
Paroma Wagle - waglep@uci.edu (University of California, Irvine)
Deliberative Processes for Addressing Intra-State Water Conflicts: The case of Maharashtra, India

Presenter 2
Elizabeth Bittel - elizabeth.bittel@colorado.edu (University of Colorado at Boulder)
Livelihood Recovery in Sri Lanka's East Coast following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Civil War (1983 - 2009)

Presenter 3
Pooja Nayak - nayakp@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
“Taming of the Wild Horse”: Iron-Ore, Crickets, and Value-Making in the Western Ghats

Presenter 4
Biswajit Mohanty - mohantyagastya@gmail.com (Deshbandhu College, University of Delhi)
Babita Verma - babitaverma21@gmail.com ()
Belongingness and Place: Making of "Ecologic" Border

Presenter 5
Sayantan Saha Roy - sayantan.saharoy@gmail.com (University of Chicago)
How to do things with Life: Notes from the National Green Tribunal


Defining Family by Law: Migration, Marriage, and Inheritance in British India and the Indian Ocean
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 2
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Mytheli Sreenivas - sreenivas.2@osu.edu (Ohio State University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Elizabeth Lhost - elizabeth@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin–Madison)

Recent debates over immigration policy in the U.S. have put the idea of “bona fide” family members at the forefront of decisions over who can be travel, who can immigrate, and who will be documented. In these discussions, kinship terms and normative legal understandings of proximity have assumed a new, potent meaning, one that often takes these definitions for granted. Bringing together three examples connected to the British Empire in South Asia and the Indian Ocean, this panel questions the idea of family as a legal concept and looks at the way imperial policies made and unmade families as individuals traveled, migrated, moved, and married. The first paper by Elizabeth Lhost considers the role Muslim marriage registration played in the legal definition of family in North India. While designed to record nikāḥ marriages, the qazi’s register became, by default, an archive in which individuals documented other legal pasts and familial futures. Such transcriptions challenged imperial understandings of what marriage registration could do by referring to other legal events and documenting complex legal lives. Kalyani Ramnath’s paper turns to the post-WWII period to consider the making of national identities through family relations on both sides of the Palk Strait. Using migrant petitions and court cases from Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu, the paper considers government efforts to (mis)understand family relations to determine where people belong and whose citizens they might be. The final paper by Julia Stephens considers Indian migrants in another context: South Africa. Tracing the legal afterlives of migrant passenger numbers as clues in the project of establishing transnational genealogies, the paper looks at the entangled histories of bureaucracy and family across the Indian Ocean. Mytheli Sreenivas will serve as discussant, bringing together these papers and the ideas of legal family they offer.


Presenter 1
Elizabeth Lhost - elizabeth@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin–Madison)
From Marriage Registers to “Muslim Travel Bans”: Making Families Legal in Moments of Documentary Uncertainty

Presenter 2
Kalyani Ramnath - kalyaniramnath@fas.harvard.edu (Harvard University)
All Together in One Place : Familial Attachments as Political Attachments in Post-WWII India and Sri Lanka

Presenter 3
Julia Stephens - julia.stephens@rutgers.edu ()
Family by Number: Bureaucracy and Genealogy among Indian Indentured Migrants to South Africa


Sovereignty and Liminality in Northeast India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 3
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

-

Panel Organizer(s)
Sravana Borkataky-Varma - borkatakyvarmas@uncw.edu (University of North Carolina-Wilmington)

Northeast Indian Studies has focused a lot on issues concerning sovereignty and violence. While this panel begins from this overarching theoretical premise, the three papers here focus on the minutiae of life, living, resistance and survival in the liminal zones created by forms of sovereignty and quotidian modalities of terror. Through a reading of an Assamese short story on political violence, Amit Baishya’s paper focuses on a liminal form of creaturely existence: the ambivalent figure of a stray dog. Baishya argues that Arupa Patangia Kalita’s “Bonjui” is unique in the oeuvre of literature on political terror from Assam because it probes the corporeal agency of an animal figure. The dog, he argues, is a figure that facilitates an exploration of nonsovereign ways of being in a terror-universe. Papori Bora’s paper is predicated on a feminist reading of the iconic hunger strike by Sharmila Irom, and studies how this resistant act can be read through its placement within the intersecting axes of sovereignty, disciplinary power and biopolitics. Finally, Sravana Borkataky-Varma’s paper focuses both on terror and legal discourse by focusing on how the liminal realm is central to the world of magic as practiced in contemporary Assam. By focusing on case studies of healing rituals from snake-bites and the rise of witch hunts in Assam, Borkataky-Varma analyzes how the liminal realm facilitates polyvalent interpretations of magical rituals at the level of everyday life. Taken together, these three papers, thus, attempt to push beyond the impasses and aporias of sovereignty by focusing on liminal zones, practices and forms of being in this borderland region.


Presenter 1
Swati Chawla - sc2wt@virginia.edu (University of Virginia)
Sikkim and the Doomed Project of “National Integration” in Postcolonial India, 1975-1994

Presenter 2
Amit Baishya - amit.baishya@gmail.com (University of Oklahoma)
Wag the Dog: Canine Bodies as “Living Signs” in Arupa Patangia Kalita’s “Bonjui”

Presenter 3
Papori Bora - borapapori@gmail.com (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
Gender, Sovereignty and the Law: Postcolonial Feminist Reflections

Presenter 4
Sravana Borkataky-Varma - borkatakyvarmas@uncw.edu (University of North Carolina-Wilmington)
Enchantments: Tantra, Magic, and the Liminal in Assam


Experiments with Governance Under Neoliberalism in India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 5
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Amit Prasad - prasada@missouri.edu (University of Missouri-Columbia)

Panel Organizer(s)
Arafaat Valiani - valiani@uoregon.edu (University of Oregon)

Important scholarship underscores the effects of neoliberal economic reform which includes opportunities for (massive) profit making and other forms of resource acquisition in addition to exacerbating already-sharp inequities in income, housing, food and employment security among several other kinds of effects. This panel contributes to this discussion by exploring if and how neoliberal reform produces opportunities for experiments with new state, institutional and market configurations, through initiatives that seek to improve governance, regulation and market transparency, instead of only witnessing the eclipse of state power by domestic or foreign capital under market reform. Papers in this panel examine cases in which the state seeks to disrupt centuries-old kin-based trading networks that have eluded its ‘proper’ hold over the bazaar, the opportunities and challenges of new insolvency and bankruptcy laws and the evolution of electronic voting machines as a branded technology through which India exports its vision of elections and democracy globally.


Presenter 1
Amy Cohen - cohen.308@gmail.com (Ohio State University)
Governing Through Markets: Multinational Firms in the Indian Bazaar

Presenter 2
Patrick Jones - patrickj@uoregon.edu (University of Oregon)
Arafaat Valiani - valiani@uoregon.edu (University of Oregon)
Regimes of Value and Electronic Voting Machines from India

Presenter 3
Adam Feibelman - afeibelm@tulane.edu (Tulane University)
Quandaries of India's Bankruptcy and Insolvency Laws


The 1970s – Literature, cinema, and other political temporalities.
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Ayelet Ben-Yishai - abenyishai@univ.haifa.ac.il (University of Haifa)

Panel Organizer(s)
Ayelet Ben-Yishai - abenyishai@univ.haifa.ac.il (University of Haifa)

The 1970s in South Asia – structured on a tension between a discourse of crisis, excess, and anomaly, and a concomitant rhetoric of cohesion and historical continuity – present a distinct set of questions to those working on its literature, cinema and culture more broadly. While many of its large historical and political events were represented in the period’s film and literature, this panel takes a different approach to the relationship between politics and culture. Rather than attempting to understand the history and politics of this period via its cultural representations, we would like instead to think of the renegotiation of modes and forms of representation in the 1970s. Situated as a watershed moment – one seemingly recognized at the time – between the nation-building era and impending globalization, South Asian culture seemed to be thinking about politics beyond the grand historical event and through its temporality and its situation in time. We show how cultural production of the 1970s negotiated contemporary tensions – between politics and culture, between cinema and print, prose and poetry, English and Hindi, experimental and lowbrow – to rethink its connection with past forms and prefigure future ones, all while contending with its own sense of untimeliness. These tensions are compounded by the marked disparity between the period as experienced by elites, by the burgeoning middle classes, and by subaltern populations (who largely paid the price for its excesses). Ultimately, we question our own contemporary need as scholars to return to the 70s, and even our own periodization, wondering whether this decade – or even the idea of a decade – is in fact a cogent temporal category. In so doing, we present an extensive and wide-ranging formal analysis of cultural production that complements the more nation-based research agenda, legacy of much postcolonial criticism.


Presenter 1
Roanne Kantor - roannekantor@gmail.com (Stanford University)
1970s: Between the Booms

Presenter 2
Rahul Mukherjee - mrahul@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
Vigilante Figurations, then and now

Presenter 3
Vikrant Dadawala - vikrantd@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
The kasba, the vanguard and the avant-garde: Mani Kaul's Muktibodh

Presenter 4
Ayelet Ben-Yishai - abenyishai@univ.haifa.ac.il (University of Haifa)
Allegorical Interventions: The Political Urgency of OV Vijayan


On Consent in Performance and Law
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Capitol Ballroom B
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Rumya Putcha - rsputcha@tamu.edu (Texas A&M University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Rumya Putcha - rsputcha@tamu.edu (Texas A&M University)

This panel proposes an exploration of the absence of rhetoric around consent in Indian thought, literature, performance traditions, and law. With marital rape still not a reified crime in modern India, consent is presumed to be present in a multitude of circumstances. For example, Divya Cherian’s work on gender and the law in eighteenth-century Marwar reveals that in all documented cases of marital infidelity, rape is never mentioned. In other words, consent is not questioned. We argue through our papers that consent is not questioned because the potential givers of consent in our studies - women - are not considered fully equipped to be able to do so. The four speakers address consent - and the absence thereof - through distinct lenses: the courtesan tradition and Hindu nationalism (Putcha), Krishnaite poetry and the language of harassment (Du Perron), marriage practices (Abraham), and legal reform with regard to rape (Basu). While these lenses draw on separate research traditions and methodologies, we will argue that the areas of study are, in fact, entirely interconnected. The end of panel discussion, led by Putcha, will in part revolve around the question of how these distinct areas inform and influence each other. We aim to get closer to a critical theory of consent, accounting for the paradox of requiring authoritative (patriarchal, heteronormative) consent for consent to even exist.


Presenter 1
Srimati Basu - srimati.basu@uky.edu (University of Kentucky)
Between Consent and Embodiment: Towards a Materialism of Agency

Presenter 2
Rumya Putcha - rsputcha@tamu.edu (Texas A&M University)
On Implied Consent: The Modern Courtesan and Rape Cultures in Transnational India

Presenter 3
Lalita du Perron - lalita.duperron@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin - Madison)
“She never said no and I was only teasing her anyway: on pranking, harassment, and consent in Krishnaite poetry and performance”


Subject Position, Wellbeing, and Healing in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: University A/B
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Sarah Lamb - lamb@brandeis.edu (Brandeis University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Lauren Nippoldt - lnippold@ucsd.edu (University of California, San Diego)
Lesley Jo Weaver - ljweaver@ua.edu (University of Alabama)

The ways in which people define experiences of wellbeing and respond to health concerns are shifting in contemporary South Asia. Over the past few decades, rapid social change has led to urbanization, growing consumerism, and changes to the family structure, all of which bring potential problems and solutions for wellbeing and health. New concerns for wellbeing, including the growing attention to mental health and non-communicable diseases, have emerged within development and health sectors. The increase in privatization of health services and the shortcomings of public health systems in South Asia create differential access to certain types of services, and many people continue to turn to other forms of care and healing to treat illness and foster wellbeing. The anxieties and transformations of everyday life as a result of modernity and contemporary political environments differentially impact health and wellbeing based on one’s subject position. This panel asks: How do intersecting subject positions, such religion, caste, class, gender, age, and ability, shape experiences of wellbeing, illness, and approaches to care and healing? How is wellbeing and health defined differently across subject positions? How does illness, wellbeing, or caregiving remake subject positions? What avenues are available for treatment, care, or healing, and which are chosen or deemed most efficacious based on subject position? Finally, how do intersubjective relationships impact experiences of wellbeing, illness, and healing? This panel invites papers that explore how subject positions in contemporary South Asia impact wellbeing and health as well as the access to or avenues for care or treatment.


Presenter 1
Utpal Sandesara - utpal.sandesara@gmail.com (University of Pennsylvania)
Struggling with Sonlessness: Sex Selection, Medical Pluralism, and the Quest for the Good Life

Presenter 2
Lauren Nippoldt - lnippold@ucsd.edu (University of California, San Diego)
Serving Others: Stress and Wellbeing among Sikh Sevadars

Presenter 3
Lesley Jo Weaver - ljweaver@ua.edu (University of Alabama)
Conceptualizing distress among South Indian women in Mysore, Karnataka

Presenter 4
Robert Else - rjelse@crimson.ua.edu ()
How Muslim men in Jaipur, Rajasthan navigate identity and treatment choice for psychosocial stress

Presenter 5
Jocelyn Marrow - jocelynmarrow@westat.com (Westat)
Psychiatry Versus Spirit Healing as Remedies for Intrafamilial Inequality


Rethinking Miraji: Explorations in Miraji's Poetics
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: University C/D
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant/Chair

Geeta Patel - patel.weston@gmail.com

Panel Organizer(s)
Krupa Shandilya - kshandilya@amherst.edu (Amherst College)

This panel examines the understudied corpus of Urdu poet, Miraji. Mīrajī, is one of the most innovative modern Urdu poets of the Indian subcontinent. Like many artists, he borrowed freely from whatever poetic traditions inspired him-French symbolism, ancient Greek poetry, English and American modernism, ancient Chinese poetry. Unlike his contemporaries, he absorbed these outside influences and fused them into daring new forms such as a lyric with a metrical structure that drew on both Hindi and Urdu meters, nonsense verse and folk songs. Mīrajī's mixing of meters and forms was a result of his considerable erudition and a creative self-conscious foray into hybridity. Although Miraji is one of the great Urdu modernist poets of the twentieth century, his work has been neglected because of its complexity and its overtly sexual themes, and there is only one academic work on his oeuvre: Geeta Patel's Lyrical Movements, Historical Hauntings. This panel aims to address the paucity of scholarship on Miraji by examining various aspects of his oeuvre. Some questions we will consider are: What are Miraji's poetic influences (both in Urdu and outside Urdu) and how do they shape his poetry? How did Miraji's views on literature (collected in his essays) impact the subject of his poems? How do we understand his sexual themes in the context of literary modernism? This panel is also interested in Miraji's reception-both historical and contemporary, and to this end, it asks: How has the historical reception of Miraji as a "sexual and difficult" poet, influenced scholarly work and literary retellings of Miraji's life and his works?


Presenter 1
Krupa Shandilya - kshandilya@amherst.edu (Amherst College)
Miraji's Sexual Themes: Sexuality and A New Urdu Literary Modernism

Presenter 2
Khadeeja Majoka - zara.majoka@gmail.com (The New School)
Miraji's Jadid Sha'yari

Presenter 3
Noor Habib - nhabib@umass.edu ()
Voyage en Inde: Miraji's creative re-imagining of Baudelaire in Calcutta

Presenter 4
Bilal Hashmi - bjh294@nyu.edu ()
Pour (for) Mīrājī


Translating Dalit Writing from Hindi as "World Literature"
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 627
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Laura Brueck - laura.brueck@northwestern.edu (Northwestern University)

Panel Organizer(s)
Christi Merrill - merrillc@umich.edu (University of Michigan)

This panel grows out of our collective work selecting and translating pieces for a special issue on Dalit Writing in Hindi forthcoming in the online literary journal, Words Without Borders. In a discussion of the curation and translation of the specific texts in this issue, we collectively consider the intervention of Dalit literature into the contested discursive space of “World Literature.” Can Dalit literature, which is squarely situated within multiple borders – geographic, linguistic, and most significantly, social – successfully be translated into borderless fiction, that, as the journal suggests, can contribute to a “global literary conversation”? What kinds of challenges does Dalit literature pose to the very notion of circulating and reading literature beyond the borders in which it is created and to which it responds? What kinds of editorial choices make it possible to move beyond borders, and what kinds of translational challenges undercut this possibility? How might we as South Asianists — translators and also teachers — consider ways of framing these texts to our readers/students in ways that underscore both their bordered particularity and their global relevance?


Presenter 1
Christi Merrill - merrillc@umich.edu (University of Michigan)
Bringing the Eccentricities of Translation Center-stage

Presenter 2
John Vater - jjv4jr@virginia.edu (University of Iowa)
Dalit Literature’s Text and Context: Translating Across Communities, Aesthetics, and Audiences


Colonial and Postcolonial Identities in the Performing Arts
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 629
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Jason Busniewski - jason.busniewski@gmail.com (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Panel Organizer(s)
Praveen Vijayakumar - praveenvijayakumar7@gmail.com (University of Pennsylvania)

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Presenter 1
Lakshmi Damayanthi - lbulath1@binghamton.edu (State University of New York, Binghamton)
Woman, Motherhood and Practice: Challenging the Traditions in Post-Independence Sri Lankan Drama

Presenter 2
Jason Busniewski - jason.busniewski@gmail.com (University of California, Santa Barbara)
The Great Highland Bagpipe: Race, Military Service, and Processional Music from Scotland to Garhwal, North India

Presenter 3
Praveen Vijayakumar - praveenvijayakumar7@gmail.com (University of Pennsylvania)
Swadeshi Saṅgītam from the South: T.C.R. Johannes’ Parata Caṅkīta Cuvaya Pōtiṉi (1912)

Presenter 4
Conner VanderBeek - csv@umich.edu (University of Michigan)
Whose Punjab? Bhangra, Gurdas Maan, and the Multitemporal, Sikh Framing of Indian Punjab

Presenter 5
Samitha Senanayake - sssenanayake@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin Madison)
The Woman as the Hyphen in Urban-Folk Theatre: A Comparative Study of Girish Karnad’s Hayavadana and Ediriweera Sarachchandra’s Manamē Nātakaya


Contesting and Constructing Hinduism from Abroad
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 634
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Neilesh Bose - nbose@uvic.ca (University of Victoria)

Panel Organizer(s)
Andrea Wright - agwright@wm.edu (College of William and Mary)

How is Hinduism evident in bodily symbols and forms? What practices and imaginings index Hinduism outside of India? The papers in this panel analyze and contextualize moments of the construction and contestation of Hinduism and Hindu identity around the world. These papers do not assume an originary Indian purity or diasporic mixedness. Instead, they recognize that cultural productions are never pure. We attend to the politics of what Aisha Khan has called “mixing metaphors,” the power relations reproduced and disputed in claims to mixing or purity (Khan 2004). We also consider how affect and practice are used to represent India and Hinduism in diasporic and transnational contexts (Manekaker 2015). These papers show how both religious practices and the constitution of Hinduism are shaped by immediate political and social conditions. Rocklin looks at Hinduism in Trinidad and shifting attitudes towards firewalking practices. Mehta discusses how an anti-caste movement spearheaded by African Americans was inspired by involvement in the Hare Krishnas and a “Vedic” spirituality. Finally, Wright examines how religious celebrations represent a relationship between Hinduism, citizenship, and wealth for Indians living in the United Arab Emirates. Together these papers consider how Hinduism is invoked, contested, and engaged with by people living outside of the subcontinent.


Presenter 1
Alexander Rocklin - alex.k.rocklin@gmail.com (College of Idaho)
Draupadi through the Fire: The Performativity of Religion, Normative Hinduism, and the Decline of Old Style Firewalking in Colonial Trinidad

Presenter 2
Purvi Mehta - purvi.mehta@coloradocollege.edu (Colorado College)
Empathy as Religious Practice in Transnational Affiliations Against Racism and Caste Discrimination

Presenter 3
Andrea Wright - agwright@wm.edu (College of William and Mary)
Home for the Holidays: Hindu Celebrations in the United Arab Emirates


Ethics of Violence in South Asian Religion
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 638
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant/Chair

Jarrod Whitaker - whitakjl@wfu.edu (Wake Forest University)

Panel Organizer(s)
David St John - stjohnd999@gmail.com (University of Texas: Austin)

In the history of South Asian religion, various traditions have used different ethical frameworks to justify acts of physical violence. Confronted by the apparent rupture between the desire to circumscribe conflict and the erupting violence of lived realities, religious communities seek to address this rupture in a way that permits certain acts of violence without compromising the core ethics of the tradition in question. As a result of these tensions, religions develop ethical frameworks in which specific acts of war, genocide, and self-mortification are considered both permissible and justified. Through close readings of both primary and secondary sources from the history of religions in South Asia, this panel seeks to examine these ethical justifications. The first paper explores the textual basis for the life-ending practice of santhara in Jainism to determine how the ethic of ahimsa is supported when bodily harm and death are practiced for the sake of merit. A second paper looks at the issue of direct moral consideration, its basis in sentience and other prakritic attributes, and the implications for interpreting mass violence towards nonhuman animals in ancient and contemporary India. A third paper examines the “ritual of battle” discourse in the Mahabharata’s Shantiparvan, how it functions as both an ethical justification for violence and a soteriological model, and how, in those functions, it presents contrasts and tensions with the Bhagavad Gita’s karmayoga model. The fourth paper examines parallel narratives of Brahmin-on-Kshatriya genocide in the Mahabharata in an effort to uncover what these parallels reveal about the ethical content of the varna system in the epic milieu and the apocalyptic acts of violence that sustain it.


Presenter 1
David St John - stjohnd999@gmail.com (University of Texas: Austin)
The Vow of Santhara: An Exploration in the Jain Exegetical Tradition to redefine ideas of Violence in Ritual Practice

Presenter 2
Jonathan Dickstein - jhdickstein@umail.ucsb.edu (UC-Santa Barbara)
Atmans Don’t Matter: Framarin, Direct Moral Consideration, and Nonhuman Animals

Presenter 3
John Taylor - jmtaylor8@wisc.edu (University of Texas at Austin)
"His worlds are the same as mine": Ethics of Violence and Salvation in the Mahabharata's Ritual of Battle

Presenter 4
Jeff S. Wilson - jeffrey.s.wilsonjr@gmail.com (University of Texas at Austin)
Reckoning Time: Apocalyptic Brahmins in the Mahabharata


Infrastructures of Governance​: ​Between Transparency and Corruption
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Madison College D240 - 1
Floor: Madison College

Discussant/Chair

Edward Simpson - es7@soas.ac.uk (SOAS)

Panel Organizer(s)
Edward Simpson - es7@soas.ac.uk (SOAS)

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Presenter 1
Riddhi Bhandari - rbhandar@richmond.edu (University of Richmond)
Between Fear and Favor: Thinking through the Anxieties of Corruption

Presenter 2
Feisal Khan - khan@hws.edu (Hobart and William Smith Colleges)
The Evacuee Property Trust Board and the Origins of Systemic Corruption in Pakistan

Presenter 3
Sangeeta Banerji - sangeeta.banerji@rutgers.edu (Rutgers University)
Fixing (in) Mumbai: An Ethnography of Brokerage within the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai

Presenter 4
Edward Simpson - es7@soas.ac.uk (SOAS)
Politics takes a toll: New geographies of money and infrastructural governance in India


Between topoi and the world: reading space in 16th-18th century India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Madison College D240 - 2
Floor: Madison College

Discussant/Chair

Whitney Cox - wmcox@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)

Panel Organizer(s)
Talia Ariav - taliaa@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)

This panel considers the way spaces are described and used in a variety of texts from sixteenth to eighteenth century South Asia, ranging from Tamil and Sanskrit poetry to Persian-language historical narratives. Our aim is to understand the implications of these descriptions, often involving highly conventional and generic topoi, by exploring their varying degrees of distance from the physical world to which they refer. We will also consider the relationship of these descriptions with the spaces in which the texts were composed, performed and circulated. This double relationship is at the core of our inquiry, insofar as it allows us to reflect on spaces as sites of constant negotiation, created through a convergence of different historical moments and contemporary perspectives. In other words, such inquiry can potentially recover the socio-political stakes with which a space is always-already constructed. We are also interested in the question of different resolutions of space, varying from a bird's eye view of a region, to a city, to details such as the door of the harem, or a spot in a garden. How do these different resolutions play into the textual negotiation of space? We think that paying attention to such variations will bring to light the complex interplay of elements (including tropes, genres, realia, etc.) in the literary making-of-space. The panel will thus explore questions of how different kinds of texts deploy various generic conventions, strategies, techniques and resolutions of space as a doorway to recovering a self-positioning in a world, both explicit and implicit. In doing so, we seek to problematize and explore the boundaries between textual instances of space and the world outside it.


Presenter 1
Talia Ariav - taliaa@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
Between the courtesan district and God’s playground: Visions of Madurai in Nīlakaṇṭha Dīkṣita's Śivalīlārṇava and in Rāmabhadra Dīkṣita's Śṛṅgāratilakabhāṇa

Presenter 2
Emma Kalb - kalb@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
Spaces of (in)visibility: eunuchs in the Mughal harem

Presenter 3
Margherita Trento - margherita@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
Tamil landscape ad Christian geography in Costanzo Giuseppe Beschi (1680-1747)’s Tēmpāvaṇi


Social Categories, Agency, and the Politics of the Everyday in Bangladesh
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Room: Madison College Meeting Room 1
Floor: Madison College

Discussant/Chair

Matthew D. Rich - rich.bsi.2008@gmail.com (University of Chicago)

Panel Organizer(s)
Esha Sraboni - esha_sraboni@brown.edu (Brown University)

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Presenter 1
Saman Malik - saman.malik@some.ox.ac.uk (University of Oxford )
'Becoming Birangona': Post 1971 Cultures of Remembrance and Representations of the Bengali War Heroine in Tarfia Faizullah's 'Seam'

Presenter 2
Esha Sraboni - esha_sraboni@brown.edu (Brown University)
Community-Based Groups and Agency of Men and Women in the Public Sphere in Rural Bangladesh

Presenter 3
Lubna Chaudhry - chaudhry@binghamton.edu (Binghamton University)
Md. Shahriar Islam - mislam20@binghamton.edu (Binghamton University)
Dynamics of Social Trust in Bangladesh: Collective Intergenerational Trauma and the Politics of Multi-layered Contemporary Violence

Presenter 4
Matthew D. Rich - rich.bsi.2008@gmail.com (University of Chicago)
"The Uncanny Force of Freedom in three stories of the Bangladesh Liberation War"

Presenter 5
Daniel Ng - danielkevinng@utexas.edu (University of Texas at Austin)
The official (mis)recognition of hijras: authenticating third gender persons through forensic medicine in Bangladesh


1984, When the Sun Didn't Rise
Film

Location

Session: Film Night
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
Floor: Floor 2

Conference Organizer - conference@southasia.wisc.edu (UW-Madison)

The film is a narrative of three Sikh women living in Widows Colony wherein they lost their homes and men in the violent killings of 1984 when over  2733 Sikhs were killed in Delhi and over 30,000 in India. It is based on the lives of women and how they negotiate their memories on day to day basis while still earning their livelihoods. The socio-political times are visited through the eyes of the women. I have done first hand research and it has taken me 5 years to make the film  and it has traveled to prestigious film festivals the details of which are in the Dossier here.


Cast in India
Film

Location

Session: Film Night
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
Floor: Floor 2

Natasha Raheja - nraheja@cornell.edu (Cornell University )

Iconic and ubiquitous, thousands of manhole covers dot the streets of New York City. Enlivening the everyday objects around us, this short film is a glimpse of the working lives of the men behind the manhole covers in New York City.


A Tongue Untied - The Story of Dakhani
Film

Location

Session: Film Night
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
Floor: Floor 2

Gautam Pemmaraju - gautam.pemmaraju@gmail.com (Independent )

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The Valley
Film

Location

Session: Film Night
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
Floor: Floor 2

Conference Organizer - conference@southasia.wisc.edu (UW-Madison)

In The Valley, ambitious and highly successful Indian-American entrepreneur Neal Kumar (Alyy Khan) – with wife, Roopa (Suchitra Pillai), and daughters, Monica (Salma Kahn) and Maya (Agneeta Thacker) – reside in the high-octane culture that is Silicon Valley, where his affluent lifestyle and beautiful family appear idyllic from the exterior. When Maya tragically commits suicide during her freshman year at college, no one seems to know why. With the family struggling to survive a culture in which relationships and human connection are almost impossible to maintain, Neal embarks on a frantic journey to uncover the truth about his daughter’s death. When he doesn’t find answers at home, he travels to her campus to speak with the people who surrounded Maya in her final days. As work and family unravel in the chaos, the fractured nature of his life begins to become apparent to him and everyone around him. When the elusive reasons are finally revealed – as well as the heartbreaking secrets kept by her and the rest of his family – is it too late for them all to come back together?


Sakthi Vibrations: Ethnomusicological Documentary
Film

Location

Session: Film Night
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
Floor: Floor 2

Zoe Sherinian - zsherinian@ou.edu (University Of Oklahoma)

The Sakthi Folk Cultural Centre, in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, uses the Tamil folk arts to develop self-esteem and economic skills in young Dalit female dropouts. This documentary film seeks to reveal and analyze Sakthi’s model for Dalit women’s development that integrates folk arts performance with social analysis, micro-economic sustainability, leadership and community development. The Sakthi Centre reclaims the devalued parai frame drum (associated with untouchability) to re-humanize and empower these young women through the physical embodiment of confidence in performance and renewed cultural identity in a complex campaign against gender, class and caste subjugation. The film editing experimentally weaves together interviews, performance, and development activities such as tailoring and basket making along with a short film written, performed, and shot by the students themselves as they actively define their process of growth and contribute to this participatory documentary. The women narrate the film looking directly into the camera to confront the audience with the reality of their oppressed, yet transforming lives. Paralleling the representation of community in their circle dance formations and syncretic rituals, we tell their collective story of transformation from their first day struggling to walk and clap in time, to their first performance for their parents, and their final public festival and academic graduation. This film engages applied ethnomusicology though participatory filmmaking, filmmaking as fieldwork methodology, and the intersectionality of caste, class and gender. Finally, it demonstrates the agency and strategies of Dalit women as they create social justice for themselves through personal, community, and economic development.


Conversations among equals: The Mahila Samakhya story
Film

Location

Session: Film Night
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
Floor: Floor 2

Niveditha Menon - niveditha@cbps.in (Centre for Budget and Policy )

The Mahila Samakhya (MS) programme mobilizes vulnerable women at the grassroot level, using a collective-action approach to help women become empowered agents of society. At the time of its closure in 2016, MS was one of the world’s largest government funded women’s empowerment program, serving around 1.2 million women across 10 Indian states. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the process set up by MS approach has been effective in uplifting women’s social and economic status. To study the process of MS’s impact on women’s economic empowerment, Centre for Budget and Policy Studies (CBPS) embarked on a three-year in-depth mixed-method study in two states in India: Karnataka and Bihar. In addition to collecting quantitative and qualitative data, the CBPS team also assembled a variety of rich visual stories of women who were affected by the programme. A combination of short clips and a short documentary will be presented to showcase the various dimensions of empowerment that the CBPS team encountered in the field. The presentation of these films captures the process by which women start to become fully engaged citizens, build informal women-friendly institutions and negotiate constantly with powerful social norms and structures. In summary, the collation of films documents the journeys of women within the Mahila Samkhya programme and creates a powerful visual story of the process of empowerment through the Mahila Samakhya programme