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 : 167)

The Making of a Borderland: Culture, Society and Economy in the Nepal Tarai
Symposium

Location

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

Arjun Guneratne - guneratne@macalester.edu (Macalester College)

The Tarai region of Nepal, which long served to buffer the Himalayan kingdoms from the political pressure of the plains, has become an area of significant political and cultural concern to the Nepali state. It is in the Tarai that the fissures in Nepal’s polity are most marked, and the politics of modern Nepal cannot be understood without understanding the political-economy of this region and its complex cultural and social forms. About half the population of Nepal lives there, divided among the indigenous people of the Tarai, mainly the Tharu; the Madhesi, who share kinship, language and culture with populations across the border in India; and recent immigrants from the hills. The Tarai has been little studied historically when compared to the rest of Nepal, but this situation is beginning to change, especially since the political upheavals that followed the abolition of the monarchy. Scholarship that could be described as Tarai Studies is coming into focus. This symposium brings together scholars from the U.S. and around the world to examine recent research in the Nepal Tarai with particular reference to how ongoing social, cultural and economic transformations have shaped it as a borderland.


Conceptual Paradigms in South Asian Film & Media Studies
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Conference Room 1
Floor: Floor 2

Lotte Hoek - lotte.hoek@ed.ac.uk (University of Edinburgh)

In the last decade South Asian studies has seen a proliferating interest in questions of media of all sorts. Some of this excitement can be witnessed in the increased number of film and media panels and pre-conferences at the annual Madison meetings. This effervescence raises significant methodological and intellectual questions about the divergent approaches to South Asian media and their varying stakes. Is it possible to characterize this scholarly churning as a cohesive field of enquiry, called “film and media studies”? In this symposium we survey and deliberate on the varied intellectual traditions that feed scholarship on South Asian media. Rather than reiterate disciplinary boundaries, we invite film and media scholars to reflect on what is to be gained from theoretical and methodological encounters between film studies, anthropology, art history, science and technology studies, performance studies, communication studies, ethnomusicology, literature, or architecture. With presentations from junior and senior scholars who actively think with media in South Asia and explore new empirical sources, we aim to identify emerging interdisciplinary concepts and methods that are revitalizing the study of film and media in South Asia today. The symposium will include presentations by key scholars in the field, all highly regarded for their conceptual and empirical contributions to the field of South Asian film and media studies. The presentations draw from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives and geographic locations (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Asian diasporas). By inviting scholars at various career stages, ranging from senior faculty to graduate students, and representing a range of institutional affiliations, the symposium aims to generate a vibrant discussion on the state of the field of South Asian film and media studies today.


Mofussil Moderns: Colonial Modernity and the Non-Metropolitan
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Conference Room 2
Floor: Floor 2

Sanjukta Poddar - sanjukta@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)

This symposium will investigate colonial South Asia’s non-metropolitan city, a site that is neither that of modernity’s paradigmatic emergence (the colonial metropolis), nor its purportedly constitutive outside (the village). The object of our investigation is thus defined primarily in negative terms. As a social space, it has been held to insufficiently approximate the civil and classed society that characterizes metropolitan living. Yet it also offered emancipatory possibilities and forms of social and cultural organization at odds with those of its rural surroundings. This negative definition also holds for the time assigned to such urban spaces: in the grammar of historicist modernity the non-metropolitan towns of South Asia were constitutively mired in a double lag--behind the European “metropole” but also behind India’s own metropolitan towns. Yet non-metropolitan towns also promised the future in a way that no metropolis could: to claim modernity for these purportedly lagging-behind spaces was to make the argument that modernity’s universalization had (or has) been achieved. In other words, if the non-metropolitan town allegedly showcased South Asia’s recalcitrant past to its metropolises, it also indicated a plausible future for South Asia’s mofussil. Our symposium asks: how did claims regarding the arrival of modernity (or, conversely, its unavailability) relate to spatial and social changes in these towns and cities? What were the emerging vocabularies in literature and cinema that enabled an engagement with the idea of modernity in these towns? What were some of the innovative aspirations and claims that the discourse of modernity inspired in non-metropolitan spaces? This symposium will debate the proposition that few places have inhabited colonial modernity with as much productive ambiguity as the non-metropolitan cities of colonial South Asia, and it is its aspiration that if attention is returned to such spaces something novel about colonial modernity may be offered.


14th Annual Himalayan Policy Research Conference
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Conference Room 3
Floor: Floor 2

Sakib Mahmud - smahmud@uwsuper.edu (University of Wisconsin-Superior )

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 14th in our series at the pre-conference venue of the University of Wisconsin's 48th Annual Conference on South Asia (October 17-20, 2019). 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 2018 -- 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. The abstracts, proceedings, feedback from participants, and photos from our previous conferences are available at the following website: http://nepalstudycenter.unm.edu/SeminarsWorkshopsConferences/HPRC_Conferences/HPRC_ConferecesMainHomePage.html The main theme of the Himalayan Policy Research Conference (HPRC) draws from the fields of development, democracy, governance, and environment. We consider these fields broadly as encompassing socio-economic growth (aggregate or sectoral), political transition, institutional development, governance and administrative reform, poverty and income distribution, education and health, regional development, gender and ethnicity, trade and remittances, aid and foreign direct investment, resource and environmental management, public-private partnership in technology and investment, child labor, and many other issues. The papers are expected to have important implications for public policy in one or more countries of the Himalayan region and South Asia.


Interrogating Infrastructure: Interdisciplinary Conversations across History, Anthropology, and Science & Technology Studies
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Conference Room 4
Floor: Floor 2

Chandana Anusha - chandana.anusha@yale.edu (Yale University )

The recent infrastructural-turn has brought together rich interdisciplinary scholarship on the material, political, ecological processes of modern state-making, and their inflections within global systems and flows. Technologically, infrastructures frame the very nodes and networks that enable communication, the movement of goods and ideas. Politically, their pipes, roads, grids, form sites and instruments of state-making and citizenship practices. Culturally, they enable the study of the effects of modernity and the imaginations that undergird promised futures. In South Asia, infrastructures have always been more than conduits of exchange and instead engines enacting the ideals of economic development. Historians of science, geography, and the state have interrogated contemporary categories of identity, nature, and global capital. In doing so, they have allowed us to explore longer histories of infrastructural formations. Building on the generative possibilities of this “fuzzy” concept, this symposium brings together critical intersections to advance an inquiry into how infrastructures have variously inscribed South Asian landscapes. How do processes of extraction, distribution, and circulation become terrains for producing and mediating inequalities? Coasts, irrigation systems, mining projects, climate technologies are all windows into relationships between infrastructures and ecology. They speak to the ways that processes of capital and state-making are necessarily mediated by historical and geographical specificities. What are the uneven experiences and everyday politics of large-scale development projects, of infrastructure as a wider financial, sociocultural web that produces and is produced by particular places and people? In what ways do debates over spatial transformation, environmental degradation, caste, class, and gender challenge our understanding of the intersections between economic development, climate politics, and democracy? This symposium brings together emerging and senior scholars from across history, anthropology, geography, science and technology studies from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, to bring inquiries of the material to bear upon urgent political questions of our time.


Writing Sri Lanka: Futures Past
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Full Day
Room: Conference Room 5
Floor: Floor 2

Tyler Lehrer - tlehrer@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin–Madison)

Much of Sri Lanka’s historiography has been dominated by questions of identity, ethnicity and indigeneity. Fueled by the ethnic conflicts of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, in academic and public spheres alike, debate has been largely constrained to “primordialist” versus “constructivist” viewpoints on Lankan identities and their continuity. After the civil war formally ended in 2009, academics have increasingly begun to move away from an ethnicity-dominated discourse to focus on other elements of the island’s history, and return to themes which had long been of interest to Sri Lankan and international scholars alike. Resulting from a diversification of source materials, several studies have attempted to reconsider the position and relation of Sri Lanka’s past to the present and connect its history to larger narratives and trends. These new scholarly and historiographic paradigms have replaced static identities and categorization with questions of connectedness, institutionalization, (dis)continuity, chronology and translocality. This symposium picks up these discussions by continuing the dialogue on the role that historians and other academics should play in the writing of Sri Lanka’s history. We consider how to write histories of Sri Lanka using these frameworks without imposing the present on the past. Our central focus will be to engage (dis)continuities in the history and historiography of institutions in Sri Lanka, with papers and topics ranging from the medieval period to the mid-twentieth century. Bringing together an international, multidisciplinary group of scholars at various stages in their careers, we analyze relationships between institutions (colonial, religious, monastic, economic, educational, and legal) and ongoing projects of identification. Jointly, we aspire to probe how diverse questions about Sri Lanka’s past originate from our contemporary present, and how scholars working on Sri Lanka’s past, present and future should engage with this heritage.


Religion at Work: Gods, Goddesses, and Occult Powers in the Lives and Livelihoods of India’s Artisans, Technicians, and Manufacturers
Symposium

Location

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

Ken George - ken.george@anu.edu.au (Australian National University)

The proposed symposium aims to bring together 16 scholars from the fields of anthropology, art history, history, history of science and technology, religious studies, and visual and material culture studies, for a day of collegial discussion on religion, artisanship, technology, and labor in everyday workplaces in India. Some of the planned themes or topics include (but are in no way limited to): *Myths and ideologies of creativity, making, and productivity *Occult powers that animate or inhabit technologies, materialities, and infrastructures *Religious iconographies, rituals, and their effects in workplaces and technological assemblages *Religiosity and the ethics of craftsmanship and manufacture *Revisiting the tangled histories of labor, capital, technology, and religion in South Asia Such themes and topics notwithstanding, the broader aim of the symposium is to devote a day to exploring and comparing the religious sensibilities of artisans, machinists, fabricators, technicians, contractors, engineers, designers, and manufacturers in their workplaces and working lives. We also want to understand how divinities and occult powers play a part in the workings (and perhaps in the design) of tools, technical ensembles, buildings, and infrastructural systems. We hope that pooling our empirical materials and theoretical insights may point to fresh ways of investigating the histories of lived religion and lived technology in South Asia. We also see opportunities to rethink distinctions between artistry, techne, and technology. Like art and religion, technology and technicity mediate our being with and in the world. Technological consciousness, like religious and artistic consciousness, is universe-fashioning and demiurgic in character. In this symposium, we seek to understand their intermingling. We are discouraging formal papers. We ask that each participant make a 10- or 15-minute presentation of empirical materials drawn from recent field or archival research, or of theoretical questions and problems currently preoccupying them in the study of religion, art, and technology.


Workshop: Transforming Your Dissertation into a Book
Symposium

Location

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

Sarah Lamb - lamb@brandeis.edu (Brandeis University)

The American Institute of Indian Studies holds an annual dissertation-to-book workshop at the Madison South Asia Conference, co-sponsored in 2019 by the American Institute of Pakistan Studies and the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies. The workshop aims to help a select number of recent PhDs re-vision their doctoral dissertations as books. The interdisciplinary workshop will begin at 7 pm Wednesday evening, October 16th, and conclude with a group dinner on Thursday, October 17th. Author participants will submit a sample chapter and draft book proposal in advance. During the day-long Thursday sessions, each group of approximately 8 authors and 2-3 mentors will work intensively together discussing each project. In 2019, senior faculty participants will include Jason Cons (Anthropology, UT-Austin), Naveeda Khan (Anthropology, Johns Hopkins), Sarah Lamb (Anthropology, Brandeis), Diane Mines (Anthropology, Appalachian State), Leela Prasad (Religious Studies, Duke), Bhrigupati Singh (Anthropology, Brown), Harleen Singh (Literature and Gender Studies, Brandeis), and Anand Yang (History, Washington).


Postcolonial Archives: Networks, Objects, Collaborations, Absences
Symposium

Location

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

Anjali Nerlekar - anjali.nerlekar@rutgers.edu (Rutgers University)

The study of print culture and its archives has been undertaken much more intensively for the colonial period in South Asia, revealing the "structuring structures" of ideologies, literary tastes, and reading and consumption habits. Colonial archives abound as do the scholarly attention devoted to them. Just as archives of magazines and publishing houses, of schools and associations, of colonial officials and their departments, illuminated the "ordinary life" of ideas and literature in the colonial period, what archives can we draw upon for postcolonial South Asia? In their work on the Bombay poets, Anjali Nerlekar and Laetitia Zecchini have shown the resilient networks of small magazines and literary collaborations despite an impulse towards marginality and self-effacement in these material spaces, while a repository like “Tasveer Ghar” (curated by Christiane Brosius, Sumathi Ramaswami, and and Yousuf Saeed) does the same with elements of the popular visual sphere in the digital archival world. In this panel we want to explore what these and other archives can tell us about their own logic of objects (reading them "along the grain", Stoler) and about what they exclude; about the formation of literary tastes; about "literary activism" (Chaudhuri), about the networks of interconnected documentation that the archives reveal and the collaborations in and through the archives. The symposium is both “of and in the archive” (Steedman), about the material archives and what form they take (folders, scraps, correspondence, drafts, film reels, photographs) and what can we learn by their absence in some cases. The topics of discussion will cover: - literary archives, film archives, historical/national archives - networks and connections - archives and collaborations --textual, ideological and cultural dimensions - the creation of taste - authors and estates --creation of readership/ viewership; literary and cinematic consumption --location, access and censorship


Journeys ←→ Queer Elsewheres: A Symposium on South Asian Imaginaries
Symposium

Location

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

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

What can we bring to queer epistemologies and methodologies when we move across physical, geopolitical and conceptual boundaries? In this symposium, we would like to draw attention to the journeys of queer, trans, hijra, khwaja sira and gender nonconforming subjects and scholars to and from less-frequented settings in and around South Asia––with particular attention to places like Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka––which in their marginality are rendered as “elsewhere” in queer scholarship. Centering performative and narrative modes of reflexivity in the literary, visual and performing arts, we explore what meanings adhere to queerness in its travels, and what happens when it takes on life in underrepresented or under-considered historical, geopolitical, conceptual and cultural locations (Amin 2017:183). We ask: What does it mean to respond from a “here” to queer discourses and practices “elsewhere”? What possibilities emerge when we engage fields and temporalities that count as not-here/not-yet-here, and what are the sensorial and affective dimensions, ethical issues and methodological limits of such travels? What makes up “queer” in a particular place and time? And, in particular, how might we disrupt Queer Studies’ analytical habits––or recontour the term itself––as we vision, revision, and generate scholarships from unlikely, imaginal, or even otherworldly elsewheres? Heeding the call for non-Euro-American epistemes to address the political intersections of queer and area studies (Arondekar and Patel 2016), we further consider the role that our respective fields of academic and artistic practices play in mapping the institutional terrain of queer epistemic power?


Bhakti Visualities: Imaging Devotion in the Visual Arts
Symposium

Location

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

Karen Pechilis - kpechili@drew.edu (Drew University)

In line with the 2019 Madison-South Asia Conference theme of ‘Artistry’, for the 6th annual Symposium of the Regional Bhakti Scholars Network (RBSN) we propose a focus on images of bhakti through image making and practice, covering a diversity of South Asian creators and visual methodologies. Our aim is to reveal the ‘bhakti visuality’ or visual agency of imagery to pull out emotive sentiment from individuals and larger communities, to promote new forms of devotion and its circulation and shape social context, rather than just reflect it. Our main research questions are: How do images of bhakti promote bhakti or translate bhakti? What meanings are emphasized in images that engage bhakti? Which aspects of bhakti imagery appear continuous with tradition and which seem new? Panelists explore the question within the themes of performance of new bhakti social messages; materiality as bhakti presence; unexpected portraits of bhakti; and mass-produced images of bhakti. Papers in this Symposium expand our understanding of bhakti through the diversity of people who engage bhakti through image devotion and the unexpected yet recognizable ways of interpreting bhakti that divulge the extent to which the audience they create reaches beyond traditional religious communities. Presentations take into account the use of textual sources to define visual imagery, but prioritize less emphasized fields of study such as bhakti images generated by image-making in performance (ritual, performing arts, material culture) and in the production and circulation of artistic images (fine and popular arts). Both historical and contemporary examples of bhakti are engaged, involving a range of scholarly viewpoints across academic disciplines, differing religious perspectives, visual mediums, and diverse cultural regions and languages.


Shifting Sites, Spaces and Selves: Analyzing Ethnographic Practices in South Asia Over Time
Symposium

Location

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

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

This symposium brings together a diverse group of ethnographers of South Asian religions and cultures to present short papers and engage in focused discussion about shifts in ethnographic methods over the past four decades. Comprised of scholars at different career stages, this symposium is intended to generate insights about the changing nature of ethnographic research in a rapidly developing South Asia. Particular attention will be paid to how different disciplinary emphases inform approaches to the “field;” the challenges posed by relocating to new fieldsites; the demands of defining, constructing, and representing one’s identity/identities in varied contexts; and the benefits and detriments of the increasing presence of technology (including computers, email, phones, and apps), which mediate fieldwork situations, relationships, and reflections in and on the field. Drawing on long-term fieldwork in diverse settings in India, Nepal and transnational contexts, presenters will raise questions about positionality and the construction of a self-in-relation as shaped by gender, race, ethnicity, economic privilege, and other forms of difference. Others will address the ethical demands produced by interpenetrations of “home” and “the field,” analyzing how increasingly porous boundaries create both new opportunities and challenges. Multiple papers will reflect on how technology both expands and constrains access to, and the production of, ethnographic knowledge in its embodied and written forms. Central to these discussions will be the role of new media in shaping objects of study (such as pilgrimage sites, religious communities, and textual traditions), catalyzing innovative field methodologies, and opening up possibilities for new ethnographic “texts,” such as virtual villages and real-time, collaborative, and open-access projects. Finally, in assessing shifts in the “technologies of reflection” from our fieldwork contexts, some participants will contemplate the implications of these sources for ways of knowing ourselves and others, and the lessons they hold for our teaching and mentoring practices.


From Space into Property: Urban South Asia Symposium
Symposium

Location

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

Eric Beverley - eric.beverley@stonybrook.edu (State University of New York, Stony Brook)

This symposium convenes scholars of urban South Asia, drawing together historically-minded ethnographers alongside historians who study the mid-twentieth century with a view to writing histories of the present. Our primary aim is to foster sustained exploration of the emergence of contemporary urban dynamics and forms. In pursuit of this goal, we also seek to generate innovative approaches to methodological challenges of this work. Contemporary urban South Asia is now an important and burgeoning area of scholarship, spanning the fields of anthropology, sociology, geography, environmental studies, and beyond. This work offers nuanced accounts and powerful theorizing of the multi-scalar dynamics shaping cities in the region today. However, most of these accounts link the processes they describe to political economy shifts after c. 1991, offering little exploration of how changes over the past three decades connect to longer histories. In contrast, historians working on the era from the Second World War to the present seek to trace these connections, but face challenges in assembling a meaningful archive of the mid-to-late twentieth century, given the limited accessibility of both government and private records. Focusing on issues of law, governance, and non-official practice – areas of significant exploration by historians as well as ethnographers – this symposium offers a historically-informed perspective on the forms of claims-making through which space is transformed into urban property. Papers examine issues such as histories of formalization and informalization, processes of commodification of vertical space and land-use conversion to render more space urbanize-able, the critical work of brokers in the making of property, and the intersection between urban, regional, national, and global scales of politics, finance, and migration. Depending on the final line-up of presenters, we will organize panels around themes such as land regimes, planning and building, brokers and fixers, real estate and global flows, and urban informality.


STM in South Asia, Body Horizons: Expressive, Sensory and Material Negotiations Across South Asian Scientific and Medical Traditions
Symposium

Location

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

Lisa Brooks - labrooks@berkeley.edu (University of California, Berkeley)

We propose to organize the fourth annual “Science, Technology, and Medicine (STM) in South Asia Symposium,” around the theme “Body Horizons: Expressive, Sensorial and Material Negotiations Across South Asian Scientific and Medical Traditions.” With a focus on the body as a material, sensory, and expressive resource, this symposium aims to foreground dimensions of boundary-making and pluralities in South Asian traditions. Rather than framing the body as a universal biological base upon which culture plays its infinite variety, we recognize it as a product of specific social, cultural, and historical contexts. By highlighting the body’s active role in mediating reflection and action, this symposium traces the extent of its centrality in South Asian therapeutic, epistemological, and expressive practices. This attention to the body provides a basis to question spatial assumptions implicit in many fundamental concepts, such as “community,” “tradition,” and “culture.” This builds upon discussions from the 2018 STM symposium, which examined issues of temporality and periodization. We envision that a focus on bodies will amplify three core themes raised in the 2018 symposium:1) the role of scientific and medical traditions in expressing boundaries between communities, persons, and other living-beings; 2) the role of the senses as well as non-human devices and technologies in the enactment of science and medicine; 3) the need to provide more effective representations of plurality and and difference across systems of knowledge and practice in South Asia. The proposed symposium will bring together scholars working across South Asian medical and scientific traditions. We plan to include an equal number of graduate students and faculty members to stimulate creative discussion and facilitate future collaborations. Invited scholars are from diverse fields, working across traditions and time periods, including anthropology, history, philology, feminist and gender studies, science studies, post-colonial theory, and literary studies.


Hierarchy beyond caste
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Half Day, Morning
Room: Assembly Room
Floor: Floor 1

Anastasia Piliavsky - anastasia.piliavsky@kcl.ac.uk (King's College London)

Even the most casual visitor to South Asia can’t help but notice the quotidian ubiquity of hierarchical norms. And yet, no discussion surrounds these norms in current regional scholarship, where “hierarchy” stands for inequality, a social problem that needs to be fixed, not a moral phenomenon to make sense of. Meanwhile, hierarchical norms persist across the Subcontinent: in how people speak and carry themselves, what they wear and eat, how they interact, whom they marry, where they work, and how they vote. These norms persist in formal and familiar settings, at village hearths and in New Delhi drawing rooms, shaping relations far beyond caste, with which scholars often conflate hierarchy. This Symposium will begin to redress this theoretical blind-spot to prompt a much-needed debate. Drawing on recent advancements in the theory of value and hierarchy made by scholars of Africa, China, Melanesia, Southeast Asia and Latin America; and going beyond Dumont’s Brahminical essentialisms that still linger in depictions of South Asia’s “traditional hierarchy,” we shall look beyond caste to see why people attach value to hierarchical arrangements and what kind of value it may be. Probing the limits of hierarchical norms, we shall ask under what circumstances do people turn away from them? And when does hierarchy give way to inequality? How do hierarchical values interact with the egalitarian and the individualist? And what can we learn from thinking comparatively with hierarchical norms documented widely around the world?


Film and Diaspora and a Globalizing India
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Half Day, Morning
Room: Caucus Room
Floor: Floor 1

Sikata Banerjee - sikatab@uvic.ca (University of Victoria)

We propose an interactive working symposium, comprising an interdisciplinary group of scholars from the United States and Canda to examine popular Hindi-language cinema (often called “Bollywood”) in an era of neoliberal globalization and ascendant Hindu nationalism. Our purpose will be to excavate how religion, sexualities, and gender intersect to disseminate a particular hegemonic idea of nation with special attention to the diaspora. In Bollywood films, constructed ideas of diaspora have been used strategically to both express and resist particular ideas of being Indian. This popular cultural construction of diaspora hinges on rigid definitons of “family,” masculinity, and femininity.With annual ticket sales in the billions, mainly in expensive new multiplexes,, popular Hindi cinema can sustain itself by reaching out to new global middle classes in India without even a cursory need to consider subaltern issues. Diasporic audiences add to this process through international box office sales. This symposium is unique in two ways. It will put film and diaspora studies scholars in conversation with one another, and humanities and social science approaches will be applied to studying film as a political text. All our speakers have already confirmed their participation. The outcome will be to curate a subset of papers on these topics for a special issue of a journal. Toward this end, this symposium will include individual presentations and roundtable discussions to identify interlocking themes for a journal special issue. The symposium, rather than a conventional panel or roundtable, will offer a more indepth and focused engagement among authors to enable a more cohesive set of papers to emerge, thus making the strongest possible case for publication in a top journal. We will begin by approaching the internationally peer reviewed journal South Asian Popular Culture (Routledge), edited by Rajinder Dudrah (Birmingham City University) and Gita Rajan (US editor, Fairfield University).


South Asian Graphic Narratives
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Half Day, Morning
Room: Senate Room A
Floor: Floor 1

Dr. Kavita Daiya - kdaiya@gmail.com (George Washington University)

In his introduction to “The Cambridge Companion to the Graphic Novel” (2017), Stephen E. Tabachnick writes: “The graphic novel [...] able to tackle complex and sophisticated issues using all of the tools available to the best artists and writers - is the newest literary/artistic genre and one of the most exciting areas of humanistic study today.” Consequently, graphic narratives from Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” to Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis” have become popular in college curricula across the world and literary conferences dedicate entire panels to studying the genre. Yet, graphic narratives remain largely neglected in South Asian Studies, despite their rich artistry and thoughtful engagement with socio-political issues in the region and beyond. This symposium seeks to redress this critical gap by exploring the extraordinary new artistic energies in graphic narratives that are about South Asian and South Asian American experiences. Discussing a rich and varied archive-from the mass popular archive of “Amar Chitra Katha” comics series to newer aesthetically experimental graphic novels like Amruta Patil’s “Kari” and Malik Sajad’s “Munnu”-this symposium explores the art of the South Asian graphic narrative in the 20th and 21st centuries. Its diverse papers showcase new research on the powerful aesthetic and political interventions, and the cultural life of graphic narratives in/ about South Asia and South Asian America. Speakers discuss how these comics aesthetically link indigenous art, popular print culture, and modern media, to offer trenchant political critiques of gender-based violence, caste oppression, neoliberalism, and ecological crises. Dealing with a range of issues such as sexual and ethnic minority experiences, colonialism, Kashmir, and being Muslim in America, this symposium invites us to explore the rich hybridity and political aesthetic of the South Asian graphic narrative, in an attempt to highlight its importance within South Asian Studies.


Vulgarity and Power
Symposium

Location

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

Shailaja Paik - paiksa@ucmail.uc.edu (University of Cincinnati)

This one-day Pre-conference deploys “vulgarity” as a political category of analysis to stage a focused conversation among scholars to discuss new directions in the thriving field of sexuality studies and ways it informs the new social order. The history of “vulgarity” in South Asia like in other parts of the globe, is intimately connected with discourses about “honor,” “respectability,” racial identities, caste and gendered politics, and the construction of “decent” communities. As a result, historical actors are constantly worried about the malleable realm of “vulgarity” and the racial, economic, cultural, and political entanglements of marriage, consensual union, youth power, scientificity, prostitution, male power, and so on. Like our papers demonstrate, the politics of “vulgarity” reimagined social and moral boundaries to simultaneously include and exclude different communities at varied moments. “Vulgarity” was also explicitly politicized at certain historical moments of conflict and transition to assert distinct interests, define identities, build “civility,” inscribing “decency,” and marginalize or even malign social and economic competitors. Our analysis of social, gender, and sexual relations may also help explain the power of caste politics and racial democracy myths in India and the US. We initiate a dialogue across different communities, cultures, and regions to investigate the interconnections between caste, class, gender, "vulgarity," and sexuality, which are central to understand the construction of public sphere, modernity, difference, and marginality in India. The one-day symposium will allow for deeper conversations among presenters, respondents, and maximize engagement with the audience, draw upon the theoretical frames provided by historians, anthropologists, literary critics, and offer a fresh perspective on the role of social and sexual politics and subject formation in South Asia. This initial ground work will help us work on a special issue on “Vulgarity in South Asia” for the Journal of South Asian Studies.


Urdu Insiders, Outsiders, and In-Betweeners: The 2019 Urdu Symposium
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Half Day, Morning
Room: Parlour Room 627
Floor: Floor 6

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

jo aashnaa the bahut ajnabii se lagte the vo ajnabii thaa magar aashnaa saa lagtaa thaa -Imtiyaz Saghar What does it mean to be a native speaker of Urdu? We shall explore the impact of work in and on this language by those who are often considered its “others.” How are lineage, age, proficiency, accent, ethnicity, first language status, location, race, caste, religion, gender, sexual orientation used as exclusionary or inclusionary factors? How might the contributions of non-native speakers of Urdu, including native speakers of other South Asian and European languages, be understood as part of a broader, more inclusive history of Urdu as a language and literature? These are the questions that motivate the third annual Urdu Symposium. The poet and critic Inshāʾallāh Ḳhāṅ ‘Inshā’ (1756-1817) hyperbolically claimed that there were, apart from the Red Fort, only two locations within Shahjahanabad (Old Delhi) where residents could be found who spoke Urdu with sufficient eloquence to merit his consideration. Historical evidence, however, suggests that forms of what we might today identify as proto-Urdu have been employed across the South Asian subcontinent since at least the fifteenth century. Furthermore, what qualifies figures like Inshā to act as qualifiers? What role was/is played by some of the factors listed above, in addition to eloquence? As academics who represent intersections of several factors, what is our own positionality with regard to Urdu? This reflection may help us to better understand how languages provide homes for strangers, even as they grow strange in their homes. ham keh Thahre ajnabii itnii mudaaraato.n ke ba.ad phir bane.nge aashnaa kitnii mulaaqaato.n ke ba.ad -Faiz Ahmed Faiz


Getting the Band Back Together: Reuniting the Kanchi Yoginis
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Half Day, Afternoon
Room: Assembly Room
Floor: Floor 1

Katherine Kasdorf - kkasdorf@dia.org (Detroit Institute of Arts)

We propose to begin a conversation about reuniting, at least for awhile, the tenth-century sculptures of yoginis, matrikas, Shiva, Shanmuga, and door guardians that once may have lived together in a yogini temple in southern India, in the region of Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu. These sculptures journeyed around the globe and scattered across North America and Western Europe starting in 1926, thanks to the prodigious efforts of the art historian Gabriel Jouveau-Dubreuil and the art dealer C. T. Loo. Powerful and charismatic as these figures are in their current homes, they come to life as a swaying, coordinated choir of sorts when they rejoin each other’s company, as the three still-united yoginis at the Musée Guimet in Paris demonstrate, and as the reunion of three other yoginis demonstrated four years ago at the Freer|Sackler’s exhibition Yoga: The Art of Transformation. Kasdorf, as a curator of the yogini now at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and Kaimal, as author of a book on these Scattered Goddesses, invite their colleagues who care for the other members of this sculptural set, or whose research relates to them, to come together and discuss the possibilities of a more thorough family reunion, through an exhibition in Detroit and potentially elsewhere. During a half-day symposium at the Annual Conference on South Asia, we aim to develop ideas for such an exhibition collectively with participants, through short presentations interspersed with longer periods of discussion and brainstorming. Given the many colleagues who have expressed interest in joining this conversation, the symposium format will be more conducive to this collaborative work than a panel format would be, allowing for productive, organic discussion on the sculptures’ complex histories and on how best to present their many stories to a museum-visiting public.


Digital Humanities and South Asian Studies
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Half Day, Afternoon
Room: Caucus Room
Floor: Floor 1

Rini Bhattacharya Mehta - rbhttchr@illinois.edu (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign)

A significant trend in the 2010s in the American R1 universities has been varied degrees of institutional investment in the digital humanities. In addition to separate centers for digital humanities that have been created in the last decade, various units such as university libraries, and departments of Linguistics and Computer Science have begun to develop research clusters and pedagogical strategies that are truly interdisciplinary in nature. Their aim is to train a new generation of humanities scholars who would be conversant in programming, ‘data analytics’ and ‘text mining’ and a generation of computer scientists who can expand their skillsets to enrich the curation and analysis of literature and media in our increasingly digital world. Digital Humanities and South Asian Studies brings together scholars and students of South Asia who are either actively engaged in or are interested in incorporating digital methods and tools in their research and teaching. Besides our group of presenters/discussants, we will invite participants on various aspects of digital humanities: from data analysis, visualization, and mapping to machine learning and beyond. Our daylong symposium will be divided into four panels, each dedicated to a group of presentations organized around one subject area. Tentative subject areas are Citiscapes, Cinema & Media, Mapping Literature, and Literature/Culture+Computer Science. These areas may be reconfigured once we formulate a final list of presentations.


Public Intimacies in Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Half Day, Afternoon
Room: Senate Room A
Floor: Floor 1

Sophia Powers - sophiatheasp@gmail.com (UCLA)

Art may communicate private thoughts, fears, beliefs and desires in the public sphere. Art may also express the subjective dimension of an experience that is essentially public. This panel aims to interrogate the slippage between public and private realms of expression and experience that underlie and animate so much of South Asia’s art and visual culture in recent decades. How have publics been recently re-imagined as subjects of artistic address in shifting exhibition contexts? How have artistic practices evolved in response to profoundly embedded local community contexts on the one hand and increasingly international audiences on the other? In what ways have mounting concerns over abuse of personal power and the rise of the Me Too movement affected the political landscape of visual practice and exhibition? How have issues of biography as well as alterity animated visual expression in South Asia? These are just a few of the questions that will be addressed through a close consideration of a range of artistic practices as well as the development of art historical discourse and theory over the modern and contemporary period.


On Bangladesh’s Recent Pasts and Immanent Futures: Commemorating 30 Years of AIBS
Symposium

Location

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

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

The last 30 years have seen tremendous change in Bangladesh. It has witnessed the return of democracy emerging out of over a decade of military rule to the rise of development models such as microfinance; the emergence of new militancy within the state; the rise of climate change as an existential threat; refugee crisis; and more. This symposium invites scholars to reflect on the above transformations in the social, cultural, political, environmental, and economic landscapes of the country. Our theme and interest here is tracing and historicizing contemporary Bangladesh by interrogating the ways that challenges around questions of democracy, development, and refugees are shaped by the country’s recent and more distant pasts. We choose this 30 year timeframe not only because it has been a period of tumultuous change. It has also been a period during which the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies has been involved in collaborative, scholarly investigations of Bangladeshi culture, politics, economy, and society. We see this 30 year anniversary as an opportunity to reflect not only on what AIBS’s accomplishments have been and what has happened in Bangladesh in its recent past, but also as an opportunity to think through and chart a future of scholarly engagement with this rapidly changing country. As such, this symposium will showcase cutting edge work on Bangladesh’s history, culture, society, economy, and environment, exploring and contextualizing both where the country has been and where it is going. There will be several events including standard panels and presentations in the morning followed by a concluding roundtable with former grantees of AIBS as part of the afternoon symposium. The proposed symposium will set a new agenda for scholarship on Bangladesh in the coming years, commemorate AIBS’s past achievements, and it's future planning, programming, and areas to focus.


South Asian Islam and the Question of "Minorities": Religion, Pluralism, Violence, and Peace
Symposium

Location

Session: Symposium - Half Day, Afternoon
Room: Parlour Room 627
Floor: Floor 6

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

This South Asian Muslim Studies Association symposium would explore, from multiple disciplines, the question of “minorities” in relation to the intellectual, political, and social histories of South Asian Islam. Recent political developments across South Asia have brought problems of minority suffering and majority/minority relations and tensions into sharp focus. The aim of this symposium is to interrogate the complex and consequential politico-conceptual terrain occupied by the interconnected themes of Islam as a minority tradition in South Asia, and that of minorities and minority traditions within South Asian Muslim societies. What sorts of intersecting yet divergent histories of “minoritization” have contributed to the emergence and persistence of minority identities, especially in relation to the experience of South Asian Muslims? How is the category of minorities engaged in the South Asian Muslim intellectual tradition? What sorts of shifts and continuities mark the conceptual career of the “minorities” question in the transition from pre-colonial to colonial and post-colonial South Asian Islam? Taking up these critical questions, the participants will reflect on key scholarly trends and approaches that have shaped conversations on the themes of minorities, pluralism, violence, and co-existence in the study of South Asian Islam and Muslim societies. The theme of minorities promises not only a truly interdisciplinary inquiry into a specific topic of significance in South Asian Muslim studies; it also offers the possibility of combining perspectives from the modern and pre-modern time-periods, and from all countries and regions in South Asia. Paper presentations, an author-meets-critics session and discussion of the forthcoming book In a Pure Muslim Land, and a roundtable on public intellectual engagement, featuring an editor from the “New Books in Islamic Studies” podcast, will vary the traditional paper panel structure. This symposium will bring together both early career and senior scholars, and will ensure gender inclusive participation.


Movements in the ‘After’: Crafting Responses to New Political Imperatives
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Vithya Subramaniam - vithya.subramaniam@gmail.com (University of Oxford)

The shadows of some events are cast long and far, coloring how we see, and compelling us to move differently in their light. This panel is interested in seeing how the shudder of such events—namely WWII, Operation Blue Star, 9/11 and the subsequent ‘Global War on Terror,’ and #RhodesMustFall—entail realignments and reconceptulizations in their wake. Tracing moves across text, space, institutions, and the visual, this panel examines how various actors across the world craft memory, history, identity, and community in light of the new political imperatives of these ‘Afters’. Ad hoc 14


Presenter 1
Sushmita Sircar - ss8191@nyu.edu (NYU)
Aftermaths of the World War: Claiming Military Identity in India’s Northeastern States

Presenter 2
Vithya Subramaniam - vithya.subramaniam@gmail.com (University of Oxford)
Memory after Bluestar: Creative Cartography as Strategic Memory Work

Presenter 3
Nizar Ahmad - nizar@uop.edu.pk (University of Peshawar )
Pakhtun Hujra: A Peace Friendly Space

Presenter 4
Simona Vittorini - sv4@soas.ac.uk (SOAS)
#GandhiMustFall – Statues, the politics of memory and the rewriting of history

Presenter 5
Ishani Dasgupta - ishanid@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania )
Collateral Damage: Implications of the “Global War on Terror” on the Tibetan Resistance Movement


Stone Bead Technologies of Harappa, the Indus Tradition and Beyond
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Gregg M. Jamison - gregg.jamison@gmail.com (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

The study of stone beads made from soft and hard stone raw materials has revealed important new information on the development of trade networks, ornament traditions, and ideology during the prehistoric periods of northwestern South Asia. This session will focus on the acquisition of raw materials and the production of beads during the Indus Tradition, dating from around 3700-1000 BCE. The two papers by R. Law and B. Chase will focus on the long term research on beads made of soft stones such as steatite, that were produced at numerous sites throughout the greater Indus Valley region. Their innovative study of steatite source areas provides some of the most robust data for understanding changing networks of trade in raw materials and the movement of finished goods. They also present a database for use by scholars to compare and analyze steatite beads from sites throughout the Indus region. The presentation by J. M. Kenoyer will discuss new ways of describing beads and analyzing bead production based on more than 30 years of research on beads from excavations at Harappa. Distinctive types of bead manufacture can be associated with specific workshop traditions that are characteristic of the site and can be compared with workshops at other Indus settlements. The paper by G. Ludvik expands the study of Indus beads to site of Mycenae in the Mediterranean region. His innovative study of beads reveal the trade of Indus beads long after the end of the Indus cities. Each paper involves the use of different complementary scientific and stylistic methodologies to address important questions regarding the artistry and ornament styles of South Asia and their impact on local trade and interaction, as well as more distant cultural traditions.


Presenter 1
Randall Law - rlaw@wisc.edu ()
The geologic provenience and exchange of Harappan steatite beads: Part 1 - Building a new geologic INAA database to source heated, low-weight beads

Presenter 2
Brad Chase - bchase@albion.edu (Albion College)
Geologic provenience and circulation of Harappan steatite beads: Part 2 - Developing a database of published collections

Presenter 3
Jonathan Mark Kenoyer - jkenoyer@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Stone Bead Technology and Artistry at Harappa: New insights on shaping and perforation of soft stone beads and hard stone beads

Presenter 4
Geoffrey E. Ludvik - ludvik@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin - Madison)
From the Indus to the Aegean: New Evidence for Indus Style Carnelian Beads at Mycenae, Greece


Imaging Identity: Discourses and Technologies of Caste and Color in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Victoria Gross - vgg2108@columbia.edu (Columbia University)

Ad hoc 20, Politics, Caste


Presenter 1
Helena Reddington - helena.reddington@mail.mcgill.ca (McGill University)
Poets, Princes, and Soldiers with Dutch Guns: Caste and Social Satire in the Tuḷḷal Genre of Kerala

Presenter 2
Rumela Sen - rs723@cornell.edu (Cornell University)
Richard Bownas - richard.bownas@unco.edu (University of Northern Colorado)
Caste Inequality and Class Politics: The Revolutionary Left in India and Nepal

Presenter 3
Victoria Gross - vgg2108@columbia.edu (Columbia University)
Resurgent Heroes and Resistance to State Power: Caste and Politics in South India

Presenter 4
Ketaki Jaywant - jaywa001@umn.edu (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
The ‘shudra-artisan’ in anti-caste discourse in nineteenth-century western India.

Presenter 5
Anirban Baishya - baishya@usc.edu (University of Southern California)
Selfies and the Epidermal Politics of Fairness in India


Imagining Rural Futures Through Land and Power
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Andrew Flachs - aflachs@gmail.com (Purdue University)

Ad hoc 6, Environment, Farming


Presenter 1
Andrew Flachs - aflachs@gmail.com (Purdue University)
Creative rural solutions amid agrarian crisis and cotton capitalism in Telangana, India

Presenter 2
Sadaf Javed - sadaf.javed@rutgers.edu (Rutgers University)
From Chipko to Baranaja: Untangling the politics around agroecology in Uttarakhand (North India)

Presenter 3
Pallavi Raonka - pallavi9@vt.edu (Virginia Tech)
Munda and Land- Understanding Indigeneity in the Neoliberal Jharkhand, India

Presenter 4
Vivekananda Nemana - vnemana@princeton.edu (Princeton University)
The Inheritance of Uncertainty: Coming of Age after the End of Farming in Rural India


Mādhva Vedānta in Context: Charisma, Critique, and the Legitimation of a Religious Movement, 1300-1600
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Lawrence McCrea - ljm223@cornell.edu (Cornell University)

Since the fourteenth century, proponents of Mādhva Vedānta –– a popular religious movement that developed around its eponymous founder Madhva Ācārya –– have made significant contributions to the theological and scholastic debates of South Asia. As advocates of a broadly “dualist” (dvaita) exegetical program, proponents of Mādhva Vedānta have incited controversy and exerted influence in equal measure. Despite the scope of its influence, Mādhva Vedānta has attracted relatively little scholarly attention. This panel brings together a group of scholars, whose collective research spans over three centuries, in order to analyze the intersection of knowledge-production, social movements, and institutions of political and religious power in Mādhva Vedānta. In doing so, this panel not only makes an important contribution to understanding Mādhva intellectuals and their historical contexts, it also contributes to ongoing methodological conversations on how to engage religious, literary, and scholastic texts with a view to social history.


Presenter 1
Anusha Sudindra Rao - anusha.sudindrarao@mail.utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Madhva’s Draupadi: Deification and The Question of Qualification in Madhva’s Theology

Presenter 2
Valerie Stoker - valerie.stoker@gmail.com ()
In Charisma’s Wake: Madhva’s First Disciples get Organized

Presenter 3
Nabanjan Maitra - nabanjan.maitra@gmail.com (University of Chicago)
The Ends Justify the Meanings

Presenter 4
Jonathan Peterson - jon.peterson@mail.utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Critique and Catharsis in Western Kanara: The Anti-Jain Polemics of Vādirāja


Reframing Literary Traditions in Precolonial Contexts
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Srilata Raman - s.raman@utoronto.ca

Scholars face a complex array of forces in the study of South Asian literary traditions. The texts use subtle poetic techniques to convey ideas and communicate their message to readers. Authors borrow freely from multiple literary genres and blend innovation with allegiance to past traditions. And in many cases, both text and author are mediated by a lengthy reception history in the form of commentaries, sermons, and popular media. In light of this complexity, how should we approach the reading of literary texts in the South Asian context? How do we account for the diverse textual projects of authors? How do we theorize commentaries, histories, archives, and other supporting materials that provide a framework for the study of a text, corpus, or author? This panel examines these questions by bringing together scholars working across an array of historical, linguistic, and geographic contexts. Their papers range from the fifth century C.E. to the twentieth, the Maithili-speaking North to the Tamil-speaking South, historical accounts of Afghan lineages to theological accounts of Krishna and Shiva and their relationship with their devotees. In light of the fact that so many texts blur, ignore, or otherwise transgress the boundaries of language, genre, and theological convention, these questions are best addressed by assembling a diverse group of scholars whose work focuses on those very features and highlights the central role they play in shaping audiences over time. Together, these papers raise critically important questions in the study of South Asian literatures and use a variety of analytical tools to further the scholarly conversation in this field. Organizing the papers into two separate sessions on the basis of chronology, the panel aims to spark a more robust conversation around the questions outlined above and to lay the groundwork for future research in this area.


Presenter 1
Nicole Ferreira - n.ferreira@berkeley.edu (University of California, Berkeley)
Writing Afghan History, Writing Afghan Mobility: Imagining an Afghan Community in Mughal India

Presenter 2
Kashi Gomez - kashi.gomez@berkeley.edu (University of California, Berkeley)
Ghanaśyāma, his Co-wives, and their Linguistic Division of Labor

Presenter 3
Sophia Nasti - nasti@fas.harvard.edu (Harvard)
Exploring the Contours of a Śaiva Landscape in Māṇikkavācakar’s Tiruvācakam and Tirukkōvaiyār

Presenter 4
Jason Smith - smith.jason.william@gmail.com (Harvard Divinity School)
The Tacit Literary Strategies of the Tirukkuṟaḷ


‘Mapping the world and self’: travel and geographical imagination(s) in South Asia and the Empire
Panel Group

Location

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

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

This panel brings together four papers that analyze connections between explorations, travel to different parts of the empire and beyond during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and constructions of the ‘self’ in this process. By examining professional map-making and surveying, constructions of different kinds of colonized masculinities and worldview of members of the Indian diaspora as imperial citizens, these papers reveal the ‘artistry’ and ‘skill’ of these creators in undertaking both the real and imaginative explorations through their writing. In doing so, these papers reveal different dimensions of the effects of colonial rule on the bodies of colonial subjects in the social and political worlds that British colonialism created in South Asia and in the Empire, and the myriad ways in which colonial subjects attempted to negotiate the constraints of imperial power and rethink their role and place in the larger globalizing world. Tapsi Mathur’s paper on ‘Natives and Trans-frontier Exploration in Colonial India’ focuses on geographical knowledge made available by native explorers as an exercise in ‘artistry’ where they transgressed the expectations of being mere collectors of information. Rajashree Mazumder’s and Subho Basu’s papers analyze diverse strands of Bengali children’s adventure literature written in the early part of the twentieth century to understand different conceptions of masculinity as constructed by these authors and how that would contribute to the project of nation-building and simultaneously, anti-imperial internationalism. Emma Alexander’s paper investigates the youth culture of protest in the Indian community in South Africa against the dominion government’s decision to ban ‘Asiatic’ Immigration and demands to maintain their resident status as subjects of the British crown.


Presenter 1
Tapsi Mathur - tapsi.mathur@ntu.edu.sg (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
In the Service of Empire: Natives and Trans-frontier Exploration in Colonial India

Presenter 2
Rajashree Mazumder - mazumder@union.edu (Union College)
‘In Search of Mammon’s Treasure Trove’: Hemendrakumar Roy's ‘Artistry’ in Use of Travel in Bengali Children’s Adventure Literature

Presenter 3
Subho Basu - subho.basu@mcgill.ca (McGill University)
Drum Beats of Death: Nonviolent Masculinity, War and Anti Imperial adventures of Bengali Men

Presenter 4
Emma Alexander - emma.alexander99@gmail.com (University of Winnipeg)
Imperial Subject Youth: Challenging Exclusions on ‘Asiatic’ ‘Travel’


Art, Citizens, and the State in Nehruvian India
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Arvind Rajagopal - ar67@nyu.edu (New York University)

The creation of an independent Indian republic, after nearly two centuries of colonial rule, came freighted with the simultaneous expectation of the establishment of a new national culture, while preserving an Indian core. Over the next two decades the Nehruvian state would engage in a variety of projects to fashion a new national art and aesthetic—at once traditional and modern—and also deploy it as a medium to serve different ends. The papers in this panel grapple with some of the ways in which art in independent India was put in service, or made the object, of cultural, economic, and political projects. Isabel Huacuja Alonso will examine the decade long tenure of B. V. Keskar at All India Radio (1952-62), arguing that his championing of ‘tradition,’ through classical music and Sanskritized Hindi, sought to fashion a new national soundscape premised on the citizen-listener. Nikhil Menon will analyze the ways in which the Nehruvian state deployed, and elicited, art in service of ‘democratic planning’ and the planned economy—through an array of organizations ranging from the Songs and Drama Division, Films Division, and Yojana to Bollywood and the Bharat Sadhu Samaj (Indian Society of Ascetics). Anthony Acciavatti will trace the path of two geodesic domes that travelled across India in the 1950s showcasing new textile designs and industrial objects to the Indian public, while simultaneously collecting data to create a market for design in the country. Ateya Khorakiwala highlights four documentary shorts produced by the Films Division in the late 1950s and the 1960s, about three road construction projects in the Himalayas to argue that cutting roads into the country’s inaccessible peripheries developed an aesthetic and spatial language for progress and self-sufficiency. Together, these papers highlight the significance of art in understanding Nehruvian governance.


Presenter 1
Isabel Huacuja Alonso - isabel.huacuja@gmail.com (California State University San Bernardino )
All India Radio and the “Sound Standards” of a Newly Independent India

Presenter 2
Nikhil Menon - nikhilmenon@nd.edu (University of Notre Dame)
Performing Development: Art and ‘Democratic Planning’ in the Nehruvian State

Presenter 3
Anthony Acciavatti - anthony.acciavatti@yale.edu ()
Design in the Age of Domes

Presenter 4
Ateya Khorakiwala - ateya.k@gmail.com (University of British Columbia)
Filming Roads at the Peripheries of the State: Spatial and Aesthetic Logics of the Films Division of India


From Devotional Sentiment to Science: Innovations in Chaitanya Vaishnava Epistemology
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Barbara Holdrege - holdrege@mindspring.com (University of California, Santa Barbara)

This panel takes up the theme of epistemology broadly construed in the tradition that has developed around the Bengali saint Śrī Chaitanya (1486-1533). It does so in order to scrutinize the intellectual resourcefulness of Chaitanya theologians in how they have engaged with various disciplines of Sanskrit learning, have responded to claims of scientific universalism, or could be informative for contemporary humanistic research into the study of religious experiences. The panel brings together scholars who work on different periods of Chaitanya intellectual history, from the early 16th century direct students of Chaitanya, namely Rūpa and Jīva Gosvāmins, to modernity and Kedarnath Bhaktivinoda (1838-1914), and focus on diverse fields of enquiry: classical Indian philosophy and aesthetics, colonial studies, and the intersection of philology with the psychological sciences. The papers, specifically, examine: innovations in the rasa theory of aesthetic pleasure as it concerns the experience of devotional sentiment; engagement with theories about the nature of perception in a project of framing religious epistemology and hermeneutics; the role of scriptural study and devotional practices in the perceptual experience of Kṛṣṇa in the light of contemporary research on religious experiences and psychological scientific researches into consciousness, cognition, and perception; and an indigenous philosophy of science constituting a critical response to Eurocentric scientific universalism, understood as a key factor in justifying western domination of non-Western peoples.


Presenter 1
Kiyokazu Okita - kiyokazu.okita@googlemail.com (Sophia University)
Who Experiences Bhakti-rasa? The Nature of Devotional Practice According to Jīva Gosvāmī

Presenter 2
Aleksandar Uskokov - aleksandar.uskokov@yale.edu (Yale University)
Conceptualized, Immediate, and Yogic – Jīva Gosvāmin’s Theology and Epistemology of Perception

Presenter 3
Travis Chilcott - chilcott@iastate.edu (Iowa State University)
“Conceptualized Perceptions of the Learned”: Theorizing Historically-Embedded References to Direct Perceptions of Kṛṣṇa

Presenter 4
Abhishek Ghosh - ghoshab@gvsu.edu (Grand Valley State University )
Modern Hinduism, Natural Sciences, and Civilizational Difference


Abundant Events, Present Pasts and Future Imaginings: Robert Orsi’s Metric of Presence in Hindu Contexts
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Nancy M. Martin - nmartin@chapman.edu (Chapman University)

This panel of papers accepts Robert Orsi’s challenge to take seriously experiences of presence and thereby contribute to furthering this undertheorized area of religious studies and expanding understandings of lived Hinduism. In History and Presence (2016) Orsi exposes the privileging of “absence” in defining the term “religion” and developing the field of religious studies, such that intersubjective experiences that might be described as “the transcendent breaking into time” are all too quickly analyzed only as social constructions, with what participants have to say largely dismissed. Confronting this bias, Orsi argues for both an “excess of meaning” beyond such causal explanations and for an “abundance of history” that opens the present to the past in undetermined ways, allowing for the transformation of imagination and of individuals and communities. Hinduism includes conceptual categories, such as darshan and lila, that directly address encounters with presence in time, and alternating experiences of divine presence and absence is a major theme in bhakti poetry. Yet when we move into areas of lived traditions—those that articulate encounters mediated by image, place or other material substances or experienced through visions or possession, with those distant, dead, demonic and/or divine, and of attendant miracles and healing—our current methodological toolbox, while extremely helpful, appears inadequate to deal with such phenomena beyond causal and contextual factors. The papers in this panel employ a “matrix of presence” to examine four case studies: a twentieth-century woman who regularly encountered the saint Mirabai in trance states, the sacred space and ritual activities that attend the samadhi shrine of the saint Jnaneshvar, contemporary debates among the followers of Integral Yoga with respect to the divinity of their founding gurus, and the relationship between ritual imaginings of the five sacred Hindu elements and their actual experienced “presence” in Hindu everyday life.


Presenter 1
Nancy M. Martin - nmartin@chapman.edu (Chapman University)
Troubling the Boundaries of Past and Present: Indira Devi’s Extraordinary Encounters with Mirabai

Presenter 2
Mark McLaughlin - markasha@gmail.com (College of William and Mary)
A Samādhi and Its Matrix of Presence

Presenter 3
Patrick Beldio - 29beldio@cua.edu ()
The Abundance of the Integral Yoga: A Case Study of Robert Orsi’s Theory of Presence in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Presenter 4
Vijaya Nagarajan - nagarajan@usfca.edu (University of San Francisco)
The Kolam, Bhudevi, and Climate: “Intersubjective Receptivity” and “Presence” in Hindu Mythology, Ritual and Everyday Life


Marking Heteronormative Masculinity : Possible Directions to Theorize Neoliberal, Visual, Literary, Digital Representations of South Asian Masculinities
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Amrita De - ade1@binghamton.edu (SUNY Binghamton)

Something like Zeno’s paradox of movement in the case of the flying arrow which appears to be ‘motionless’ and ‘at rest’ when it hits its target, heteronormative masculinities appear to be stable and hegemonic (Connell & Messerschmidt) but ‘unmarked’ (Reeser 2010) and invisible at the same time. Masculinity studies in the context of South Asia is currently at a nascent stage with few ethnographic accounts but largely lacking in a critical, theoretical framework. In a bid to respond to the exigency of this theoretical absence, this panel is a timely intervention into the field of South Asian Masculinity Studies.This panel critically examines heteronormative masculine performances by interrogating its connection to postcolonial, neoliberal practices. References to ‘neoliberalism’ and the ‘postcolonial’ in this panel do not simply suggest an examination of contemporary and historical moments that have shaped power-networks, but refer to the specific political, economic, socio-cultural transactions which influence gender relationships at the level of everyday practice and representation. Two major aspects of postcolonial South Asian masculinity/ies are examined here: its relationship to regional-national politics and, more recently, its relationship to globalization, cultural capitalism, and neoliberalism. To this end, this panel will present works by four emerging scholars. Examining a variety of media (visual, digital, literary) and ethnographic accounts, all four papers unpack heteronormative masculine iterations in South Asia (specifically India, Sri Lanka) paving the way for crucial interrogations, necessary in the current socio-political climate. By foregrounding the specific nature of habitus (Bourdieu, 1996), these papers aim to theorize the “structuring structure” which leads to the production of different variants of heteronormative masculinities. The first three papers focus on masculine performances in postcolonial India while the fourth paper foregrounds an ethnographic examination of rickshaw drivers in Jaffna, Sri Lanka.


Presenter 1
Amrita De - ade1@binghamton.edu (SUNY Binghamton)
Of 'Videshi' Interlocutors and Desi Encounters: Where Lies the Post in "Post-Colonial" Masculinities?

Presenter 2
Trinankur Banerjee - trinankur@ucsb.edu ()
Rethinking the Local(s) in the Time of the Global: Stardom, Industry, and Masculinity in Turn-of-the-millennium Bengali Popular Cinema

Presenter 3
Poonam Singh - pkumar.mithi@gmail.com ()
Redefining the Contours of Dalit Masculinity in Indian Social System

Presenter 4
daniel dillon - ddillon154@utexas.edu (University of Texas at Austin)
Unremarked Difference: Gender and Sexuality at a Jaffna Auto Stand


Mediating Multiplicities: Examining the Politics and Aesthetis of Indian Media Industries
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Nidhi Shrivastava - nshrivas@uwo.ca (University of Western Ontario)

Ad hoc 4, Cinema


Presenter 1
Nidhi Shrivastava - nshrivas@uwo.ca (University of Western Ontario)
Blurred Lines between Politics and Cinema in the “New” India: The Censorship of Partition Films (1990s – Present)

Presenter 2
Anu Thapa - athapa25@gmail.com (University of Iowa)
Ressurections and Remediations: Digital Technology and Hindu Fundamentalism in Contemporary Hindi Sci-fi/Fantasy Films

Presenter 3
Sreenidhi Krishnan - sreenidhi.krishnan@wsu.edu (Washington State University)
A Manifesto for Mise-en-scène: Understanding Lives and Livelihood on the Sets of Hindi Soap Operas

Presenter 4
Darshana Sreedhar Mini - mini@usc.edu (University of Southern California)
Rhetorics of Labor in Malayalam Film Industry


Vicarious Creation: Histories and Ethnographies of Economic Sublimation in India
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Sean Dowdy - sdowdy@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)

The hackneyed observation that money begets more money has enchanted theorists of the “dismal science” for over two centuries. In half that time, psychoanalysts have likewise capitalized on the enchantments of capital, appearing as early as Freud’s observations on the “economic model” of libidinal energy and the symbolic equivalence of money and excrement. Drawing on these enchanted traditions, this panel investigates money’s capacity to vicariously create or prompt vicarious creations in colonial and postcolonial India. We are especially interested in two kinds of “sublimation” with respect to economic activity: (1) the classic idea of monetary exchange as a sublimated form of creative activity — i.e., how does money actually produce social values that cannot be generated otherwise? (2) money as the ground for sublimated activity—in other words, when money is scarce how are its promises of universal value equivalency canalized into other forms, ideas, and activities? We approach these questions as anthropologists of India working in the wake of both national demonetization and the increasing financialization of everyday life. Yet we also approach them as South Asianists who share a conviction that money’s power to sublimate or be sublimated has alternative genealogies unaccounted for in economic annals—whether this be in the ways “demonetized” Muslims in Delhi draw on an Indo-Persian poetics of the “bazar” to craft new political theologies of pluralism (Anand Taneja), the ways indigenous peasant communities in Upper Assam extract graft from state-led oil industries toward ends of honor, identity, and status (Tanmoy Sharma), how a counter-conceptual history of sovereignty from the colonial era finds its symbol not in the ash-smeared chapati but in buried treasure troves of gold (Aarti Sethi), or how the recent monetization of sorcery services in Central Assam has inverted gender roles by establishing a figurative equivalence between blood and money (Sean Dowdy).


Presenter 1
Tanmoy Sharma - tanmoy.sharma@yale.edu (Yale University)
Fueled by Politics: Theaters of Extraction in the Upper Brahmaputra Valley

Presenter 2
Aarti Sethi - aarti_sethi@brown.edu (Brown University)
The Trial of Bodhayana Krishna Shastry: Gold, Sovereignty and the Revolt of 1857

Presenter 3
Sean Dowdy - sdowdy@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
Blood and Money: Or, the Gendered Transposition of Sorcery in Mayong

Presenter 4
Anand Taneja - anand.v.taneja@vanderbilt.edu (Vanderbilt University)
Demonetization and the Bazar of Love: The Economics of Indian Muslim Political Imaginaries in the Age of Hindutva


Contesting Narratives: Representations of South Asian Urbanism
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Shelby Ward - shelby08@vt.edu (Virginia Tech)

Ad hoc 2, Urbanism


Presenter 1
Matt Husain - matt.husain@gmail.com (The University of British Columbia)
Who Reaps the Benefit? – Dual Hegemony and Politics of Development in Bangladesh.

Presenter 2
Paroma Wagle - waglep@uci.edu (University of California, Irvine)
Narratives about Water-Access from City of Mumbai: Understanding Contestation in terms of Values, Perceptions, Perspectives, and Preferences of Key Actors

Presenter 3
Alisa Weinstein - afweinst@syr.edu (Syracuse University)
Doctors of Clothing: the art and science of tailors in Jaipur, India

Presenter 4
Aman Banerji - ab2734@cornell.edu (Cornell University)
Contested Urbanization in Bangalore: Legitimizing De-industrialization & Speculation

Presenter 5
Shelby Ward - shelby08@vt.edu (Virginia Tech)
Ranitri Weerasuriya - rnw2113@columbia.edu (Columbia University )
The right to (map) the city: collective mapping practices of ‘Downtown Colombo’


Metaphors and Ideology in the Works of V S Naipaul
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Jassodra Vijay Maharaj - jvijaymaharaj@gmail.com (The University of the West Indies)

Three days after V. S. Naipaul’s death, on 14th August 2018, the website Global Research, the digital platform of the Montreal-based Centre for Research on Globalization, published an article by Edward Curtin, a lecturer in sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. The way he begins is typical of the responses his death elicited: “V. S. Naipaul, the Nobel winning author who just died, was, like so many people, an enigma, at least in his writing. Lauded for his prose style and exquisite way with words, he was seriously criticized for his demeaning of Islam, women, Africans, and others in post-colonial countries, including the Caribbean from whence he came. Such criticism was amply justified.” On this panel we examine the ways in which these responses were elicited by Naipaul’s use and manipulation of figurative language in his work. The Caribbeanness of this predilection is emphasised by comparing Naipaul’s usage with that of contemporary Trinidadian film makers and younger writers. The texts we explore include A Way in the World, Guerrillas, The Return of Eva Peron with the Killings in Trinidad, The Mimic Men, A House for Mr Biswas and the films The Mystic Masseur, Inward Hunger and Earl Lovelace: A Writer in His Place. Metaphors of place are compared to those of ways in order to demonstrate the ideological burdens of metaphoric usage in the Caribbean text.


Presenter 1
Jassodra Vijay Maharaj - jvijaymaharaj@gmail.com (The University of the West Indies)
Figurative Language and Ideology in V S Naipaul's Oeuvre

Presenter 2
Serikha Singh - serikhasingh@gmail.com ()
Translating the Ramayana: A V. S. Naipaul Project

Presenter 3
Meghan Cleghorn - meghan_cleghorn@hotmail.com (The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine)
Kinky Metaphors: Painted nipples and Political overtones

Presenter 4
Amanda Zilla - amanda.zilla.95@gmail.com ()
After the Middle Passage: Marlon James and a Caribbean Legacy


Contesting Memories of Muslim South Asia: Myth, Hagiography, and Narrative
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Hunter Bandy - hunter.bandy@gmail.com (North Carolina State University)

Ad hoc 13, Religion


Presenter 1
Hunter Bandy - hunter.bandy@gmail.com (North Carolina State University)
Recovering the Marghūb al-qulūb of Ṣadr Jahān Ṭabasī: Iranian Sufism, Deccan Shīʿism, and the Destiny of a Sultanate

Presenter 2
Anabelle Suitor - anabelle_suitor@brown.edu (Brown University)
Pir Badr and His Genre: Narrating the Bay of Bengal’s Fisheries in Chittagong, Bangladesh

Presenter 3
Daniel Morgan - danielmorgan@uchicago.edu (SALC)
Controversial dreams: the oneiric afterlives of Shāh Walī Allāh of Delhi.

Presenter 4
Fuad Naeem - fuadsnaeem@gmail.com (Gustavus Adolphus College)
Shāh Walī Allāh of Delhi as philosopher and Sufi: revisiting his legacy through his earliest interpreters


Hungry Translations: Relearning the world through radical vulnerability. Author Meets Critics Roundtable
Round Table

Location

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

Madhumita Dutta - dutta.71@osu.edu (The Ohio State University)

In the Author-meet-Critics roundtable, presenters engage with Richa Nagar’s book Hungry Translations: Relearning the World Through Radical Vulnerability (forthcoming, 2019) written in journeys with Sangtin Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan and Parakh Theatre. The book invites us to reconsider questions of expertise and knowledge production in the academy and social movements as sites of transformative learning and collaborative knowledge creation, and ways to bridge the two disparate and contradictory worlds. In the book, Richa Nagar reflects upon her journeys with many co-travelers through three interrelated spheres of learning. The first is the Sangtin movement of 8000 small farmers and laborers, ninety-nine percent of them Dalit and more than half of them women, working in Sitapur District of Uttar Pradesh. The second sphere involves collective interrogation of Hindu Brahmanical patriarchy, casteism, hunger, and death with twenty amateur and professional actors of Parakh Theatre who have migrated to Mumbai from six other states. The third sphere pedagogically reworks these interlayered journeys of knowing and being with students in a large public university in the USA in a course titled, ‘Stories, Bodies, Movements.’ The course grapples with possibilities and impossibilities of embodied unlearning and relearning of the global, the local, and the intimate by reimagining the borders of the classroom through theater. Nagar’s book reworks academic knowledge making by embodying a new approach to the search for poetic and social justice. It explores the edges and substance of solidarity by grappling with the separations among people across life circumstances, and the possibilities of situated solidarities offered by an ethical search for justice in the face of such separations. In this Author-meet-Critics roundtable, speakers will reflect on Nagar’s work in conversations with their own academic and political work, engaging in discussions around doing research and activism, teaching, and building solidarities across disciplines, geographies and politics.


Presenter 1
Madhumita Dutta - dutta.71@osu.edu (The Ohio State University)
Presenter 2
Shailaja Paik - shailajapaik@gmail.com
Presenter 3
Chaumtoli Huq - chaumtoli.huq@law.cuny.edu (CUNY School of Law)
Presenter 4
Suraj Yengde - suraj.yengde@gmail.com (Harvard Kennedy School)
Presenter 5
Mubbashir Rizvi - mubbashir.rizvi@gmail.com

Vishwakarma and the Art of Crafting
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Vijaya Ramaswamy - vijukrishnan@gmail.com (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Proposed Panel by Vijaya Ramaswamy Professor of History, (Retd) Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University In the world view of the traditional Indian craftsman, crafts and worship had a symbiotic relationship. Crafted objects were not different from objects of aesthetic beauty. Beautiful things were not produced for their own sake. Everything had artistic value and utility. Because man or woman is innately creative and cannot mechanically produce anything, what was produced carried the maker’s aesthetic tastes and worldview. Craftsmen were known as Vishwakarma, literally ‘Makers of the World’. This presentations in this panel will look at the arts and science of crafting. The panel will explore the notion of ‘Fertile time and Traditional Crafts – The idea of ‘Creative Leisure’. An icon is conceived in the mind, meditated upon ‘Dhyana Sloka’ and then the image making process starts – first in clay and then cast in bronze or silver. Apart from aesthetics and symmetry, the traditional craftsmen were also well versed in the scientific aspects of metallurgy and iconometrics in the making of images and finely crafted metal objects like the bell metals lamps from Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu. The panellists will explore the canonical injunctions on crafting drawn from Sanskritic texts like the Shilpa Shastras and the Tamil Maya Nool or texts like Manasara which deals with the building craft or architecture. We also intend to explore the changing dynamics of crafts – the slow shift from traditional crafting to market-driven craft production, from aesthetics to consumerism. The panel while being open-ended tends to move in the direction of culture-care as the best way of reconciling traditional crafting with today’s consumer demands.


Presenter 1
Sowparnika Balaswaminathan - sbalaswaminathan@ucsd.edu (University of California San Diego)
Performing Authenticity:The Aesthetics and Labor of South Indian Bronzecasting

Presenter 2
Vijaya Ramaswamy - vijukrishnan@gmail.com (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
Crafts versus Consumerism: Reflections on Indian Craft History

Presenter 3
Renny Thomas - rennyjnu@gmail.com ()
The Grammar of Crafting: An Ethnography of Tools, Tool Worship and Tool Makers

Presenter 4
Jaya Jaitly - jayajaitly2017@gmail.com ()
Jaya Jaitly The Place of Abhyasa in Crafting


Empire and Liberalism in Colonial India
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Mrinalini Sinha - sinha@umich.edu (University of Michigan)

In the history of liberal political thought, the curious coexistence of seemingly contradictory commitments to domestic liberty and foreign despotism has been a matter of much interpretative labor. Over the last couple of decades, scholars of empire—from disciplines such as history, political theory, and international law—have shed new light on the global constitution of modern liberalism. The intellectual history of colonial India has been at the forefront of empire and liberalism scholarship. This recent body of work has underscored, at once, the formative role of the colonies in the making of European liberalism and the unexpected, and often paradoxical, career that liberalism had assumed in the colonial world (Mehta, Pitts, Bayly, Sartori, among others). This panel, from within the archive of nineteenth- and twentieth-century South Asian political thought, will reconsider old questions in empire and liberalism studies and raise new ones. It will inquire if the normative and conceptual contents of liberalism went through any transformation in its colonial iteration. Was the colonial world a mere laboratory of British liberalism, or did colonial thinkers succeed in fashioning a liberalism of their own? Taking into account the development of liberalism through an aspirational enterprise of limited (and non-popular) representation in colonial India, the panel will further consider the ways in which nineteenth-century Indian liberalism negotiated with the problem of absent colonial sovereignty. Relatedly, the panel will reflect on the apparent obsolescence of liberalism in colonial India after the rise of mass anticolonialism. Bringing together historians, political theorists, and legal scholars, this panel will ultimately bear on the contested legacies of imperial and anti-imperial liberalisms.


Presenter 1
Jon Wilson - jon.wilson@kcl.ac.uk ()
The Illiberalism of Empire

Presenter 2
Nazmul Sultan - nazmulsultan@uchicago.edu (The University of Chicago)
Empire, Popular Sovereignty, and the Dilemma of Colonial Liberalism

Presenter 3
Cynthia Farid - farid@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
High Politics in Low Places: Institutional Conflicts and Separation of Powers in Colonial Bengal (1858-1935)


Regional Styles of Indus Seals, Faience Ornaments and Pottery of the Indus Cities
Panel Group

Location

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

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

The use of distinctive carved steatite seals, many different styles of glazed faience ornaments and distinctive pottery are usually associated with the largest Indus cities such as Mohenjo-daro and Harappa. While these cities in the core region of the Indus Valley have long been used as type sites for the Indus Tradition, the diversity of seal motifs and iconography may derive from peripheral or even exterior regions. The diversity of glazed ornament styles at urban centers can also be compared and contrasted with regional styles of ornaments in the regions of what is now Gujarat, the upper Ghaggar-Hakra River Valley and northern Gangetic plain. Similarly, some of the pottery styles may reflect localized pottery traditions that developed in sub-regions of the Indus Valley. The paper by G. Jamison will present a new analysis of seal motifs from the site of Dholavira in Gujarat that demonstrates the presence of both local motifs as well as motifs linked to the other major Indus cities where seals were produced. M. Ameri will focus on the relationships between Indus iconography on seals and seal motifs from Mesopotamia and Iran. While some motifs on Indus seals may reflect indigenous artistic traditions, it is possible that many local motifs were influenced by styles of iconography from outside regions. The paper by S. Chavali will present an overview of glazed faience ornaments found at the sites of the core regions of the Indus compared to ornaments from regional sites to the east of the Indus Valley. Changing styles of pottery from the site of Chanhudaro in Sindh will be presented by H. Miller. Each of these four papers provide a new perspective on the nature of Indus art and ornament, and the impact of regional cultures on the development and diversity of Indus culture.


Presenter 1
Marta Ameri - mameri@colby.edu (Colby College)
Practice makes perfect? Craft and artistry in the production of Indus seals.

Presenter 2
Gregg M. Jamison - gregg.jamison@gmail.com (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Inscribed Seals from Dholavira: A Comparative Analysis of Carving Styles and Techniques

Presenter 3
Sneha Chavali - schavali2@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Faience Beads from Bagasra, Gujarat: A regional perspective on faience production during the Harappa Phase (2600-1900 BCE)

Presenter 4
Heidi J. Miller - heidiarc@hotmail.com (Middlesex Community College)
Form and Function of ceramic vessels from the Indus Valley Civilization


5 Years of Swachh Bharat: A retrospective on caste, power and governance through the lens of sanitation
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Jennifer Barr - jen.anne.barr@gmail.com (Emory University)

On October 2nd, 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India launched the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM, or “Clean India Mission”), promising that India would be “clean” by October 2nd, 2019. He promised that wastewater would be disposed of safely, that manual scavenging (the practice by which human beings handle the excreta of other human beings) would be eliminated, and that open defecation would be eradicated. Over four years after this announcement, sanitation has undergone significant changes: approximately 90 million toilets have been built, there has been renewed political will around the issue, and billions of dollars have been spent on advertising campaigns. Conversely, the way in which SBM and the current government have dominated conversations around sanitation has concealed problematic processes and unchanging institutional configurations. “Sanitation” here is defined as the safe management of human fecal waste. India’s sanitation problems are massive. According to the WHO and UNICEF, as of 2015, only about 31% of human waste was safely managed, which significantly impacts the economy and human health. Sanitation in India is entwined with gender (O’Reilly et al 2017), caste (Omvedt 2006; Lynch 1969; Vaid 2014; Shahid 2015), colonial legacies (Arnold 1993; Prashad 2001), and Hindu notions of pollution and purity (Douglas 1966; Dumont 1981; Alley 2002). Sanitation also generates infrastructural innovations and requires new institutional organizations and forms of governance (Alley, Barr, and Mehta 2018). Emerging scholarship has only begun to examine the different ways in which sanitation informs and is entangled with different social, cultural, governmental, and economic arrangements. SBM seems to be an especially pernicious way to reframe the long-standing contradictions of caste society to fit 21st century global aspirations. This panel grapples with sanitation and cleanliness in the context of the making of a “Swachh Bharat,” examining power, caste, cultural change, and governance.


Presenter 1
Jennifer Barr - jen.anne.barr@gmail.com (Emory University)
“To serve Mother India by removing the dirt”: Meanings of cleanliness in the BJP’s “Clean India” Mission

Presenter 2
Kelly Alley - alleykd@auburn.edu ()
Beyond the state: emergent forms of household governance for wastewater treatment and reuse in India

Presenter 3
Shreyas Sreenath - shreyas.sreenath@emory.edu (Emory University)
Making and unmaking a manual scavenger: sanitation and caste power in India’s IT capital

Presenter 4
Lindsay Vogt - vogt@umail.ucsb.edu (University of California Santa Barbara)
Calling all psychologists, trainers, and market specialists: Development as a Culture Industry


Between Disparity and Despair: Labor as a New Site of Claim-making
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Purnima Bose - pbose@indiana.edu (Indiana University)

With the recent paths forged by global capital, the question of labor has re-emerged in a significant way. Analysis in the Global North has focused mainly on the notion of precarity. However, in the Global South, precarity have had a long tangled history of exploitation and extraction, traceable to the colonial era. In South Asia, the question of labor poses a specific conundrum. On one hand we have the promise of a formidable emerging economy and the rising middle class, on the other, the wealth gap is widening. This is undoubtedly a matter of gross inequity and justifiably offers much ground to despair. However, a limited focus on the boundary conditions overlooks how labor in this inequitable context has nonetheless surfaced as a site of claim making, the formation of new subjectivities and a stubborn endurance of past worker identities. A set of questions is evolving that defies a simple dualistic conceptualization of labor. In turn, we now need to ask, what constitutes labor? Whose labor is worthy of visibility? How may we think of otherwise ‘invisible’ labor? This panel seeks to explore these questions through a range of places and spaces that include textile mills in Mumbai, women’s labor in the agrarian sector, youth employment in occupied Kashmir and a grassroots sex work movement. In bringing together this wide array of work, the panelists seek to think through continuities and disjuncture’s that underscore each site, and how may we imagine a framework where labor forms a new political domain.


Presenter 1
Mona Bhan - monabhan@depauw.edu (DePauw University)
No Work, No Pay: Curfewed Days and the (un)making of National Time

Presenter 2
Sirisha Naidu - sirisha.naidu@wright.edu ()
Reflections on Land, Gender and Social Reproduction in India

Presenter 3
Maura Finkelstein - mfinkelstein@muhlenberg.edu (Muhlenberg College)
The Vitality of Anachronism: Time and Labor in Mill Land Mumbai

Presenter 4
Simanti Dasgupta - sdasgupta1@udayton.edu (University of Dayton)
The Labor of Risk: Sex Work Movement and HIV/AIDS Survellance in Sonagachi


Southern Style: Parallel Developments across Kannada and Telugu Poetics
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Srilata Raman - s.raman@utoronto.ca

For over a thousand years, the South Indian languages of Kannada and Telugu have shared not only the same script, but also parallel literary histories, poetic artistries, and metrical conventions. Despite the longstanding relationship across Kannada and Telugu, no scholarship to date seriously considers the synchronicity across the literary development of these two major South Indian languages. Filling this lacuna, this panel is the first among many future collaborations of scholars working closely in Kannada and Telugu literatures. Focusing on poetic works spanning from the tenth century to the fifteenth centuries, the papers in this panel rest on the artistry of prosody, with particular attention to vernacular meters, including vacana, ragaḷe, dvipada, and campū kāvya. Gil Ben-Herut traces the inward-moving trajectory of Kannada literature from non-metered vacanas to works with simple local meters (ragaḷe in Kannada and dvipada in Telugu) that influenced later Telugu writings. Picking up on this thread, Jamal Jones focuses on the multiple uses of dvipada (“two-footed” meter) in classical Telugu, spanning from the works of the thirteenth-century poet Palkuriki Somanatha to Gaurana and Madiki Singana, two courtly brahmins of the fifteenth century. Sarah Pierce Taylor examines metrical and narratological components that were central to the widespread success of campū kāvya (mixed prose and verse) in Old Kannada. Finally, Harshita Mruthinti Kamath considers the significance of Kavijanāśrayamu, a tenth-century text that engages both Telugu and Kannada rules on prosody and poetics to stand as the first work of classical Telugu literature. The four presenters, junior scholars from a range of institutions in the United States and Canada, represent the emerging fields of classical Kannada and Telugu studies. Srilata Raman, a senior scholar of Tamil and Sanskrit intellectual formations, will serve as the chair/discussant and contribute to the broader discussion of literary production across South Indian languages.


Presenter 1
Gil Ben-Herut - gilb@usf.edu (University Of South Florida)
Devotional Meters and Translation from Kannada to Telugu and Back (and Back Again?)

Presenter 2
Jamal Jones - jamal.and.jones@gmail.com (University of California, Davis)
How to Write on Two-Feet in Telugu

Presenter 3
Sarah Taylor - sarahpiercetaylor@gmail.com (Concordia University)
The Speed of Prose in Old Kannada Campū

Presenter 4
Harshita Mruthinti Kamath - harshita.kamath@emory.edu (Emory University)
Refuge of Poetry: The Artistry of Prosody and the Controversy of Telugu Beginnings


Reframing Literary Traditions in Colonial and Postcolonial Contexts
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Purnima Dhavan - pdhavan@uw.edu (University of Washington, Seattle)

Scholars face a complex array of forces in the study of South Asian literary traditions. The texts use subtle poetic techniques to convey ideas and communicate their message to readers. Authors borrow freely from multiple literary genres and blend innovation with allegiance to past traditions. And in many cases, both text and author are mediated by a lengthy reception history in the form of commentaries, sermons, and popular media. In light of this complexity, how should we approach the reading of literary texts in the South Asian context? How do we account for the diverse textual projects of authors? How do we theorize commentaries, histories, archives, and other supporting materials that provide a framework for the study of a text, corpus, or author? This panel examines these questions by bringing together scholars working across an array of historical, linguistic, and geographic contexts. Their papers range from the fifth century C.E. to the twentieth, the Maithili-speaking North to the Tamil-speaking South, historical accounts of Afghan lineages to theological accounts of Krishna and Shiva and their relationship with their devotees. In light of the fact that so many texts blur, ignore, or otherwise transgress the boundaries of language, genre, and theological convention, these questions are best addressed by assembling a diverse group of scholars whose work focuses on those very features and highlights the central role they play in shaping audiences over time. Together, these papers raise critically important questions in the study of South Asian literatures and use a variety of analytical tools to further the scholarly conversation in this field. Organizing the papers into two separate sessions on the basis of chronology, the panel aims to spark a more robust conversation around the questions outlined above and to lay the groundwork for future research in this area.


Presenter 1
Christopher Diamond - cldiam@uw.edu (University of Washington)
Singing the Archives: the Mediating Force of Popular Maithili Music and Film in Reading Vidyāpati’s Lyric Poetry

Presenter 2
Priya Kothari - pkothari@berkeley.edu (University of California, Berkeley)
Vessels for the Divine: Notes from the Preaching Throne in the Vallabha Community of Western India

Presenter 3
Jesse Pruitt - jesse.pruitt@mail.utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Combing the Canon for Beauty: Tiru. Vi. Ka.’s selective citation in Murukaṉ allatu aḻaku.

Presenter 4
Kristina Rogahn - kcrogahn@gmail.com (University of Toronto)
Where is the Tamil Literary Critical Archive?


Environmental Histories, Politics, and Management
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Leah Renold - lr22@txstate.edu (Texas State University)

Ad hoc 7, Environment


Presenter 1
Shruthi Jagadeesh - shruthi.jagadeesh@colorado.edu (University of Colorado, Boulder)
Changing Natures: Soliga knowledge and conservation in South Indian tiger reserves

Presenter 2
Priyanshu Gupta - priyanshug15@iimcal.ac.in (Indian Institute of Management Calcutta)
Rajesh Bhattacharya - rb@iimcal.ac.in ()
Inter-ministerial Conflict in Forest Governance in India: Rethinking Anticommons

Presenter 3
Anthony Szczurek - anthos9@vt.edu (Virginia Tech)
The Hindutva Imaginary of Climate Change During the Modi Administration (2014-2019)

Presenter 4
Jonathan Seefeldt - seefeldt@utexas.edu (University of Texas at Austin)
Read the Dam Names: Artisans and Investment at an Early Modern Mega-Project in Mewar

Presenter 5
Leah Renold - lr22@txstate.edu (Texas State University)
Sagar Island: Sacrifice by Drowning, British Interference, and the Descent of the Ganga


Arts of the body: Visions of Exceptional Bodies in Colonial and Postcolonial South Asia
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Aparna Nair - aparna.nair@ou.edu

European imperialist and South Asian nationalist representations and performances of the body in colonial India have received wide scholarly attention. Historians have deftly examined how proponents of imperialism and anti-colonialism used the body to articulate political concerns, skillfully deploying dress, comportment, and gendered interactions to bolster their nation-making ambitions. This panel expands the analysis of bodies from these well-known imperialist and nationalist bodies to often-overlooked ones — to bodies that, for various reasons, do not easily fit into the discourse of the emergence and consolidation of an empire or nation in modern South Asia. The panel pays particular attention to the artistry with which these exceptional, marginalized, or excluded bodies articulated their social, cultural, and political aspirations in colonial and postcolonial South Asia. It explores visual, audio-visual, and written representations of princely and military bodies, as well as the bodies of servants, to reveal the continuities between colonial India and postcolonial South Asia. At the same time, it highlights the ruptures between these periods, as these very diverse bodies carved out spaces for themselves in a new political horizon. In this way, the panel explores the representation and creation of the postcolonial, highlighting how experimentation with the arts of the body articulated concerns around sovereignty and nation-making in postcolonial South Asia.


Presenter 1
Satyasikha Chakraborty - satyasikha@gmail.com (The College of New Jersey)
“‘My Kala’: Colonial racialization of the bodies of lower-caste gendered care-givers”

Presenter 2
Madihah Akhter - madihah.akhter@gmail.com (Stanford University)
“An Experiment in Unveiling: Sultan Jahan Begum of Bhopal”

Presenter 3
Kate Imy - kate.alison.imy@gmail.com (University of North Texas)
“Representing the Post-Colonial ‘Gurkha’: Interracial Closeness and Nepali Bodies in the Malayan Emergency”

Presenter 4
Teresa Segura-Garcia - teresa.segura@upf.edu (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
“The traveling princely body in India and the world, c. 1900-1970”


Eating in and out of South Asia: dynamic histories of food in modernity
Panel Group

Location

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

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

This panel brings together a series of dynamic papers that set Indian food cultures and their itinerant ideologies in motion, as the papers work together to reveal the ways in which food history can be deployed to ask deep questions about the working of politics, the boundaries of community, and the construction of personal and collective subjectivities. And yet, the practices of eating, preparing, distributing and even regulating food also reveal an intimacy and singularity of experience that complicates a simply political reading of food in its historical context. The papers together reveal the complexity of balancing these experiences with food cultures in South Asia and its diaspora, where the inclination to think critically of the politics involved in the deployment of food as discursive tool are marked by the particularities of eating, and where, conversely, the seeming universality of a food culture is illuminated by those subjects it excludes. Jo Sharma draws on her work with the City Foods Project to examine the trends, tropes and traditions around Indian street food and the people who sell it in India and around the world. Siobhan Lambert-Hurley & Sanchia de Souza both explore the pragmatics of beef-eating and its alternatives in different contexts; Lambert-Hurley uses this mode of division, beef-eating and beef-abstaining, to think about how food marks identity in the practices of food preparation and consumption in South Asian communities and their diasporas; de Souza explores the spatial politics of vegetarianism in colonial India, contrasting nationalist ethics vested in abstention from beef-eating with the pragmatics of a vibrant cattle economy. Rachel Berger explores the genealogy of vanaspati ghee to think about the reliance on authenticity in discussions of food, which occludes more revealing conversations about difference as a historic food product gives way to a new one.


Presenter 1
Jayeeta Sharma - sharma@utsc.utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Street Vendors, their Vending Cries & Actions: Local & Global Food Histories from South Asia & Beyond

Presenter 2
Siobhan Lambert-Hurley - siobhan.lambert.hurley@gmail.com (The University of Sheffield)
‘Human or not, everyone has their own habits and tastes’: Food, Identity and Difference in Muslim South Asia

Presenter 3
Rachel Berger - rachel.berger@concordia.ca (Concordia University)
Fake it to Make it: Vanaspati Ghee and the Indian Authentic in the mid-twentieth century

Presenter 4
Sanchia deSouza - sanchia.desouza@mail.utoronto.ca (University of Toronto )
City as Slaughterhouse: Writing the Spatial Politics of Vegetarianism in Colonial India


Challenging the Boundaries of Pilgrimage in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Caley Smith - smith.caley@gmail.com (Young Harris College)

This panel explores phenomena that challenge and expand traditional scholarly conceptions of “pilgrimage” in South Asia. While pilgrimage is generally understood to be an intentional journey to a place already imbued with meaning even before a particular pilgrim’s journey begins, each of the case studies presented here suggest that pilgrimage might, in some significant way, be otherwise. What if a traveller lacks overtly religious motivations at the start, or they express a disinterest in actual, physical travel? What if a pilgrim’s journey was wholly imagined such that it must be subsequently realized in reality? With these questions, we aim to think more broadly about how people in South Asia have inscribed places with meaning and paved paths for anticipated visitors. The first paper explores the feminist movement in Pakistan today and the strategies by which time, space, and journey are employed to create new feminist spaces of aspiration. The second paper examines medieval and early modern documents which prescribe the establishment of new pilgrimage sites as part of a program to create legal autonomy in the Deccan. The third paper, analyzing a textualized journey in a tantric Buddhist biography, probes the ways that literary works refigure real landscapes as they imagine people and places in tandem. The fourth paper examines the impact that British dams in the Nilgiris had on Toḍa seasonal migration, arguing that this journey served as the performative occasion of Toḍa mythology. Individually, our papers demonstrate a transgression or re-envisioning of the terms that have typically characterized a religious or spiritual journey. Together, through conversation about what exceeds the bounds or flips the script of pilgrimage, we hope to nuance and enrich our understanding of religious journeys in South Asia.


Presenter 1
Sadaf Jaffer - sadaf.jaffer@gmail.com (Princeton University)
“The Future is Feminist”: Pakistan's Aurat March Movement as a Pilgrimage of Aspiration

Presenter 2
Jason Schwartz - khecara36@gmail.com (Stanford University)
Sovereign Journeys: Precedent and Sacred Performance in the Deccan

Presenter 3
Elizabeth Angowski - angowel@earlham.edu (Earlham College)
Envisioning Valleys and Virtues in Oḍḍiyāna, Birthplace of Guru Padmasambhava

Presenter 4
Caley Smith - smith.caley@gmail.com (Young Harris College)
Tales of the Dammed: The Effects of the British Dams on Toḍa Myth


The Importance of Being ‘Educated’: Women, Learning, and Mobility in Modern India
Panel Group

Location

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

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

Historically, education for women and girls in India has been the subject of extensive debate. In this panel, we will explore the discussions that determine how women access education, as well as the content that is deemed appropriate for women to learn. Based on extensive fieldwork and archival research, our papers will engage with questions of caste, class, and mobility; suggesting that these are all important factors that mediate(d) how Indian women participate(d) in institutions of higher education. Using an interdisciplinary array of methods, we will examine the transnational movements of capital, knowledge, and women students that continue to reshape the contours of how Indian women accessed education both in India and elsewhere in the world. By focusing on women students, we will demonstrate that gender plays a major role in defining the course of study (for example, the humanities are seen as more suitable than STEM subjects for women to study). This gender-based characterization of fields of study also has implications for nation-building and policy-making. Historically, women have been steered towards more ‘nurturing’ fields of study, encouraged by the state to participate in professions that would help empower less privileged Indian women (for example, policymaking in maternal and child welfare; and obstetrics and gynecology). While our analysis is strongly rooted in this history, we note that these trends have changed in recent times as a result of shifting caste and class dynamics in India and the Indian diaspora, and the resulting social mobility afforded by higher education for women. This panel will capture the context and circumstances of that change.


Presenter 1
Archana Venkatesh - venkatesh.29@osu.edu (The Ohio State University)
Are Women Students Welcome here?: ‘Lady Doctors’ and Medical Education in 20th century Madras

Presenter 2
Sri Devi Thakkilapati - sthakkilapati@acluohio.org ()
Caste Feelings: Neoliberal Identity and Caste in Andhra Pradesh

Presenter 3
Renae Sullivan - sullivan.renae@gmail.com ()
More Than Just Homemakers: Transnational Home Economists’ Role in India’s Development, 1964-1972

Presenter 4
Suzanne Schier-Happell - schier-happell.1@buckeyemail.osu.edu ()
Decolonizing Disciplines: Reconsidering Gender and the Arts and Humanities at Indian Colleges and Universities


The Subjects of “Reality”: Celebrity, Performance and Value on the South Asian Small Screen
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Amanda Weidman - aweidman@brynmawr.edu (Bryn Mawr College)

Contest-based music and dance reality shows, as well as shows that partake of the reality TV aesthetic in different ways, have become a major component of television programming in South Asia since the mid-2000s. This panel will address the forms of value and legitimation, as well as of exposure and publicity, that are sought and generated through the affordances of the “reality” format and the small screen more generally. We address three sets of questions. First, reality shows are a complex combination of elaborate staging and the claim to present “reality.” What new forms of performance and new values are generated in these shows, with their emphasis on visibility and liveness? How do the conventions of reality TV coincide with or contradict other modes and sites of performance? Second, what kinds of subjects (citizens, performers, contestants, judges, “experts,” fans, audiences, etc.) are produced on and through these shows? How are social and political identities (e.g. caste, class, gender, religious community, nation) produced or elided? What forms of celebrity are emergent from these shows? Third, what regimes of vision and viewing are at work in these shows? The papers attend to temporalities of viewing (the episode, the season, etc.) as well as to the ways that forms of presence and celebrity differ and interact across televisual, cinematic, and digital social media contexts.


Presenter 1
Anaar Desai-Stephens - Anaarrr@gmail.com (University of Rochester)
'Face value' and changing logics of musical celebrity in contemporary India

Presenter 2
Rodrigo Chocano - rchocano@iu.edu (Indiana University)
Media-worthy traditions: Musical collaboration, nation building and neoliberal logics in Coke Studio Pakistan

Presenter 3
Kristen Rudisill - rudisik@bgsu.edu (Bowling Green State University)
Who’s the Next Prabhudeva? Tamil Identity, Style, and Dance

Presenter 4
Amanda Weidman - aweidman@brynmawr.edu (Bryn Mawr College)
Stigmas of the Reality Stage

Presenter 5
Gwendolyn Kirk - gskirk@wisc.edu (Lahore University of Management Sciences)
discussant


Translating the Sciences in Modern South Asia, 1848-1951
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Andrew Amstutz - amamstutz@ualr.edu (University of Arkansas, Little Rock)

This panel explores the production of scientific knowledge and changing understandings of science in South Asian languages, by focusing on the individuals and institutions that translated “western” sciences in modern South Asia. Within the history of science in South Asia, such indigenous intellectual projects have been conceptualized either as instances of “popularization” of western disciplinary knowledges, or of their “vernacularization” – that is, the translation and creative adaptation of established bodies of knowledge and their practices in a colonial context. This panel engages with this historiography to raise new questions concerning the global circulations of scientific knowledge from the perspective of South Asia and the regional embeddedness of the processes by which knowledge travels: Specifically, what did it mean to be a popularizer of science in colonial India, when the language order of the subcontinent, its educational structures, and epistemic communities were being transformed? In turn, how did allegedly universal concepts and bodies of knowledge – ‘society’, ‘political economy’, ‘science’ itself – emerge within the local projects of indigenous actors in South Asia? Our papers focus on engagements with the sciences in the Urdu and Hindi concept-worlds in colonial north India and postcolonial Pakistan. Sarah Qidwai provides an account of the Scientific Society founded by Sayyid Ahmed Khan and interrogates the concept of ‘science popularization’ in the colony. Osama Siddiqui examines the first Urdu translation (1869) of John Stuart Mill’s "Principles of Political Economy" (1848) to follow Indian participation in the global transformation of liberal ideas. Charu Singh investigates the production of Hindi as a language of science with its own technical terminology as a step towards creating a science-literate national public. Finally, Andrew Amstutz explores how long-standing projects of Urdu science education were reconfigured for Pakistan. Each paper examines the production of specific vernacular scientific texts in South Asia.


Presenter 1
Sarah Qidwai - sarah.qidwai@mail.utoronto.ca ()
Identifying Science Popularizers in British India: A Case-Study of Sayyid Ahmad Khan

Presenter 2
Osama Siddiqui - ors9@cornell.edu (Cornell University)
An Indian Science of Society: Reading John Stuart Mill at Aligarh

Presenter 3
Charu Singh - cs956@cam.ac.uk (University of Cambridge)
A Lexicon of Science: Debating Technical Terms in the Hindi Public Sphere, c.1900-1960

Presenter 4
Andrew Amstutz - amamstutz@ualr.edu (University of Arkansas, Little Rock)
“Urdu as Medium of Science Education”: Refashioning Science Education for Pakistan


Communal Marginalization, Displacement and Citizenship in South Asia/India.
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Huma Ahmed-Ghosh - ghosh@sdsu.edu (San Diego State University)

This panel brings different perspectives to bear on a discussion of contemporary South Asia and the normalization of communal violence and identities. This violence takes place within nation-states, at borders and within people’s imaginations of their place in the nation. The panelists will bring different methodological perspectives, including ethnographic, historical and theoretical in order to understand a) the profound shift in India’s imagination of itself from a secular state to a mono-religious and intolerant nation and b) how South Asia’s borders are closing against minorities, driving them to seek refuge in the contemporary United States. The banality of communal violence and social marginalization has also produced resistance and a hardening of religious and ethnic identities which is evident in daily lives of all, citizens and exiles alik


Presenter 1
Huma Ahmed-Ghosh - ghosh@sdsu.edu (San Diego State University)
Religion in Self-identity of Young Muslim Women: Contradictions and Insecurities

Presenter 2
Shailja Sharma - ssharma@depaul.edu (DePaul University)
Violence and the State in India

Presenter 3
Kalyani Menon - kmenon@depaul.edu (DePaul University)
Shahid/Shaheed, Witness/Martyr: Making Muslim Place in Contemporary India

Presenter 4
Mania Taher - mttaher@uwm.edu ()
Refugee Rohingya Women and Their Change of Spatial Identity in Trans-national contexts


Lying as a Tool of Governance: Con “Artistry” in Sri Lanka’s Political Economy
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Sumudu Atapattu - sumudu.atapattu@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

In 2009 the Mahinda Rajapaksa government ended the thirty-year civil war in Sri Lanka with a military victory against the Tamil Tigers. Rajapaksa won a second term in 2010 promising good governance and prosperity. But he failed. In 2015 the voters elected a new government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that promised “Good Governance.” Today they also stand accused of corruption and deceit. This raises a fundamental issue about sustainability of liberal democracy in Sri Lanka. Why do democracies in some countries fail to produce a set of reasonably honest and competent set of rulers capable of delivering what they promise? Why do voters tolerate such large credibility gaps? Is it because society is too fragmented in the Foucaultian sense and there is no “truth” in the positivist sense? Or is it because there are multiple socio-economic and political structures that generate equally credible alternative positive truths that compete with each other? The four papers on this panel use these competing hypotheses to analyze Sri Lanka’s current political and economic reality and the future prospects for its liberal democracy. The first paper assesses how far the 2015 government has delivered on promises it made with reference to the core areas of constitutional and political reforms. The second describes and analyses how Sri Lankan politicians regularly make promises to bring ethnic harmony that they have no intention to keep and how and why people tolerate such deception. The third attempts to explain the gap that exists between promises made by politicians and actual performance in economic growth and social welfare. The fourth examines how and why working class groups that are marginalized by globalization resort to illegal or deceptive practices to protect their interests.


Presenter 1
Amita Shastri - ashastri@sfsu.edu (San Francisco State University)
Don Quixotes or Con-artists?: Promise and Performance of Sri Lanka’s Yahapalana (Good Governance) Regime

Presenter 2
Neil DeVotta - devottn@wfu.edu (Wake Forest University)
Chuckers and Suckers: Explaining Sri Lanka’s Duplicitous Politics

Presenter 3
Stanley Samarasinghe - ssamara1963@gmail.com (Tulane University)
Economic Growth and Social Welfare in Sri Lanka, 2010-2018: Gap Between Promise and Delivery

Presenter 4
Sandya Hewamanna - skhewa@essex.ac.uk ()
Conning Their Way To Justice: Marginalized Actors within Sri Lanka’s Global Production Responding to Neoliberal Development


At the Margins: Muslims in India
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
M. Raisur Rahman - rahmanmr@wfu.edu (Wake Forest University)

India’s claim to be a home for both Hindus and Muslims in 1947 was a critical component of the ideology of secular nationalism. Since then, Muslims have been seen as a monolithic minority group who fit nicely within the rhetoric of “unity in diversity” that defines Indian nationalism, all the while being “othered” in a variety of ways. In Kashmir, Muslims are perceived as terrorists for forwarding demands for self-determination; in Uttar Pradesh Muslims have been the victims of pogroms and riots; in Assam, Muslims continue to be labelled as “illegal immigrants”; in West Bengal, Muslims face deep socio-economic marginalization and acts of what we might call everyday communalism. On the one hand, we can see how politics at the state level produce specific forms of marginalization; on the other, these specific forms operate within a broader context of an Indian nationalism that is increasingly indistinguishable from Hindu chauvinism, and widespread Islamophobia stoked by the so-called Global War on Terror. Where do Muslims fit in India’s nationalist imagination? Conversely, can Muslims fit or belong within Indian nationalism? The tension between these two questions reflects the tension between how the state homogenizes minority groups and how citizens negotiate their relationship with the state and other groups as they seek to assert themselves politically and socially. In grappling with these tensions, this panel examines how Muslims are both included and excluded forcibly within the nation state and examines the (re)making of a communalized national identity. Panelists will examine a variety of ways in which exclusion and inclusion have been instrumentalized through focused studies of specific areas—Kashmir, Assam, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh. The area focus reveals the diversity of experiences, but a connection forged through a sense of vulnerability produced in this period of Hindu right ascendency.


Presenter 1
Navine Murshid - nmurshid@colgate.edu (Colgate University)
Whatever happened to Bengali Nationalism? Marginalization of Bengali Muslims in West Bengal

Presenter 2
M. Raisur Rahman - rahmanmr@wfu.edu (Wake Forest University)
UP Muslims: From Separate Electorates to Sachar Committee Report and After

Presenter 3
Nagesh Rao - nrao@colgate.edu ()
Schröedinger’s Kashmiris: Colonized subjects as fifth columnists in the metropole


Songs of Exchange: Music and Identity in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Julian Lynch - jalynch2@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Ad hoc 15, Art, Music


Presenter 1
Julian Lynch - jalynch2@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Labor and Politics in Mumbai's Festival Economy

Presenter 2
Mejgan Massoumi - mejgan@stanford.edu (Stanford University)
Icon of Dissent: Ahmad Zahir and the Global Circulation of Sound in and Beyond Kabul, 1960-1979

Presenter 3
Aaron Sherraden - sherraden@wisc.edu (University of Texas at Austin)
India Tastes the Bitter Truths of Strange Fruit

Presenter 4
Hamzah Saif - hsaif@gwu.edu (George Washington University)
Reading rap, writing rhymes: Transmissions and translations of rap in Pakistan

Presenter 5
Brian Bond - brian.e.bond@gmail.com (The Graduate Center, City University of New York)
“Naqalī (“Imitation”): Pakistani Media, Islamic Knowledge, and the Transborder History of Sindhi Sufi Music in Kachchh, Gujarat


Technologies of Control, Dissent and Conformity: Traversing Colonial and (Post)Colonial Visual Cultures
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Nandini Dhar - nandinidhar2112@gmail.com (Florida International University)

This panel addresses the mechanisms of power and control through art and visual cultures in what is known as Republic of India in the present times. Starting from the beginning of the colonial period in the eighteenth century, two of our papers reflect not only the production and circulation of artworks, but also explore the questions of subjectivity and the visual politics of representation (Ghosh and Chatterjee). The other two papers redefine artistry and its platforms through a focus on contemporary politics in India. They examine aesthetics in terms of contestation of identities both individual and collective through the visual cultural exchange that constructs hegemonic structures within the nation (Ahmad and Dhar). Together all the presentations merge the colonial and postcolonial, in a manner that complicates the understanding of nation, state, and the role of art therein. Chatterjee's paper focuses on the political side of the aesthetic, highlighting how certain art forms were conjured to meet some objectives of imperial power- of which both expectations and outcomes were fraught with contradiction. Ghosh’s paper challenges the notion of a rich artistic confluence in Company Paintings and analyzes some of the key artworks as devices of surveillance and control that used the relationship between artist and patron towards a imperial machinery. Dhar explores how visual forms such as photography, come to be widely used to create a state-sponsored iconography, thus becoming important conduits of state-formation. Ahmad's paper is concerned with how visual strategies of state control -- decidedly "unaesthetic" -- are picked up by visual artists, turned into formal aesthetic mechanisms, and deployed to speak back to statist discourses.


Presenter 1
Peerzada Raouf Ahmad - peerzadaraoufjnu@gmail.com (OP Jindal Global University)
Maps and Desires: Insurgent Cartography and Affective Contours of New Kashmiri Social Media Art

Presenter 2
Nandini Dhar - nandinidhar2112@gmail.com (Florida International University)
“Know Your Army”: Militarized Masculinity, Indian Nationalism and Contemporary Cultural Productions

Presenter 3
Amrita Ghosh - amrita.ghosh@lnu.se (Linnaeus University)
Whither Art, in Company Paintings: Rethinking Hybrid Art in British India

Presenter 4
Apurba Chatterjee - achatterjee2@sheffield.ac.uk (The University of Sheffield)
Political Authority and Imperialism in Early British India: A Study in Imagery


The Forties: The Past and Future of India's International Engagements
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Pallavi Raghavan - pallaviraghavan@gmail.com (Ashoka University)

For India’s diplomatic community 1947 represented, more than anything else a sense of continuity, rather than rupture. Decision makers of India’s international relations during the late 1940s and 1950s often actively chose to retain and consolidate upon linkages with the international personality of the government of India before the transfer of power, rather than to discard their colonial inheritance. In this panel, we will piece together some of the influences on the process of shaping India’s international relations in the twentieth century, and analyse the degree to which they could also be representive of alternative formulations of of South Asia's territoriality, and sovereignty, than those which are held today. The individual papers—on the different ways in which the geopolitical significance of the Indian ocean was analyzed (Rechards, B); on attempts to increase India’s international standing as a moral actor in the international arena through its responses to the humanitarean crists in Malaysia, Indonesia and Korea (Framke, M); on attempts to use the moment of decolonization to consolidate its influence in the South East Asian region (Bhardwaj, S.); and in the analysis of the negotiations between the governments of India and Pakistan during the 1950s on the making of the Minorities Pact (Raghavan, P) will offer insights into the influence of continuing of historical connections across the Asian region on the one hand, and the extent to which this was curtailed by the fashioning of nationalistic identities, on the other. The panel will thus present arguments about the need for a more historicised, and longer-term perspective on the factors that influence India's international relations, and examine how questions about India's 'emerging power' status should also be more firmly contextualized within the 1940s, rather than the 1990s.


Presenter 1
Pallavi Raghavan - pallaviraghavan@gmail.com (Ashoka University)
The Making of a 'Minority'Identity: A Diplomatic History

Presenter 2
Berenice Rechards - berenice.guyotrechard@gmail.com ()
The post-colonial sea: Indian visions of the Indian Ocean’s geopolitical space, ca.1940-1980

Presenter 3
Maria Framke - maria.framke@uni-rostock.de ()
Indian humanitarianism as foreign policy tool: The Indian National Congress’ relief work in South East and East Asia, 1946-1953

Presenter 4
Sandeep Bhardwaj - sandeep.bhardwaj@gmail.com ()
An Affair to Remember: India, Britain and the Commonwealth in Southeast Asia


The Foundations of South Asian Cuisine: Indus Foodways in Urban and Rural Settlements
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Richard Meadow - meadow@fas.harvard.edu (Harvard University)

The emergence of Indus cities ca. 2600 BCE was closely linked to the diversity of subsistence resources including plants and animals that were exploited in different ecological zones and to the ability to supply cities with these regional resources. The study of Indus subsistence has shown that many of the basic elements of later South Asian food traditions have their roots in this critical period of urban development. All of the domestic animals (cattle, water buffalo, sheep, and goat), and major grains (wheat, barley, millet and rice), as well as spices and distinctive South Asia fruits have now been identified from different Indus sites. The paper by J. Bates provides a critical assessment of the current state of research on Indus subsistence and proposes a more holistic approach to the study of foodways to expand our understanding of these traditions and refine our interpretations. In addition to domestic plants and animals, fish played an important role in subsistence in both urban/rural as well as inland/coastal settlements. G. S. Abhayan presents a recent study of fish remains from Harappan sites in Gujarat, which can be compared with the studies of fish from sites such as Harappa and Balakot. The third paper by A. Mathur presents the results of the residue analysis of pottery from the Early Harappan period at the site of Harappa to better understand what types of foods were being prepared in ceramic vessels. How foods are prepared and stored is an important part of cultural identity, and this is the first study of this kind in the archaeology of the Indus region. The fourth paper by R.H. Meadow takes a step back to evaluate the state of investigating foodways in NW South Asia today in the search for a workable paradigm for interdisciplinary investigations in the future.


Presenter 1
Jennifer Bates - jennifer_bates@brown.edu (Brown University)
Indus Foodways: Exploring the Implications of New Theoretical Perspectives Beyond ‘Diet’ and ‘Subsistence’

Presenter 2
Abhayan GS - abhayangs@gmail.com (University of Kerala)
The Role of Fish in the Food Economy of Harappans in Gujarat, India

Presenter 3
Arvin Mathur - arv.mathur@gmail.com ()
Cuisine and urbanization in the Indus Tradition: preliminary results of organic residue analysis at Harappa

Presenter 4
Richard Meadow - meadow@fas.harvard.edu (Harvard University)
The Study of Ancient Foodways in Northwestern South Asia – Is There Hope for the Future?


Arts of governance, criminality and identity: Rethinking the ‘criminal tribes’ in colonial and postcolonial India
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Jessica Hinchy - jhinchy@ntu.edu.sg (Nanyang Technological University)

By 1947, approximately 3.5 million people in India were classified as ‘criminal tribes’ under the Criminal Tribes Act (1871). Scholars have predominantly framed the experiences of these criminalised communities within histories of colonial law and knowledge. Conversely, these papers view the Act and its postcolonial aftermath from several under-examined vantage points, which collectively bring out the rooted, everyday experiences of those subject to the CTA: gender and family histories; labour history; postcolonial constitutional rights; and subaltern cartographies. The panel brings together historical and anthropological approaches, and papers that span from the 1870s to the present, to complicate the methodological and temporal boundaries of existing scholarship. Jessica Hinchy suggests that centering gender, sexuality and family in histories of the ‘criminal tribes’ reveals new aspects of colonial and middle-class Indian projects and extends our understanding of the gender history of low-caste communities. William Gould shifts our attention to labour history, showing that notions of criminality, as well as grassroots concepts of rights, were constructed through negotiations over work cultures, migration patterns and family units. His analysis opens up connections to wider histories of labour migration. Sarah Gandee examines the postcolonial afterlife of the CTA in the form of habitual offender legislation, which was an uneasy compromise between the constitutional right of equality and the continued criminalisation of ‘Denotified Tribes.’ She asks, was the state’s rights language performative? Varun Sharma explores how today, formerly criminalised communities map space through ritual in ways that challenge the postcolonial state’s sedentary-centric modes of cartography. Moving beyond reading the archive against the grain, he asks challenging questions about subaltern knowledge forms. Throughout, the papers explore the ways in which studies of the ‘criminal tribes’ offer new perspectives to ideas of criminality and identity, and how these were central to the workings of colonial and postcolonial governance.


Presenter 1
Jessica Hinchy - jhinchy@ntu.edu.sg (Nanyang Technological University)
Gender, family and the policing of the ‘criminal tribes’ in nineteenth century north India

Presenter 2
William Gould - w.r.gould@leeds.ac.uk ()
Labour and penal control in the criminal tribes ‘industrial’ settlements in early 20thCentury western India

Presenter 3
Sarah Gandee - s.e.gandee@leeds.ac.uk ()
Performing equality: ‘Criminal tribes’ and the Constitution in 1950s India


Caste, Labor and Transnational solidarity activism
Round Table

Location

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

Richa Nagar - nagar@umn.edu (University of Minnesota)

Increasingly, as transnational solidarities are facilitated through technology and mobility, the terrain of standing with -- and becoming one with political struggles remains fraught and deeply entrenched in social hierarchies defined not only by caste, race, ethnicity, religion, age, class, gender, and sexuality, but also by identities, ideologies, and institutions. While clicks of a mouse, ‘likes’ on Face Book, and ‘twitter storms’ make it easy to express solidarity with people and struggles across thousands of miles, long-term and meaningful solidarities do not emerge from such actions. The deep structural separations and our limited toolkits for overcoming them limit the ways we imagine or practice solidarity across differences and borders. The roundtable draws from our experiences as academics located in U.S. institutions and committed to doing research grounded in social-economic-political justice. It asks: What should define our present intellectual and political agenda in relation to South Asia? What practices do we need to build in order to sharpen and sustain this work collectively? What does it mean to stand in solidarity with the multiple struggles across the region at different scales? As global predatory capitalism and anti-poor and anti-minority populism gather force in the region, the stakes are high for more engaged and ethical forms of transnational solidarity. Drawing from their work as scholar-activists on caste and labor, speakers will share what solidarity work has come to mean for them and the challenges, risks, and responsibilities that accompany this terrain. Such work includes but is not limited to land rights struggles in Pakistan, gender and labor rights in Bangladesh and India, and solidarities between castes and races in India and the U.S. The aim of the roundtable is to have a generative discussion on how to reimagine, nurture, and connect our teaching, research and activism for transformative justice across borders.


Presenter 1
Madhumita Dutta - dutta.71@osu.edu (The Ohio State University)
Presenter 2
Shailaja Paik - shailajapaik@gmail.com
Presenter 3
Chaumtoli Huq - chaumtolihuq@gmail.com
Presenter 4
Suraj Yengde - surajyengde@fas.harvard.edu (Harvard)
Presenter 5
Mubbashir Rizvi - mar306@georgetown.edu (Georgetown University)

History and Collective Memory in South Asia’s Many Pasts
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Daud Ali - daudali@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)

Human communities build and reproduce a social memory of their collective journey through time. In South Asia generative frames of memory have permitted many socially vital histories to co-exist. They were to be found among the high literati of the courts, the guardians of pan-continental religious centers, dominant rural gentry or the humble custodians of local shrines. They were read to kings, narrated to judges or sung by pilgrims treading dusty paths to remote shrines. And they did not have to agree with each other. That began to change with colonization and nationalism. Through the nineteenth and twentieth century, these narratives were increasingly controlled by state educational institutions and the handful of professional historians. But alternative and parallel histories continued. This panel will consider histories and memoryscapes outside the formal academy viewed as types of collective memory. The papers in this panel each address this from different angles. Sumit Guha considers how socio-political settings that required the statement and proof of local memory have shaped the practices of collective memory across South Asia. Richard Davis seeks to explain why some religious practices succeeded in forming recitative communities that left a textual memory of themselves, while others did not. Samira Sheikh looks at several texts to discern the shaping of a memoryscape around the Nawab of Bharuch, ousted by the English in 1772. Purnima Dhavan takes a fresh look at one example of the class of collective biography (tazkirah) in Persian and Urdu, seeing it as an effort at making durable webs of memory, shaped by emotion and not merely by knowledge. Collectively, the papers in this panel provide fresh innovative ways of considering the many ways of shaping collective memory.


Presenter 1
Richard Davis - rdavis@bard.edu (Bard College)
Religious Cultures of Ancient Vidisha: Buried Yakshas, Displaced Garudas, and Buddhist Burial Mounds

Presenter 2
Samira Sheikh - samira.sheikh@vanderbilt.edu (Vanderbilt University)
Remembering the nawab

Presenter 3
Purnima Dhavan - pdhavan@uw.edu (University of Washington, Seattle)
Bedil’s Ghosts: Emotive Memoryscapes and the Spectral Presence in Tazkirah Writing

Presenter 4
Sumit Guha - sguha@austin.utexas.edu (University of Texas at Austin)
The Social Frame of Collective Memory


Adaptiveness in Urdu Across Fields and Genres
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Shahid Khan - sm7khan@gmail.com (Georgetown University)

Ad hoc 5, Literature


Presenter 1
MUSTAFA MENAI - mustafamenai@gmail.com (University of Pennsylvania )
The Adab (Etiquette) of Guidance: Intimacy and Pedagogy between Two Master Poets.

Presenter 2
Afroz Taj - taj@unc.edu (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
The Boy Who Flew: Artistry and Fantasy in Urdu Children’s Comics from the 1950s

Presenter 3
Fizza Joffrey - fizzajoffrey@gmail.com (University of Toronto)
Ghalib, Tawaifs, Bollywood, and Faiz: The Dynamism of Urdu Shiʿi Mourning Poetry

Presenter 4
Gianni Sievers - gianni@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
Sounds, Concepts, Emotions: Urdu Conversations about Music, c. 1900-1930

Presenter 5
Shahid Khan - sm7khan@gmail.com (Georgetown University)
Epiphanies of Muslim Krishna-Bhakta in Early Twentieth Century Urdu Literature


The Human-Elephant Boundary in South Asia: Interspecies Conflict, Conflicts of Interest, and Coexistence
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Andrea Gutierrez - andreagutierrez@utexas.edu (Univ. of Texas at Austin)

What has defined interspecies relations between human and elephant in South Asia’s long history? What have been the attitudes toward, interactions with, and regulations regarding elephants? How have humans negotiated themselves, their religions, and their power in relation to elephants? How did historical human-animal conflicts concerning the elephant differ from the present day situation, and how did the two species manage to coexist? In light of the recent boom of studies on elephantology, often focused on contemporary topics, our panel examines historical aspects of human-elephant relations, highlighting points of conflict, conflicting interests, and coexistence between this non-human animal and the human animal. Our papers present a number of themes, starting with a scrutiny of the material and textual records of early India that reveal complex patterns of conflict and coexistence. Investigation of Buddhist material problematizes the Buddha’s “persona” and his descendance from the elephant. An examination of modes of elephant-human communication focuses on the medieval training of royal elephants in order to explore elephant language and the implications of humans training this animal. Finally, a longue durée study of policies regarding the hunting and killing of elephants in South Asia sheds light on the Asian elephant’s relative success as a species historically speaking, while providing the key to understanding the decline of the elephant in the last two centuries. Overall, our work advances current research on South Asian environmental history, animal language, the human- animal boundary, and animal studies.


Presenter 1
Shibani Bose - shib31@gmail.com ()
Prey, Ally, Adversary: Chronicling the Human-Elephant Interface in Ancient India

Presenter 2
Matthew Milligan - mattdmilligan@gmail.com (Georgia College & State University)
The Dvipendra Who Punctured Bhūmi: Cross-Pollination between Heaven and Earth in the Buddha’s Biography

Presenter 3
Andrea Gutierrez - andreagutierrez@utexas.edu (Univ. of Texas at Austin)
Gajaśiksā: Elephant Education, Punishment, or Linguistic Articulation? Interspecies Communication in the Mānasollāsa and Other Texts

Presenter 4
Thomas Trautmann - ttraut@umich.edu (University of Michigan)
Orwell’s “Shooting an elephant”: the archaeology of a masterpiece


Rethinking the Political in and through the North Indian Public Sphere (c.19th-20th centuries)
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Niharika Yadav - niharika@princeton.edu (Princeton University)

Since its emergence in the 1990s, the concept of the ‘public sphere’ has engendered a rich theoretical debate on the construction of political identities and practices in South Asian historiography (Freitag 1991; Chatterjee 1993; Orsini 2002; Pandian 2002). In recent years, the public sphere has come under critical investigation within historical scholarship on the formation of modern political subjects in South Asia. Against instrumental readings of the relationship between thought and action in political history narratives, recent writing emphasizes the autonomy of ideas and imagination in constructing ‘the political’ in South Asia (Kapila and Devji 2007). The ‘political’ appears not as an aggregate of political facts, but as interrelations between a range of practices, ideas, and groups through which the mode in which the social is constituted reveals itself to us. Our panel extends these insights by analyzing how the political was shaped within and through the public sphere. The critical interlocutors at the center of debates in our papers––Fitzjames Stephen, Ghulam Ahmad, Narendra Dev, and Ramchandra Shukla––illuminate the imaginaries through which the political was historically shaped in South Asia. We look in particular at the role of law, religion, and language in providing the vocabularies to imagine and construct political discourses. In doing so, our panel brings to light a fascinating set of archives spanning literary history, political history and the history of religions. Individual papers discuss the conditions for the emergence of the public sphere in the late 19th century. Further, we study the imaginaries through which these conditions were negotiated, challenged, and occasionally overturned by South Asian interlocutors as they articulated singular relationships between categories such as ‘politics’, ‘religion’, and ‘language’.


Presenter 1
Sikandar Maitra Kumar - smkhist@umich.edu (University of Michigan)
The Politics of Devotionalism: The Devotee in the Late-Colonial Hindi Public Sphere

Presenter 2
Justin Smolin - jnsmolin@gmail.com (University of Chicago)
Revelations Translated and Confirmed: Reflections on the Evolution of Inter-Religious Debate in Nineteenth-Century North India

Presenter 3
Sunny Kumar - sunnyhistory@gmail.com (University of Delhi)
J. F. Stephen and the Emergence of Colonial Jurisprudence on Free Speech

Presenter 4
Niharika Yadav - niharika@princeton.edu (Princeton University)
The Language of Socialism in Postcolonial North India


Energy Transitions at Home: Cooking, Lighting, Cooling, Building
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Deepti Chatti - deepti.chatti@yale.edu (Yale University)

This panel explores socio-cultural, political, and technological aspects of household energy transitions in India and shows how domestic energy consumption is entangled with a set of discursive binaries: rural and urban, tradition and modernity, clean and dirty, expert and user, household and nation-state. These binaries pervade nationalist projects of development as well as global efforts related to sustainability and climate mitigation. Expanding energy access consists of providing new energy services to families and facilitating an ‘energy transition’ to new technologies and fuels. These efforts are driven by a confluence of environmental, health and gender equity concerns. In the realm of cooking energy, Meena Khandelwal focuses on the history of one particular stove experiment grounded in feminist ideas of technology development and suggests some lessons it might teach us about cookstove/chulha improvement. Taking a broader perspective on cooking, Deepti Chatti untangles the traditional/modern teleological assumptions that undergird many energy access projects in India today, including the recent Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. Jerry Anthony shifts our focus from rural to urban. He describes the enormous energy demands of home building and energy-intensive lifestyles associated with rapid urbanization and asks what policies might offer solutions. Thinking of the state, Nandita Badami focuses on solar energy to understand broader governance and moral logics behind the rapid and large scale roll out of renewable energy transitions in India. By expanding the discussion of energy in India to non-technical matters, and grounding current analyses in history on the one hand and aspirations for a better life on the other, this panel illustrates the ways in which energy projects are socially, culturally and politically embedded.


Presenter 1
Meena Khandelwal - meena-khandelwal@uiowa.edu (University of Iowa)
The Nada Chulha

Presenter 2
Deepti Chatti - deepti.chatti@yale.edu (Yale University)
What’s in a name? Troubling dichotomies underpinning energy access efforts in India

Presenter 3
Jerry Anthony - jerry-anthony@uiowa.edu ()
Can we resolve India’s Acute Urban Residential Energy Crisis?

Presenter 4
Nandita Badami - nbadami@uci.edu ()
Governing the Alternative: The Paradoxes of India's Solar Policies


Corporate Gods and Sacred Development: Toward a Genealogy of Market Religion
Panel Group

Location

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

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

This panel seeks to theorize the relationship between religion and economy in modern India. The first panelist gestures toward a genealogy of the term “economy” in eighteenth- and nineteenth- century India, demonstrating that the term previously included a set of technologies (including ones we would deem “religious”) for regulating behavior. The author argues that if “economy” is not just about money and markets but about producing particular kinds of subjects who act in particular ways, it is in fact inseparable from religion. Our second panelist demonstrates how deeply disturbing colonial lawmakers found this inseparability to be. Through cases on Hindu religious endowments, those lawmakers worked to relegate religion and economy into two entirely separate spheres – one private, the other public; one charitable, the other productive of profit. The author argues that this went against the grain of classical Sanskrit jurisprudence. The third paper reveals the ways that religious idioms are deployed unabashedly in the pursuit of wealth in contemporary India. In a Hindu model of business management that circulates at an elite set of business schools, work is framed as worship, investment as a yajna, and profit as prasad. At least some who belong to India’s professional class see religion and economy as inseparable, and they tout Hinduism’s unique ability to create a productive workforce. The fourth panelist argues that religion masks the logic of capital in new urban development projects in the NCR. Property wars and development politics that explicitly exclude and control populations are justified on the basis that this area is the site of the Mahabharata with all of its attendant righteous battles. Rather than cultivating economically productive selves, religion here is a tool for controlling so-called "unruly" others who impede economic growth.


Presenter 1
J. Barton Scott - barton.scott@utoronto.ca ()
Translating Self-Help: Toward a Genealogy of ‘Economy’ in Victorian India

Presenter 2
Christopher Fleming - fleminct123@gmail.com (University of Southern California )
Beyond the Grip of the Hands Invisible and Dead: Fiduciary Relations in Sanskrit Jurisprudence

Presenter 3
Deonnie Moodie - dmoodie@ou.edu (University of Oklahoma)
India’s IIMs and the Institutionalization of a Hindu Model of Management

Presenter 4
Namita Dharia - namita.dharia@gmail.com (Harvard University)
Unruly cities and citizens: religion and the urban development politics of Gurugram, India


Marrying for a Future: Marriage as Artistry in South Asia
Round Table

Location

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

Amrita Ibrahim - ai372@georgetown.edu (Georgetown University)

Organized around a new book on migration, marriage, and belonging, this round table focuses on artistry in and as marriage practices across South Asia. The themes come out of Sidharthan Maunaguru’s book Marrying for a Future: Transnational Sri Lankan Tamil Marriages in the Shadow of War. Maunaguru focuses on marriage among Tamil refugees, showing how they carve out a life and belonging in a world made uncertain by civil war. Looking at “in-between spaces and the figures, documents, spaces, and places within such zones [as] important sites…for an examination of how communities affected by violence strive to re-inhabit the world”, Maunaguru rethinks the status of life in refuge as being in limbo or suspended between past and present. This round table initiates conversation among scholars whose work touches on marriage, kinship, and intimacy through migration, borders, surveillance, legal documents, politics, and violence in contemporary South Asia. If marriage is where uncertainty and certainty, hope and despair emerge together, what does this tell us about their entangled nature in how life is made and sustained? How do notions of the in-between, temporary moments, and transit places/spaces come into play in remaking life and inhabiting a place, even if momentarily? How do the temporalities and rhythms of life, documents, and material possessions come to reconstitute, reconfigure, unmake, and remake life in sites beyond marriage, such as migration, borders, law, politics, and policing? Discussants include Veena Das, Jonathan Spencer, Sharika Thiranagama, Farhana Ibrahim, Megha Sehdev, Sahana Ghosh, and Ammara Maqsood. Their work straddles multiple ‘borders’ across South Asia, variously interrogating belonging, mobility, and social and legal policing. Their engagement with Maunaguru’s themes on temporality, the in-between, documents, and remaking of life will help expand how we see kin-making, friendship, and intimacy as critical sites of belonging and inhabiting place in South Asia.


Presenter 1
Jonathan Spencer - jonathan.spencer@ed.ac.uk (University of Edinburgh)
Presenter 2
Sharika Thiranagama - sharikat@stanford.edu (Stanford University)
Presenter 3
Sahana Ghosh - sahana_ghosh@brown.edu (Brown University)
Presenter 4
Farhana Ibrahim - fibrahim@hss.iitd.ac.in (Indian Institute of Technology Delhi)
Presenter 5
Megha Sharma Sehdev - msehdev@gmail.com (Tufts University)
Presenter 6
Ammara Maqsood - a.maqsood@ucl.ac.uk (University College London)
Presenter 7
Veena Das - veena.das@gmail.com (Johns Hopkins University)
Presenter 8
Sidharthan Maunaguru - sasms@nus.edu.sg (National University of Singapore)

The Space of the Studio: Caste, Gender, Labor, and Technology Practices in the Prabhat Film Company
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Philip Lutgendorf - philip-lutgendorf@uiowa.edu (The University of Iowa)

Film studios were foundational to the formation of north and western Indian cinemas of the 1920s and 30s. Work on Indian studios has been sporadic at best, with the most sustained work on the studio system being done by scholars of Tamil cinema such as Swarnavel Eswaran Pillai. Indirectly, through work on films, stars, publicity, and film culture of that period, certain studios have come to the fore in terms of their significance, such as Prabhat, Imperial, Ranjit, New Theatres, and Bombay Talkies, to name a few. This panel offers the first sustained multidisciplinary discussion of Prabhat Studios as a production company, with attention to its debates over space and caste, its labor practices, its publicity and distribution systems, its response to the transition to sound, and its role in reshaping debates over gender. One key feature of Prabhat was its effective use of bilingual films. By working in both Marathi and Hindi, this panel brings together scholars working with primary materials in Marathi, Hindi and other regional language sources to address the panel’s framing questions: how can we rethink Indian early cinema through the lens of the studio as an integrated system, within which one might consider issues of aesthetics, authorship, innovation, labor, and social concerns pertinent to the 1930s? Part of this discussion will also involve a rethinking of the archive and the degree to which studio-related documents are and are not available in the same way as they are for Hollywood studios. Together the four papers ask if and how this studio integrated discrete forces such as sound technology, gender, orality, caste, studio space and distribution practices, while taking into account the contradictory push and pull of emotions and aesthetic choices as Prabhat’s founders, lead stars, and directors faced conflict and compromise during its most successful years.


Presenter 1
Hrishikesh Arvikar - arvikarrishi@gmail.com (University of Queensland)
Studio as World, Backlot as Production: Indic Imaginations of Space, Touch and Caste in Prabhat

Presenter 2
Rachel Ball-Phillips - rmball@smu.edu (Southern Methodist University)
The Prabhat Touch: Labor and Distribution Practices in Marathi Cinema

Presenter 3
Anupama Kapse - anupama.kapse@gmail.com (Loyola Marymount University)
Shanta Apte and the Aesthetics of Anger

Presenter 4
Neepa Majumdar - neepamajumdar@gmail.com (University of Pittsburgh)
"When the Industry is Standing on its Ear:" Prabhat Studios’ Entry into Sound Cinema


The Art of Record-Keeping in South Asia: Beyond the Colonial Archive
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Nandini Chatterjee - n.chatterjee@exeter.ac.uk (University of Exeter)

Since the consolidation of state and national archives in post-colonial South Asia, scholars have made significant efforts to read against the grain to understand histories rendered marginal by the imperatives of British colonial governance. However, the present-day view of the centralized government repository has obscured the multiple other locations and agencies of record that functioned under pre-colonial regimes, and continued to remain active during and after colonial rule. With paper rapidly becoming the dominant inscriptional medium by the middle of the second millennium CE, institutions ranging from imperial and sub-imperial chancelleries and libraries to the daftar-khanas of scribal, mercantile, and land-holding families to Hindu sectarian mathas and Sufi khanqahs amassed not only literary, performative, and devotional manuscripts, but also more everyday documentation of material transactions, entitlements, and obligations. With special attention to the household as a locus of record, this panel will present a nuanced inventory of archival practices extending from pre-colonial to post-colonial South Asia. Collectively, the papers explore the arts of recording, validating, copying and circulating documents in different scripts and languages (Arabic, Persian, Marathi, Rajasthani and Tamil) and clarify the social and institutional matrices within which these documents made sense. Based on research related to four different regions of South Asia, including the Indian Ocean, one key aim here is to present methodological attempts to reimagine and reconstruct scattered and reshaped archives. The suggestion here is that alternative narratives become possible when one is able to undertake such archival re-construction substantively, with the necessary combination of labour-intensive fieldwork and linguistic ability.


Presenter 1
Fahad Bishara - bishara@virginia.edu (University of Virginia)
Into the Bazaar: On Mobile Histories

Presenter 2
Zoé Headley - zoeheadley@gmail.com ()
Village Archives and Digital Dilemmas

Presenter 3
Elizabeth Thelen - e.thelen@exeter.ac.uk (University of Exeter)
Papers Gathered across Regimes: Family Archives of Petty Officials in Early Modern Rajasthan

Presenter 4
Dominic Vendell - d.vendell@exeter.ac.uk (University of Exeter)
Archiving in the Scribal Household: The Chitnises of Borgaon


Keeping Cities in Motion: Building, Repairing and Maintaining Urban South Asia
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Nikhil Anand - nikhil.anand@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)

As political and material forces continue to reshape South Asia’s old and new cities, the lives of the cities’ demolition workers, builders, repair and maintainers, waste removal workers, and domestic laborers are undergoing transformation. This panel asks how the region’s workers are experiencing and contributing to the urban boom? How do their actions and everyday struggles influence urban growth? How do they function as political actors who drive infrastructural transformations in South Asian cities? With these questions in mind, this panel will ethnographically explore the everyday lives of people who keep the city running. The panel draws primarily on a comparative discussion of Indian and Pakistani cities and in doing so, forges new conversations on their diverse yet historically analogous experiences. Studies of infrastructure have recently demonstrated how networks of power and emerging sites of political discontent unfold. These studies suggest that close attention to the flows, frictions and (dis)articulations produced by infrastructures will reveal the terms upon which these new connections are being forged and urban lives are being re-made. This panel extends these interests by exploring how workers transform brokenness, disconnection, friction and failure which undergird South Asian urbanity.


Presenter 1
Adeem Suhail - adeems@gmail.com (Emory University)
Community Health and Infrastructural Violence in Lyari Town, Karachi, Pakistan

Presenter 2
Nikhil Anand - nikhil.anand@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
After Breakdown: Infrastructures and the Labor of Maintenance

Presenter 3
Nausheen Anwar - nhanwar@iba.edu.pk (IBA)
Demolition men, bulldozers and the endless cycle of making infrastructure

Presenter 4
Malini Sur - m.sur@westernsydney.edu.au ()
Taal Bhaanga: Repairing Bicycle Wheels, Balancing Cities


The Art of Kinship: Re-making Family in Sri Lanka
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Mythri Jegathesan - mjegathesan@scu.edu (Santa Clara University)

In recent decades, Sri Lanka has been the site of many upheavals, including war-related dislocation and dispossession, the ravages of the 2004 tsunami, burgeoning labor migration, and commercial expansion. The bucolic image of “temple, tank, and paddy field” falls woefully short of characterizing present-day rural life. In this panel, we examine at close hand how long-standing reciprocal obligations of kin and community are being challenged and re-made as Sri Lankan families encounter the exigencies, choices, and opportunities afforded by these upheavals. International labor migration—notably to the Gulf States, but also to Malaysia, South Korea, and southern Europe—has become indispensable to both the national economy and the economy of many households. Roughly one out of nine households has an adult member working abroad; many of these workers remain overseas for decades. Three panelists explore how such sojourns re-configure gendered and generational relations. Vidyamali Samarasinghe asks how relations of power between spouses are affected when a wife—the breadwinner while away—returns home. Michele Gamburd explores how labor migration (whether local or international) re-shapes but does not abrogate long-standing expectations and norms regarding care for children and elders. Bambi Chapin, employing the analytical tools afforded by psychodynamic theory, focuses closely on a mother-daughter pair, describing the daughter’s agentive re-configuring of family in the face of the mother’s decades-long absence. Cynthia Caron turns attention to northern and eastern Sri Lanka where families are engaged in re-establishing home and community in the aftermath of the prolonged displacement resulting from civil war and the 2004 tsunami. The discussant, Asha Abeyasekera, offers a contrastive perspective to the focus on rural families by examining the compulsory re-housing of the urban poor in name of “beautification” and the transformation of Colombo into a “world-class city.”


Presenter 1
Vidyamali Samarasinghe - svidy@american.edu (American University)
Analyzing Gender Configurations in Sri Lankan Households When Migrant Housemaids Become the Primary Income-Earners

Presenter 2
Michele Gamburd - gamburdm@pdx.edu (Portland State University)
Aging in Place and the Art of Kinship: Social Reproduction and Family Relations in Sri Lanka

Presenter 3
Bambi Chapin - bchapin@umbc.edu (UMBC)
Re-making Family: From Childhood Longings to Unconventional Reproductions

Presenter 4
Cynthia Caron - ccaron@clarku.edu (Clark University)
Making relocation villages in Sri Lanka: Social networks, leadership and kin relations in the aftermath war and natural disaster


Borders and Boundaries in South Asian Islam
Panel Group

Location

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

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

This panel explores previously less examined aspects and trajectories of modern South Asian Islam through the theoretical frame and lens of “Borders and Boundaries.” Each paper in this panel approaches this theme from a different disciplinary perspective including Anthropology, Religious Studies, History, and Literature: fields that are rarely brought together in discussions on South Asian Islam. However, all panelists share a common concern with interrogating simultaneously the borders and limits of “South Asian Islam” as an analytical and lived category, as well as the competing and often conflictual ways in which borders and boundaries, conceptual as well as physical, have informed the intellectual and political history and present of South Asian Islam. Specifically, paper 1 focuses on the border region of Pakistani administered Kashmir and interrogates Qur’anic healing practices in the valley. It argues that the conception of transformative witnessing (shahadat) that animates Qur’anic healing practitioners’ engagement with pain and violence exceeds and subverts the secular logics of recognition informing humanitarian projects of the Pakistani military. Paper 2 conducts a revisionist reading of the famous and fateful early 19th century North Indian Jihad movement against the Sikhs in the Pashtun frontier region. By analyzing previously unexplored Arabic and Persian manuscripts, it sheds new light on the transnational aspirations of this movement that bring into question nationalist and colonial territorial boundaries. Paper 3 turns its gaze to literature and brings into view the interaction of Sufism and Socialism in the Urdu Progressive Writers Movement to demonstrate the intimacy and porosity between religion and literature in South Asian Islam. And paper 4 takes the case of the Kartarpur corridor between India and Pakistan to examine how the ability to both dictate as well as dissolve borders and boundaries signals juridical strength (and weakness) in the ability to declare an exception. 


Presenter 1
Zunaira Komal - zkomal@ucdavis.edu (University of California, Davis)
Misrecognition of a Calamity: Azad Kashmir, Psychiatry and the Hold of the Secular

Presenter 2
SherAli Tareen - stareen@fandm.edu (Franklin and Marshall College)
Utopic Strivings: Jihad, Sovereignty, Territory

Presenter 3
MUSTAFA MENAI - mustafamenai@gmail.com (University of Pennsylvania )
Qalandaran-e-Sarkash: Sufism and the Urdu Progressive Writers Movement

Presenter 4
Rajbir Judge - rsj2122@columbia.edu (Columbia University)
Formations of the Corridor: Toward a Reading of ‘Limit’ and ‘Border’


A Midsummer Night's Bollywood Dream in Hawaii
Round Table

Location

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

Paul Mitri - ptmitri@gmail.com

Our roundtable will discuss University of Hawaii’s Kennedy Mainstage theatre production - A Midsummer Night’s Bollywood Dream (co-directed by Paul Mitri and Sai Bhatawadekar), which opened February 1, 2019. This production was a unique educational collaboration among three different programs: Western Theatre, Asian Theatre, and Dance: we kept Shakespeare’s text mostly intact and trained with Shakespearean techniques (required by the Western Theatre program) while setting it not in a real place but in the “Bollywood” genre itself, being self-referential to the iconic moments of Hindi cinema, from Sholay to Dilwale, from Padosan to Padukone. For the script, Bhatawadekar wrote original songs, translated Shakespeare’s verse into Hindi poems, and transformed some text into Hindi-English bilingual lyrics and dialogues that aligned with Shakespeare’s rhyme and meter. For music, Webster blended western and Indian classical, folk, and other genres together and spun entirely new songs around iconic musical phrases from Hindi cinema. For choreography, Bhatawadekar drew upon Indian folk dance traditions and Bollywood’s interpretive movement vocabulary. Visually, Speetjens and the design team created a unique landscape that transcended the boundaries of specific region, yet stayed true to the epic and robust style of Bollywood. Our roundtable will discuss the triumphs and tribulations of creative fusions of east and west, the classics and the contemporary, canonical and popular art, tradition and innovation. Directors, designers, and actor-dancers at this roundtable will raise topics of blatant and subtle negotiations in the process, of conscientiously letting our aesthetic, feminist, philosophical, and cross-cultural convictions guide our choices of concepts and characters. We will also raise important questions about place-based learning and creativity, how the population and logistics of a place dictate artistic choices. Together we will open up the discussion on cross-cultural creative endeavors in all their nuances - dominant, subversive, dialogic, frustrating, joyous, self-reflexive, transformative.


Presenter 1
Sai Bhatawadekar - saib@hawaii.edu (University of Hawaii at Manoa)
Presenter 2
Maile Speetjens - maile.speetjens@hawaii.edu
Presenter 3
Christian Londos - clondos@hawaii.edu
Presenter 4
Kripa Bhagat - kbhagat@hawaii.edu
Presenter 5
Christine Lamborn - lambornc@hawaii.edu
Presenter 6
Ike Webster - websteri@hawaii.edu

Artistric Constructions: The Treal, The Virtual, and The Dream World(s)
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Anwesha Maity - maity@wisc.edu (UW Madison)

Ad hoc 11, Media


Presenter 1
Jacob Boss - jaboss@indiana.edu (Indiana University)
Virtual Asuras and Ascetic AI: Pedagogy and Digital Media Arts for the South Asian Religions Classroom

Presenter 2
Anwesha Maity - maity@wisc.edu (UW Madison)
Narrative worldbuilding in Bangla genre fiction: the genre-bending exploits of Colonel Niladri Sarkar

Presenter 3
Pujarinee Mitra - pmitra@uwm.edu (University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee)
Of the artistry in Zoya Akhtar’s Made in Heaven: A close reading of select scenes

Presenter 4
Harshit Rathi - rathi015@umn.edu (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
A Vulgar Art: Standup comedy and the critique of everyday life in India

Presenter 5
Olga Sooudi - o.k.sooudi@uva.nl (University of Amsterdam)
Making Husain in Mumbai: Creating art's value through action


New Directions in South Asian Labor History
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Titas Chakraborty - titas.chakraborty@dukekunshan.edu.cn (Duke Kunshan University)

New trends in global labor history have focused on history of work outside of factory floors in the global South or the North. Themes such as everyday practices, cultural worlds, convict labor, labor mobility and migration, intra-Asiatic comparative plantation labor have featured prominently in these works. South Asian historians have made important contribution towards this trend especially through substantial histories of Indian seamen. However, historiography of South Asian labor remains underdeveloped in terms of studies on non-traditional workers and bringing the eighteenth and early nineteenth century within the realm of labor history. Building on the new trends in global labor history, this panel put into dialogue scholars working on histories of South Asian labor- state relations from the eighteenth into the early twentieth century. Though the South Asian colonial experience – the early company state and the British Raj – forms the primary context of these studies, the papers bring to fore the relevance of these histories to multiple contexts, such as inter-empire transfer of knowledge in labor management in the late eighteenth century, and global history of unfree labor in the early nineteenth century. Zach Sell’s paper studies land-labor relation as initiated by Permanent Settlement in Bengal of 1793 in comparison to land-labor relations in settler colonial United States. Titas Chakraborty’s and Vidhya Raveendranathan’s papers look at infrastructural labor – indigenous boatmen, and European sailors– in examining multiple forms of labor-company conflicts in relation to regulatory regimes of labor management in early company state of eighteenth and nineteenth century. Parthapratim Shil’s paper on security labor market demonstrates how labor market segmentation reproduced caste relations within the colonial state apparatus of nineteenth century Eastern India. Together, through considerations of infrastructure, agrarian relations, and caste and labor markets this panel provides new perspectives on South Asian Labor history.


Presenter 1
Titas Chakraborty - titas.chakraborty@dukekunshan.edu.cn (Duke Kunshan University)
Controlling Labor Mobility as a State Building Process: The Ascendancy of the English East India Company State in Bengal 1700-1819

Presenter 2
VIDHYA RAVEENDRANATHAN - vidh.nath@gmail.com (New York University, Shanghai)
Between Land and Sea: The Case of Coastal labour in late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Century Madras

Presenter 3
Zachary Sell - zachary_sell@brown.edu (Brown University)
Permanent Settlers and Permanent Settlement: Remaking Land and Labor between Colonial India and British North America, 1775-1800

Presenter 4
Partha Pratim Shil - pps26@cam.ac.uk ()
The Cast(e) of the Colonial Police: Constables, Chaukidars and the Security Labour Market of Colonial Bengal


South Asia from its edges: border-subjects and the fashioning of empires and nations
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Tania Bhattacharyya - tb2515@columbia.edu (Columbia University)

The geopolitical transition of South Asia from empires to nations hinged on the delineation of borders. How did states- British Indian, Tibetan and, Indian- engage in the production of these borders? How did subjects and citizens inhabiting border regions engage, imagine or challenge these acts of bordering and nation-building? This interdisciplinary panel situates the study of South Asia’s borderlands and border-movements as central to understanding the formation of the region’s states and nations. Ranging from the increasingly rigid oceanic border between Bombay and the Indian Ocean across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to the porous land border between North Bengal and Nepal in the 1960s-70s; from Tibet as a nineteenth-century frontier zone between the British Indian and Qing empires to the new Tibetan state’s contentious efforts to delineate borders, this panel first calls for an expansive concept of borders and borderlands. Second, the panel studies a range of subjects- from monastery architects and “native” surveyors in Tibet to revolutionaries operating between Naxalbari and Nepal and merchants between Bombay and Aden. Sayantani Mukherjee inquires into the role of Indian and Tibetan surveyors in producing geographical scholarship about Tibet in British India, and the limits of cartography in creating knowledge about this frontier. Tania Bhattacharyya writes about early twentieth century Bombay merchants who claimed a place for Aden (contemporary Yemen) in the future democratic Indian nation, and the logic of capital that empowered this imagination of space. Tenzin Dongchung explores the importance of monastery renovations in the twentieth century Tibetan nation-building project through the autobiography of Chö Püntsok, a monastery architect. And Abhishek Bhattacharyya examines the challenge to the nation-form posed by Naxalites in 1960s North Bengal and Nepal through an examination of the cross-border life-work of activist Nemu Singh and the Naxalite party journal, Deshobroti (Pledged to the Nation).


Presenter 1
Sayantani Mukherjee - mukherjee.sayantani@gmail.com (Columbia University)
An Expert in the Field: Native Surveyors and the Cartographic Creation of Tibet

Presenter 2
Abhishek Bhattacharyya - abhishekb@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
Naxalbari, Nepal and the Nation: Indian Revolution at/across the Border with Nepal

Presenter 3
Tenzin Yewong Dongchung - tyd2102@columbia.edu (Columbia University )
Through the autobiography of monastery architect Chö Püntsok: Renovation of monasteries as a Tibetan state-building measure (1917-1959)

Presenter 4
Tania Bhattacharyya - tb2515@columbia.edu (Columbia University)
“Patriotic citizens of Aden and Bombay”: mercantile self-fashioning and a vision of the nation from the ocean


Recent Advances in the Archaeology of South Asia: Regional Surveys, Excavations and Analyses: Part 1.
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Brett Hoffman - bchoffman@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

The archaeological record of South Asia continues to be the focus of many different types of research and each year short term and long term studies provide important new insights into the prehistoric, Early Historic and Historical Periods of cultural development. The southern Indus Valley region of Sindh has been the focus of many excavations as well as archaeological surveys, beginning as early as the 1850s. However, many remote areas of Sindh were overlooked due to various factors. Z. A. Kalhoro will present the summary of his long-term and extensive survey of Megalithic sites in Sindh, which reveals that many ancient monuments continue to be redefined by modern communities. C. LaMack presents an important new perspective of the historical cities of Sindh dating to the time of the early Islamic Umayyad political consolidation of this region. Rajesh S. V. presents the results of the most important recent excavations of an Early Harappan Period cemetery on the island of Kachchh, which lies just to the east of the Indus River Delta. This is one of only a few cemeteries dating to the period prior to the Harappan urban period and sheds new light on burial practices in this part of Gujarat. In the fourth paper, B. Hoffman presents a summary of his long-term research on the development of copper metallurgy at the site of Harappa and shows how copper ores from northwestern India were used in the Indus region as well as in Mesopotamia and Oman. Together, these papers demonstrate the importance of rigorous methodologies and well-developed interpretive models for understanding the complex record of human adaptations South Asia.


Presenter 1
Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro - zulfi04@hotmail.com (Pakistan Institute of Development Economics)
A Survey of Megaliths in Sindh- Pakistan

Presenter 2
Christopher LaMack - lamackcg@live.unc.edu ()
A Sindhi City: al-Mansurah and the Organization of Umayyad Cities in the Sindh

Presenter 3
Rajesh Sasidharan Vasantha - rajeshkeraliyan@yahoo.co.in (University of Kerala)
Archaeological Excavations at Juna Khatiya (2018-2019): An Early Harappan Cemetery in Kachchh District, Gujarat, Western India

Presenter 4
Brett Hoffman - bchoffman@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
Indus Tradition Copper and Bronze Metallurgy: A Model from Harappa


Caste, Distributive Politics, and Preferential Policies in India in a Comparative Perspective
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Narendra Subramanian - narendra.subramanian@mcgill.ca (McGill University)

A major challenge of democratic consolidation and democratic deepening is to promote the mobilization, political representation, and socio-economic advancement of historically low-status groups. Caste, comparable in certain respects to racial difference in European settler colonies and some other ethnic differences elsewhere, is a major axis of social, economic, and political inequality in South Asia. The panel proposes to address different aspects of caste-related mobilization, redistributive politics, and preferential policies in postcolonial and colonial India. While two papers focus on northern and western Indian states, the other two emphasize changes in southern India. Pavithra Suryanarayan highlights how social status influenced coalition-formation in colonial India, where upper caste anti-redistribution coalitions emerged and managed to reduce land taxes in response to lower caste enfranchisement in regions of higher land and caste inequality. Narendra Subramanian underlines how differences in nationalist and civic discourse, and in official and popular social classification shaped the mobilization of Dalits and African Americans in two historically very unequal regions. The following two papers focus on north and west India. Christophe Jaffrelot’s and Gilles Verniers’ paper details the predominance of certain more numerous and advanced castes in access to Dalit representative quotas in state legislative assemblies. Jusmeet Singh Sihra explains such differential access to Dalit quotas with reference to the greater opportunities, such as to gain salaried employment and education, that urban spatial configurations offer the more advanced Dalit jatis. The panel features the use of various research methods – elite analysis, historical and contemporary ethnography, and social cartography – to explore closely related objects of inquiry, in ways that advance the rich emerging literature on caste, distribution, and democratization in India in a comparative global perspective.


Presenter 1
Pavithra Suryanarayan - psuryan1@jhu.edu ()
Social-Status and Redistributive Politics

Presenter 2
Christophe Jaffrelot - christophe.jaffrelot@sciencespo.fr ()
For whom do reservations work? The unequal empowerment of Dalit jatis in North India

Presenter 3
Jusmeet Singh Sihra - jusmeet.sihra@outlook.com ()
Who Gets Affirmative Action? Urban Space and Social Mobility of Dalits in an Indian City

Presenter 4
Narendra Subramanian - narendra.subramanian@mcgill.ca (McGill University)
From Bondage to Citizenship: Dalit and African American Mobilization in Two Deeply Unequal Regions


The Ethics of Aesthetics in Mahābhārata Commentaries and Retellings
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Robert Goldman - rpg@berkeley.edu (University of California)

This panel inquires into how medieval Indian intellectuals grappled with the ethical implications of the Mahābhārata’s distinctly artistic features. We take our cue from Emily Hudson, Lawrence McCrea, and other leading scholars, whose recent work has called for careful considerations of the relationship between the Mahābhārata’s aesthetic dimensions - of narrative structure, pacing, and so forth - and its didactic telos. Simply put, how the Mahābhārata depicts phenomena to the reader is inseparable from what the Mahābhārata attempts to teach the reader. The papers on our panel add to this project by exploring the relationship between aesthetics and ideas in relation to two artistic phenomena in the Mahābhārata: ekphrasis (the literary description of a work of art) and rhetoric. Christopher Fleming draws on Nīlakantha Caturdhara’s commentarial oeuvre to situate Mayāsura’s palace at Indraprasthā against the backdrop of Sanskrit architectural theory and to explore the possibility that Maya, a captive whose home was destroyed by the Pāndavas, intended certain architectural features - such as illusory lakes - to sow conflict between the Pāndavas and the Kauravas. Timothy Lorndale takes up Old Kannada retellings of the ‘Night Raid,’ wherein descriptions of Aśhvatthāman’s brutal slaughter of the sleeping Pāndavas - rivers of congealed blood and mountains of glistening entrails - elicit a change of moral alignment for Duryodhana, the epic’s main antagonist. Sohini Pillai and Vishal Sharma plumb the ethical and theological implications of two superlative displays of rhetoric: Draupadī’s prayer to Krishna and Śhiśhupāla’s insult of Krishna. Pillai compares the devotional effects of Draupadī’s supplication to the deity during her attempted disrobing in Hindi and Tamil retellings of the Mahābhārata. Sharma uses medieval commentary to explore problems related to the fact that Śhiśhupāla’s intricate insults actually - and ironically - engender a more intimate relationship between Śhiśhupāla and Krishna.


Presenter 1
Christopher Fleming - fleminct123@gmail.com (University of Southern California )
A Hall the Like of Which Has Never Been Seen Before?: Locating Mayāsura’s Sabhā in the Sanskrit Architectural Tradition.

Presenter 2
Timothy Lorndale - tlorn@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
On the Ethics of Winning: Rewriting the Sauptikaparvan in Old Kannada

Presenter 3
Sohini Pillai - sohini.pillai@berkeley.edu (University of California, Berkeley)
Bhakti and the Bhārata: Draupadī’s Prayer in Two Regional Mahābhāratas

Presenter 4
Vishal Sharma - vishal.sharma27@gmail.com ()
Svargakāmo Garheta: Reading Bhagavannindā and Dveshabhakti in the Mahābhārata


Book Roundtable: Paradoxes of the Popular: Crowd Politics in Bangladesh (Stanford University Press, July 2019) by Nusrat S Chowdhury, (Amherst College)
Round Table

Location

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

Nazmul Sultan - nazmulsultan@uchicago.edu (The University of Chicago)

In this new book on Bangladesh, anthropologist Nusrat S Chowdhury offers a deeply engaged ethnography of the contemporary political culture of Bangladesh. A rare addition to studies of South Asia, Paradoxes of the Popular theorizes crowds, popular sovereignty, and mass democracy by looking at spectacular and everyday forms of protest. Often described as a definitive case of the bankruptcy of post-colonial governance, Bangladesh is also one of the poorest among the most densely populated nations. In spite of an overriding anxiety of exhaustion, there are a few important caveats to the familiar feelings of despair —a growing economy, and an uneven, yet robust, populist sentiment, generate revealing paradoxes. Against this background, Chowdhury reveals what she calls, "the paradoxes of the popular," or the constitutive contradictions of popular politics. The book details some of the most consequential protests of the last decade, spanning both rural and urban Bangladesh. As one of the very few monographs to be published in recent years about the political culture of Bangladesh, Chowdhury’s book reanimates long-standing debates in South Asian Studies around popular sovereignty and political communication. This roundtable draws on the expertise of South Asianists located in history, anthropology, literary studies, and political theory, who have engaged with similar concepts in their own work. The inter-disciplinary discussion, though designed around Chowdhury's book, will generate a vibrant conversation around the enduring concept of the people in Bangladesh and in South Asia more broadly.


Presenter 1
Rohit De - rohit.de@yale.edu (Yale University)
Presenter 2
Poulomi Saha - psaha@berkeley.edu (University of California, Berkeley)
Presenter 3
Francis Cody - francis.cody@utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Presenter 4
Kamran Asdar Ali - asdar@austin.utexas.edu (University of Texas at Austin)
Presenter 5
Nusrat Chowdhury - nchowdhury@amherst.edu (Amherst College)

Creative Practices of Coolie and Former Coolie Populations in the Indian Ocean
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
yoshina hurgobin - yhurgobi@kennesaw.edu (Kennesaw State University)

After the abolition of slavery, more than one million Indian workers left India to labor on countless plantations across the British Empire. The ‘new system of slavery’ paradigm has dominated indentured labor studies by emphasizing how workers’ lived experiences were similar to those of slaves. Recent scholarship has challenged this view by underlining migrant workers’ complex practices in deciding their destinations and the role of returnee migrants in inciting new migrants’ journeys. This panel examines the agency and creative actions of various historical actors within coolie and former coolie populations of the Indian Ocean (Malaya, South Africa and Mauritius). Crispin Bates examines how colonial governments sought to normalize intimate and affective relations of migrant workers through legal regulations and the limits to these attempts at social control. Migrants’ social and affective relations illustrate an important degree of creativity in escaping the speciousness of colonial rule in the Malayan peninsula and other parts of the Indian Ocean. Arunima Datta suggests how Indian coolie women’s agency was not restricted to the colonial plantation complexes of Malaya. Rather, coolie women creatively appropriated the structural residues of the plantation system and joined Subash Chandra Bose’s Rani Jhansi Regiment to fight British imperialism during World War II. Julia Jong Haines uses the historical archeology study of Bras d’Eau National Park, formerly a nineteenth-century sugar estate in Mauritius to consider how indentured laborers developed material and consumptive creative practices to appropriate the landscape of the plantation site and navigate the demands of the colonial production system. Yoshina Hurgobin’s paper examines how coolie children and orphans occasionally deployed creative approaches to interact with overbearing and overregulating colonial governments in Natal (South Africa) and Mauritius.


Presenter 1
Crispin Bates - crispin.bates@ed.ac.uk (University of Edinburgh)
Policing Intimacy and Queering the History of the South Asian Overseas Migration in the Colonial Era

Presenter 2
ARUNIMA DATTA - datta.arunima@gmail.com (Idaho State University)
Crafting Their Survival: Indian Coolie Women in Japanese Occupied Malaya

Presenter 3
Julia Haines - jjh2fc@virginia.edu (University of Virginia)
Curation in Everyday life: The Archaeology of South Asian Indentured Laborers

Presenter 4
yoshina hurgobin - yhurgobi@kennesaw.edu (Kennesaw State University)
Coolie Children, Orphans, and “Incorrigible Vagrants”


Complicating Narratives of “Reform” and “Reformers” in Colonial India
Panel Group

Location

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

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

The British understanding of empire in India was deeply tied to the rhetoric of reform. Reform was initially muted to maximize profitability through trade and taxation. In the early 19th century, Christian missionaries and Indian reformers began to intensify their calls for reform. Scholarship generally characterizes this age of reform as occurring in sequential waves. The first was comprised of critiques by Christian missionaries, orientalist scholars, and British officials of Indian cultural beliefs and practices, and the second of Indian intelligentsia’s responses to these critiques. Both waves, despite insisting that social and religious reform was necessary, were often discordant on when and how reform should be enacted. The papers in this panel revisit, and ultimately expands upon, this scholarly characterization of reform in colonial India in three specific ways. The first paper focuses on interpretations and implementations of reform by a group of 19th-century reformers, based in Ahmedabad and Mumbai, and suggests that multiple conceptualizations of reform, often inconsonant, existed alongside each other even within a singular locality. The second paper, by looking at collaborative conversations between a Gujarati reformer and colonial figure about village goddesses, argues that the relationship between the first and second waves of reform was not always unilaterally influential. The final two papers underscore underrepresented actors involved in historical processes of reform. Although Indian reformers were typically western-educated, upper-caste men, the vital role of women in influencing discourse on reform, while overlooked, allowed for a consideration of women not as objects of reform, but as its very agents. A senior scholar, whose work considers reform in various regions of colonial India, will serve as panel respondent. Together, this panel accentuates ruptures in scholarly understandings of reform in colonial India and suggests pathways to redefine and broaden the concept and category to ensure its meaningful future application.


Presenter 1
Darry Dinnell - darry.dinnell@gmail.com (McGill University)
Night Birds and Nauseous Associates: Dalpatram, Forbes and their Reformist Critique of Gujarati Goddesses

Presenter 2
Katherine Blank - kblank5@uw.edu (University of Washington)
Definitions of Health and Wellness in Women’s Urdu Journals in the Twentieth Century

Presenter 3
Iva Patel - iva-patel@uiowa.edu (University of Iowa)
Redefining Domesticity: Gender Propriety in Women’s Writings from Bombay, 1857-1950

Presenter 4
Ved Patel - ved.patel@emory.edu (Emory University)
Reform Amidst Difference in 19th-Century Gujarat


Study Abroad in India: Facilitating American students’ critical reflections on positionality and ‘location’
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Suchitra Samanta - ssamanta@vt.edu (Virginia Tech)

The panelists discuss the complexities of a Study Abroad experience for American students in India in different contexts, with a focus on reflexive and critical reflections on ‘positionality’. The panelists have led, and continue to lead short, two-three week Study Abroad programs, each with a different focus, to diverse places in India. Umme al-Wazedi (Augustana College, Rock Island, IL) takes students to study grassroots activism by non-profit organizations, working on HIV-positive children (New Delhi), a shelter for widows in Vrindavan, and a women’s self-help group (Jaipur). The aim for students is to learn from the NGOs, and to implement their learning in the U.S. Lisa Eck’s program (Framingham State University, Framingham, MA) offers her students of Indian contemporary literature a service learning opportunity in Kalimpong (West Bengal), to learn from Himalayan villagers about indigenous environmental knowledge and practices, as well as from their ‘radical hospitality’, even as they too teach. Bonnie Zare (Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA), takes students to Aarti Home in Kadapa (Andhra Pradesh), a permanent home for abandoned girls with a human rights approach to gender justice, and encourages her students to critically question what they themselves learn from the girls, and how they may effectively reciprocate in their service to them. Suchitra Samanta (Virginia Tech, and panel organizer) reflects on whether and how her own particular ‘positionality’ as native-born Indian, with extensive field research experience in Kolkata (West Bengal), thus an “insider/outsider,” facilitated student learning in a Study Abroad program to study religious diversity in that city. We ask: how can student learning be effectively critical, questioning of their own class (perhaps gendered) privilege as Americans? How and what do students really learn from their experiences in a non-Western context?


Presenter 1
Bonnie Zare - bonzare@vt.edu (Virginia Tech)
That I may Reciprocate: the Positionality of Giving & Receiving

Presenter 2
Umme Al-wazedi - ummeal-wazedi@augustana.edu (Augustana College)
“The Boy with No Shoes:” Ecotourism, liberal arts and Lutheran Higher Education mirrored through Augustan-India (AINA) Study Abroad Trip

Presenter 3
Lisa Eck - leck@framingham.edu ()
The Politics of Hospitality, Class and Indigeneity in Kalimpong, West Bengal

Presenter 4
Suchitra Samanta - ssamanta@vt.edu (Virginia Tech)
Bringing an insider/outsider perspective to studying religious diversity in Kolkata: a cultural anthropologist’s retrospective


Placing Rāmānuja within the Intellectual History of the Śrīvaiṣṇava Tradition
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Lawrence McCrea - ljm223@cornell.edu (Cornell University)

Rāmānuja (c. 1017-1137 CE) is widely known as the systematizer of Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta, a significant Indian philosophical school. However, Rāmānuja’s role as the prominent theologian of the Śrīvaiṣṇava tradition, the religious community of which he was a leader, requires further research. This panel aims to place Rāmānuja within the tradition by investigating his roles on hermeneutics, daily ritual, and soteriological doctrines through the literature in Sanskrit, Tamil, and Maṇipravāḷa (hybrid Tamil-Sanskrit) of Rāmānuja and his followers to better understand this important figure. Sucharita Adluri explores Rāmānuja’s interpretation of the Viṣṇu Purāṇa by analyzing the way his interpretation was employed in Piḷḷāṉ’s Maṇipravāḷa Ārāyirappaṭi and Viṣṇucitta’s Sanskrit Viṣṇucittīyavyākhyā. She argues that Rāmānuja’s interpretation had a crucial role in the traditional literary development and its self-identification as the Dual Vedānta of Sanskrit and Tamil. Shiv Subramaniam brings us to Rāmānuja’s role as an exponent of the doctrine of devotional meditation (bhakti). Shiv investigates Rāmānuja’s understanding of the faculty of bhāvanā in the process of bhakti and its function to enable the seeing of God in his Śrībhāṣya and Vedārthasaṃgraha in comparison with Vedāntadeśika’s understanding to see the reception of Rāmānuja’s doctrine. Also dealing with Rāmānuja’s bhakti, Manasicha Akepiyapornchai charts the tension between bhakti and the doctrine of self-surrender (prapatti) in his Bhagavadgītābhāṣya and Gadyatraya and the way his followers resolved the tension in their Sanskrit and Maṇipravāḷa writings. She argues that their argument on Rāmānuja’s exposition of both doctrines contributes to the traditional integration of the philosophical and devotional aspects. Finally, moving from the discourses to ritual practice, Srilata Raman traces the shift in daily ritual practice from the Āgamic world in Rāmānuja’s Sanskrit Nityagrantha, a model on traditional daily ritual, to the world of Tamil traditional scripture, the Divyaprabandham, in Vedāntadeśika’s Tamil prabandham, Śrīvaiṇavatiṉacari, which is permeated by prapatti.


Presenter 1
Sucharita Adluri - s.adluri16@csuohio.edu (Cleveland State University)
The Making of a Textual Culture: The Legacy of Rāmānuja in Śrīvaiṣṇava Hermeneutics

Presenter 2
Shiv Subramaniam - sks2184@columbia.edu (Columbia University)
Rāmānuja on Bhakti and Vivid Remembering

Presenter 3
Manasicha Akepiyapornchai - ma886@cornell.edu (Cornell University)
Rāmānuja and the Rise of Self-Surrender

Presenter 4
Srilata Raman - s.raman@utoronto.ca ()
Rāmānuja and Śrīvaiṣṇava Daily Ritual: the Impact of the Nityagrantha


Online Lives, Offline Lives: Women and Digital Platforms in Contemporary India
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Rachel Rothenberg - rchlroth@uw.edu (University of Washington)

Ad hoc 12, GWS


Presenter 1
Shreenita Ghosh - ghosh26@wisc.edu (university of wisconsin-madison)
Kruthika Kamath - kkamath@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
#Metoo in Indian News Media and Twitter: an Intermedia Agenda-Setting Perspective

Presenter 2
Thalia Gigerenzer - thaliag@princeton.edu (Princeton University)
Love in a Bad "Mahaul": Cautious Intimacy in Delhi’s Working-Class Muslim Neighborhoods

Presenter 3
Rachel Rothenberg - rchlroth@uw.edu (University of Washington)
What Can't Our Girls Do?: Publicity, Gender Anxiety, and the Politics of Domestic Resistance in a Rajput Community

Presenter 4
Zeltzyn Rubi Sanchez Lozoya - zrubisl@gmail.com (University of Texas at Austin)
Lipstick Revolution

Presenter 5
Sagnika Chanda - sac204@pitt.edu (University of Pittsburgh)
“No one Killed Jessica” : Gendered violence and Cellphone activism before #Metoo in India


Virtual Piety, Networked Theology: Making Digital South Asian Religious Communities
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Rob Rozehnal - ror2@lehigh.edu

Digital platforms have become integral to worship practices in several South Asian traditions, fashioning transborder, virtual devotional communities. This panel explores the production of religious authority and cultural community in virtual spaces. Each of the papers use ethnographic data and theoretical scaffolding to spotlight the implications for religious praxis on a broad range of digital religious platforms, interfaces, and devices (e.g. social media, web portals, and mobile devices). Paper 1 examines the reception of a mobile phone application for the Swamini Vato, a collection of oral teachings delivered by Swaminarayan’s primary disciple, Gunatitanand Swami (1784-1867). The author argues the Swamini Vato application renegotiates the relationship between self and public by extending temple-congregational publics into everyday life. Considering the co-constituting of religious authority and iconization in virtual and material spaces, Paper 2 unpacks the Shrimad Rajchandra Mission's use of images of Rajacandra and memes to show how Jainism participates in the growing Indian phenomenon of spiritualist leaders appealing to a cosmopolitan, globalized spiritual community. Focusing on political and social identity in Sri Lanka, Paper 3 examines how social media, YouTube, and web forums popularize “Sinhala Ravana” sustaining public interest in the “cult of Ravana” despite the absence of active government patronage during the Rajapaksha Presidency (2005-2015). Paper 4 probes issues of accessibility and the building of socio-religious communities in social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Instagram, arguing that they participate in a “Vedicizing” of virtual spaces. The author shows how messaging app groups foster religious insularity and extremism, a process underscored by commercial and state actors using these spaces for cultural marketing. Together, the essays provide insight into the users of these spaces, how religious authority operates through and in virtual platforms, the making of devotional networks, and their impact on South Asian religious identity, community, and praxis.


Presenter 1
Bhakti Mamtora - bhaktim@ufl.edu (University of Florida)
Mobile Modalities: Digital Applications and Devotional Publics in the Swaminarayan Sampraday

Presenter 2
Steven Vose - svose@fiu.edu (Florida International University)
Making Globalized Jainism Online: Shrimad Rajchandra Mission, Dharampur's Networked Theology

Presenter 3
Justin Henry - jhenry4@luc.edu (Loyola University Chicago)
Social Media and Birth of Buddhist Ravana

Presenter 4
Dheepa Sundaram - dheepa.sundaram@du.edu (University of Denver)
Weaponized Ritual, Tyrannical Hashtags: Social Media Capitalism and the Making of a Political, "Branded" Hinduism


Hyderabad and the Nineteenth Century
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Benjamin Cohen - bbcohen4@yahoo.com (University of Utah)

Hyderabad State was India’s largest and wealthiest princely state. By the late nineteenth century, the Asaf Jahi leadership and a variety of the court and state’s nobility were increasingly participating in a variety of local, national, and international networks that wrought profound changes to the city, the state, and its inhabitants. This interdisciplinary panel will explore four case studies of change at this critical moment in colonial South Asia’s history. The first paper uses instances of Ottoman influence on Hyderabadi aesthetics and popular consumption to show how new 19th century technologies facilitated many other kinds of transnational influence and imagination than just the imperial or pan-Islamic. The second paper will explore shifting signifiers of ‘Africanness’ and ‘Arabness’ in claims of belonging on the part of habshis/siddis in Hyderabad from the 19th century up to the present, arguing, ultimately, both for the long afterlives of these 19th c. events, as well as the fact that these shifting globally-inflected meanings need to be located in local and regional histories if we are to better understand their impacts on individuals and communities. The third paper asks how skilled industrial artisans selectively engaged with projects of technical education in the context of late nineteenth-century Hyderabad State. Focusing on state attempts to reform the education of carpenters, blacksmiths, and stonemasons, the paper analyzes artisan responses to changing social structures of technical education. The final paper explores the role of water as a source of recreation and pleasure. Boating, swimming, fishing, and other forms of recreation became more common, and with them new challenges to the hydrosocial cycle. Together, the papers ask how Hyderabadis across differing class, religious, and social backgrounds encountered local permutations of nineteenth-century concepts of modernity and reform.


Presenter 1
William Bamber - whbamber@gmail.com (University of Washington)
Self-Fashioning and Ottoman Influence in Late Nineteenth-Century Hyderabad

Presenter 2
Gayatri Reddy - gayatri@uic.edu (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Siddi Chronicles: A Historical Ethnography of a ‘Racial’ Category in Hyderabad, India

Presenter 3
Amanda Lanzillo - amlanzil@indiana.edu (Indiana University)
Technical education and artisan adaptation in Hyderabad State, 1870-1910

Presenter 4
Benjamin Cohen - bbcohen4@yahoo.com (University of Utah)
The Hydrosocial World of Hyderabad City: Water, Recreation, Leisure and Beyond c. 1880-1908


The histories and afterlives of dispossession: a comparison of Lahore and Colombo
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Ammara Maqsood - a.maqsood@ucl.ac.uk (University College London)

Dispossession is often marked and understood through catastrophic events, such as evictions or forced resettlement. Yet, these incidents are not stand-alone events; they are culminations of older histories of structural violence, and they continue to impinge on and impact life after. In South Asian cities, dispossession due to mega development projects and rising property prices affects those who are already marginal and vulnerable. And, the after-life of dislocation has cross-generational effects on access to education, health, community and kin support and ability for political action. In this panel, we shift attention away from the act of displacement, and towards the ways in which it is lived, understood and survived. Drawing upon cases of dispossession and dislocation from Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the panel offers comparative perspectives on the experience of dispossession. Ranging from understandings of how working class women ‘come to terms’ with forced resettlement in Colombo to the ‘trickster’ mannerisms and shifting roles deployed in Lahore to survive eviction, the panel offers new insights into the ways in which dispossession is negotiated and inhabited. In addition, it seeks to understand the role of older histories of ownership and belonging on dispossession. Individual papers explore how state-led efforts to make a ‘world class city’ erase working class claims of ownership and belonging, and access of how differences in political histories and state involvement are reflected in the differing experiences of dispossession.


Presenter 1
Asha Abeyasekera - asha.abeyasekera@gmail.com (University of Colombo)
‘We must learn to live here’ – repertoires of (dis)possession

Presenter 2
Jonathan Spencer - jonathan.spencer@ed.ac.uk (University of Edinburgh)
Pakistan and Sri Lanka: Regimes of Dispossession Compared

Presenter 3
Fizzah Sajjad - fizzah.sajjad@gmail.com ()
Victim, broker, activist, fixer: surviving dispossession in working class Lahore

Presenter 4
Iromi Perera - iromip@gmail.com (Independent Researcher)
“We don’t feel the earth underneath our feet anymore”: Dispossession and high rise living in Colombo


Muslims and Encounters with the Indian State
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Filippo Osella - f.osella@sussex.ac.uk

This panel takes an ethnographic approach to the often-troubled relationship between Muslims and the postcolonial Indian state. It explores the ways Muslims in India perceive and approach the state amid policies of exclusion and Hindutva chauvinism. Instances of communal violence disproportionately targeting Muslims, cow-protection related attacks, and the crisis of citizenship in Assam have raised serious questions about whether the Indian state can ensure security and justice for its largest religious minority. Despite these concerns, the Indian state remains indispensably present in the daily lives of Muslims. The judiciary, bureaucracy, and state welfare apparatus continue to be essential and often-unavoidable sources of material security and authority, as well as sites of contestation over sovereignty and legitimacy. Accordingly, this panel asks: How do Muslims encounter the state in their daily lives, given broader patterns of violence and marginalization? To what extent does religious identity shape participation in and opposition to state institutions? The papers in this panel approach the question in reference to Muslim charitable organization workers’ relationships with state officials in Uttar Pradesh, Muslim civil servants in Rajasthan, and disputes over land in the context of the self-determination movement in Kashmir. They consider the everyday actions and strategies Muslims adopt when trying to access state resources as well as the ways they question state claims to legitimacy. By attending to both mundane and spectacular encounters between Muslims and the Indian state, this panel seeks to offer fresh perspectives on the ways citizenship is imagined, experienced and questioned.


Presenter 1
Meredith McLaughlin - meredith.mclaughlin@yale.edu (Yale University)
Standing for the State: The Politics of Muslim Officials in Rural Rajasthan

Presenter 2
Catherine Larouche - catherine.larouche@mail.mcgill.ca (McGill University)
Alternative development strategies? Muslim charitable organization workers’ perspectives on state social welfare responsibilities in Uttar Pradesh, India

Presenter 3
Aditi Saraf - aditisrf@gmail.com (Johns Hopkins University)
Ecology, Inalienability, and Article 35A

Presenter 4
Pierre-Alexandre Paquet - paquet@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Loosing Faith in the Developmental State : Muslims Gujjars Moving Out of their Traditional Jungles in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand


Sound Cultures, Sound Disruptions
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Praseeda Gopinath - gopinath@binghamton.edu (Binghamton University, State University of New York)

This interdisciplinary panel examines the ways in which Indian sonic practices and soundscapes reconfigure our understanding of public sphere and popular culture, concepts that have been framed in visual terms. Focusing on sound and listening practices as discursively constructed, our papers are part of a broader “sonic turn” in the field that extends South Asian studies work on the aural beyond music and performance. The papers, ranging across media and disciplines, explore how soundscapes and listening practices reorient concepts such citizenship, desire, self, and nature. They demonstrate the potential of sound to disrupt the racial, classed, caste, and hetropatriarchal status quo in the public sphere. What constitutes the sonic hegemon? What kind of media practices and soundscapes establish and sustain the heteropatriarchal, brahmanical hegemonic? Alternatively, what kinds of sounds, silences, and voices disrupt the hegemonic, specifically in terms of race, class, gender, region, and caste? How and when do these sounds become recognizably disruptive and alternative? How does the aural become one of the primary means of creating and acknowledging modes of self that produce, eschew, and/or navigate the dominant? What is at stake in destabilizing the sonic hegemon? Does the disruption of the sonic space speak to disruption of the hegemonic tout court, or can the sonic be compartmentalized?


Presenter 1
Laura Brueck - laura.brueck@northwestern.edu (Northwestern University)
Indian Sound Cultures, Indian Sound Citizenship

Presenter 2
Aswin Punathambekar - aswinp@umich.edu (University of Michigan)
Interrupception: Sound Art and Escape Routes to New Public Spheres

Presenter 3
Pavitra Sundar - psundar@hamilton.edu (Hamilton College)
Listening, Loving, Longing: The Sound of Desire in Aligarh

Presenter 4
Praseeda Gopinath - gopinath@binghamton.edu (Binghamton University, State University of New York)
Sounding Lives and Sounding Nature in Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide


Jahaan tedi yeh nazar hai! Theories of the gaze beyond darshan
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
G.S. Sahota - sahota@ucsc.edu (UC Santa Cruz)

Panel Co-organizers: Niharika Dinkar, Department of Art History, Boise State University AND Megha Sharma Sehdev, Department of Anthropology, McGill University **************** Theories of the gaze in South Asian visual culture have been dominated by scholarship on darshan with its emphasis on frontality and reciprocity. This panel shifts attention away from the contract between viewer and image implied in darshan to consider other ways of seeing. We consider views that confound the eye - shimmering screens, ornamentation, and inscrutable views – as well as peripheral ways of seeing, such as side-glance or the tedi nazar. We ask how the eye makes meaning from these interactions and what kinds of social relations it produces. Moving away from a model in which the gaze is absorbed in its object, and related scopophilic economies, we ask how dynamics of distraction and deception mediate vision. Clothing, gesture, and jewelry - the way such objects shine, move, and conceal - are not simply accessories to the main spectacle but participate in "orders of ornamentation" (Ali 2004). By the same token, the tangential glance or tedi-nazar draws on lesser-explicated but no less significant traditions of optic knowledge. Setting aside dominant frameworks of darshan, we examine how vision emerges from the play of surface and depth, exteriority and interiority, and knowledge and uncertainty. The panel examines alternative ways of seeing drawing on approaches from film studies, religious studies, art history, and anthropology. How do deception and distraction as a form of "seeing" build on, and depart from, normative concepts of aesthetics, intimacy and sociality in South Asia? ************** Works Cited: Ali, Daud. Courtly Culture and Political Life in Early Medieval India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.


Presenter 1
Rebecca M. Brown - rmbrown@jhu.edu ()
Reflections on Words and Symbols: KCS Paniker’s Painterly Deflections

Presenter 2
Swayam Bagaria - swayambagaria@gmail.com (Johns Hopkins University)
Medium Theory From the Natyashastra

Presenter 3
Niharika Dinkar - niharikadinkar@boisestate.edu ()
Seeing the elephant: Animality and the autopsic gaze

Presenter 4
Megha Sharma Sehdev - msehdev@gmail.com (Tufts University)
Lishkaar and Landscape in Rani Tatt


Post-Development in contemporary South Asia: politics of mediation and association
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Aya Ikegame - ayaikegame@mac.com (The University of Tokyo)

In developmental policy discourse during the late twentieth century, the state was considered to be the key if not the sole responsible agent for the delivery of economic and social development. Society on the other hand, has been regarded as either a supressed but resisting entity, with the potential to become an alternative site for unforeseen types of future development, or a repository of traditional, backward, and feudal thinking that hinders the developmental goals of the state. Civil society and NGOs were originally considered as actors that could operate outside of this society/state nexus, but they soon found themselves in the buffer zone between the two, negotiating with and translating the logic, interests and aspirations of both sides. Historical and anthropological studies on the nature of the state in the past decade have challenged the dichotomous view of state and society and described a more blurred and interrelated relationship. In these studies, society or communities were fully imbedded and complicit in state-centred 'development' and not just oppressed victims or passive recipients. We have also found many forms of 'stateness' within so-called 'society'. Temples, monasteries, bigmen, and patron-politicians provide social security, job opportunity, financial support, medical assistance and legal arbitration that the state somehow failed to deliver. This panel aims to examine the wide variety of transformative social activities that have not previously been considered as 'development'. These activities are not state-centred (or NGO-led) top-down development, but rather more bottom-up or horizontal movements. ‘Bottom-up’ does not mean pure 'communities' which independently organise themselves for the betterment of their lives, but rather local communities struggling to redefine themselves and utilising many existing connections and affiliations. In the analysis of such activities, we reappraise 'middleman', 'devotion', 'dependency' and 'kin networks' which modernisation theories formerly regarded as a hindrance to development.


Presenter 1
Aya Ikegame - ayaikegame@mac.com (The University of Tokyo)
Guru Governance: Devotional Citizenship and Rural Development in Southern India

Presenter 2
Akio Tanabe - akio.tanabe@gmail.com ()
'Democracy and Development in Tension: Predicament of Politico-economic Stalemate among the Dongria Khonds in Odisha, India

Presenter 3
Shinya Ishizaka - ishizakashinya@gmail.com ()
Glocalization of Natural Farming

Presenter 4
Yoshiaki Takemura - yoshiakitakemura@gmail.com ()
The Arts Power On!: the development of Indian performing arts and the germ of cultural policy in the early 1960s in Singapore


Recent Advances in the Archaeology of South Asia: Regional Surveys, Excavations and Analyses: Part 2.
Panel Group

Location

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

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

Two areas of South Asia that have a long history of archaeology are the central peninsular region of modern Karnataka and the northwestern Indus Valley region near ancient site of Taxila. Four papers will investigate different aspects of the long term histories of these two regions, beginning in the Prehistoric and Early Historic periods and continuing to the present. One of the important goals of modern archaeological research is to involve local communities and artists in order to gain insight into ancient technologies and artistic traditions. Local community members are also encouraged to become more involved in the conservation and preservation of the archaeological remains. The first paper by N. Sugandhi provides an overview of her long-term research project in the region of Tekkalakota, Karnataka. She has involved local students and community members in her surveys and presents a unique model for engaging in research and local outreach. Her discoveries of iron slag also provide an important link to the second paper by A. Lee, which focuses on the analysis of iron remains from a Early Historic Buddhist site near Taxila. The iron technologies of South India and Northwestern Pakistan may have been closely linked due to long distance trade. The final two papers focus on important artistic crafts of the Gandhara Period in the Taxila region. M. A, Khan presents an important discussion of stone carving traditions in modern Taxila and their links to the ancient carvers of Gandhara. The paper by M. Imitaz focuses on stucco art that also was highly developed in ancient Gandhara. Stucco was used to produce sculpture as well as architectural decoration and utilitarian objects. She includes a discussion of how to involve local modern craftspeople in the revival of stucco art for reproduction, replication as well as modern application.


Presenter 1
Muhammad Hameed - muhhameed82@yahoo.com (University of the Punjab)
Question of Archaeo-Historical Profile of Punjab, Pakistan and Significance of Excavation at Shorkot

Presenter 2
Namita Sugandhi - namitasugandhi@gmail.com (Hartwick College)
Tekkalakota through the long-term lens: Recent research and future plans

Presenter 3
Alan Lee - aflee@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin - Madison)
Connecting Form and Function with Material Analysis of Iron Artifacts from Bhamala Stupa, Pakistan (250-500 AD)

Presenter 4
Muhammad Ashraf Khan - ashrafarchaeologist@hotmail.com (Quaid-i-Azam University)
Stone Craft of the Modern Taxila: An Intimate Relationship with Buddhist Sculpture of the Past

Presenter 5
Hadiqa Imtiaz - imhadiqa@gmail.com ()
The Reproduction of Stucco Art of Ancient Gandhara: A Case Study of Taxila Valley-Creativity, Techniques and Materials


Caste & Capital Redux: Hierarchies of Labor & Property in South Asia (Part 2)
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
John Harriss - jharriss@sfu.ca (Simon Fraser University)

In the last fifty-odd years, scholars of South Asia have pursued a range of analytic strategies by which to avoid the salience of caste in the analysis of political-economic inequality. For instance, in the storied “transition debates” of the 1970s and 1980s, the role of caste in organizing agrarian labor was rarely mentioned in accounts of the capitalization of the agrarian economy. Important exceptions notwithstanding, many recent anthropological and historical accounts understand caste as a South Asia-specific cultural form that “persists” despite economic and political modernization. By rendering caste trans-historical, critical questions about caste’s role in statecraft, economic relations, and political mobilization have been too rarely posed. This double panel will bring new research to bear on the connections between caste and political economy in South Asia, foregrounding the way caste is often the signal means through which wealth is accumulated and hierarchies (or “classes”) of labor instituted and perpetuated. Our papers focus on the last century and a half and geographically span diverse regions across the subcontinent, including Sindh, Panjab, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Together, they generate new analyses of the history and politics of caste and property, while critically evaluating the lasting political and governmental consequences of the hegemonic misconceptions of caste that have prevailed in South Asia. Finally, drawing on the literature on racial capitalism, we will attempt to demonstrate the fruits of global comparison, moving past both the view that caste is uniquely Indian and the view that slavery and racialization in the global North alone are historically paradigmatic.


Presenter 1
Aparna Gopalan - aparna_gopalan@g.harvard.edu (Harvard University)
A State of Evasion: Playing Defense with Class-Caste power in Rural Rajasthan

Presenter 2
Navyug Gill - gilln2@wpunj.edu (William Paterson University)
Specters of Indebtedness: The Logic and Illogic of Caste, Discipline and Capital in Panjab

Presenter 3
Sheetal Chhabria - schhabri@conncoll.edu (Connecticut College)
The Art of Never Ending Famine Relief

Presenter 4
Rupa Viswanath - rupa.viswanath@gmail.com (University of Göttingen)
The Governance of “Harijans” and the Order of the Political: Violence, Wages, and Tacit Majorities in 1950s Madras


The Administration of Everyday Life
Panel Group

Location

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

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

What are the limits to the narrative of resistance in Nepali anthropology? While historically scholarship of Nepal has privileged kinship and village practices, questions regarding bureaucratic authority, formal finance, and global markets have often been viewed as outside forces, impeding on communal agency. Recent scholarship has worked to correct this picture by exploring the increased importance capitalist markets, global labor, and private property to this area of the world. Yet still, too often these forces are framed as an alien imposition, a characterization that belies the life experience of those who must deal with state bureaucracy and private bank loans as often as they do with ritual exchange. What is needed is a renewed focus on the administration of the everyday; that is, on the transactions and procedures that cut freely from state authorities to private banks to domestic life. Rather than seeing such formal bureaucracy as vehicles of Western modernism in contest with “local” practice, we could instead embrace them as an available foundation for creativity, agency, and moral play. Such focus helps to undermine a diffusionist narrative of modernism and globalization, while also bringing us more in-line with the strategies and subjectivities of those who must navigate these systems. Indeed, with a burgeoning financial sector, hydropower projects paying villagers in company shares, earthquake reconstruction premised on formalized land titles, and over one third of the national GDP constituted by remittances sent from abroad, bureaucratic authority and capital markets can no longer been seen as marginal or resisted. In light of this, we offer ethnographic insights into this transformation, focusing on the transactions and procedures themselves, and not the narratives we use to make sense of them.


Presenter 1
Elsie Lewison - elsie.lewison@mail.utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Roads, Responsibilities and the Public Good: Negotiating the bureaucratic space of road users’ committees

Presenter 2
Andrew Haxby - druhaxby@umich.edu (University of Michigan)
Legibility as a Dimension of Class: Income and Private Finance in Kathmandu

Presenter 3
Sara Shneiderman - sara.shneiderman@ubc.ca (University of British Columbia)
Equivocating households: kinship, materiality, and the bureaucracy of everyday life in post-earthquake Nepal

Presenter 4
Heather Hindman - h.hindman@mail.utexas.edu (University of Texas-Austin)
Language Classes for Fishing: Everyday Bureaucracy of the EPS (Employment Permit System) in Nepal


Navigating Semiotics, Aurality, and Identity through South Asian Texts and Diaspora Communities
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Christabel Devadoss - christabel.devadoss@mtsu.edu (Middle Tennessee State University )

Ad hoc 1, Language


Presenter 1
Shubham Arora - shubhamkrishnalalit@gmail.com (The University of British Columbia)
Materializing Sensuality, Exchanging Consent: The Art of Jargon and Semiotics in the Nāgarasarvasvam

Presenter 2
Christabel Devadoss - christabel.devadoss@mtsu.edu (Middle Tennessee State University )
Sound, Othering, and Discrimination: Aural Politics of the US Indian Tamil Diaspora

Presenter 3
Anamitraa Chakraborty - achakra@iu.edu (Indiana University Bloomington)
Inter-dialectal variation and code-switching among the immigrant speakers of Bangla from Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) settled in Kolkata, India

Presenter 4
Varun Khanna - vrkhanna@gmail.com (University of Pennsylvania)
(D)evolution of Gender Roles in Sanskrit Grammar: A Case Study of the Nadī Saṁjñā


Artistry and Craftsmanship in Second Millennium Poetry
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Thibaut D'Hubert - dhubert@uchicago.edu

At the heart of this panel is how poets understand their craft and the literary tools at their disposal in the shifting environments of the second millennium in South Asia. Though literary production in the vernacular is often understood through the prism of language, the following papers examine vernacularism from the perspective of craft, in which language is just one of the many tools available in multi-lingual, multi-cultural spaces. Sivan Goren Arzony discusses the Bhāshārāmāyanacampu, a fifteenth-century Manipravālam adaptation of the Rāmāyana which uses Sanskrit verses (wholesale, slightly adapted or translated) inserted into Manipravālam. Rather than plagiarism or inaptitude, she argues that these verses are a new poetic tool which is also deeply connected to performative practices. Ilanit Loewy Shacham engages with sixteenth-century Telugu prabandhas. Focusing on the practice of poetic description (varnana), she argues that within this domain, Telugu poets were carving out new modes of expression and finding ways to meaningfully intertwine various types of past and present. Michal Hasson examines the way seventeenth-century Dakani poets conceptualized the act of composition, specifically, the ways in which these poets combined Persian and Sanskrit poetic conventions as well as elements from different branches of knowledge such as botany and astrology to create a new literary culture in Dakani. Natalia Di Pietrantonio focuses on the eighteenth-century masnavi Sihr-ul Bayan by Mir Hasan. Di Pietrantonio examines various manuscript copies of Sihr-ul Bayan to animate the relationship between miniature painting and the poetic text, speculating that the poet was aware that his text would be illustrated and thereby introducing a non-verbal aspect into his poetry. By focusing on poetic production from four different geo-chronological perspectives, this panel highlights both common and local-specific tools available to second-millennium poets and the ways in which poets re-imagine their poetry as craft within their diverse environments.


Presenter 1
Sivan Goren Arzony - sivangoren@gmail.com (Harvard Society of Fellows)
Loan Verses as Ornaments: Adaptive Reuse in Punam’s Manipravalam Ramayana

Presenter 2
Ilanit Loewy Shacham - ilanits73@hotmail.com (Tel Aviv University )
Describing Changing Times: Varnana in the Telugu Prabandhas

Presenter 3
Michal Hasson - mhasson@fas.harvard.edu (Hebrew University of Jerusalem )
Poetic Craftsmanship in Dakani

Presenter 4
Natalia Di Pietrantonio - ndipietrantonio@gmail.com (Bard Graduate Center)
Image and Text: Sihr-ul Bayan


Ethnographic Approaches in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Vijayanka Nair - vn361@nyu.edu (University of Madison-Wisconsin)

Ethnography is a research method used across many disciplines. The method grounds a research inquiry in a rich social, cultural, historical and economic context, and formulate theories through the examples of the specifics. At the same time, the process of doing ethnography itself is dynamic, contextually produced and improvised through the encounter between the ethnographers and their informants. What does postcolonial ethnography mean and entail in a region like South Asia? By bringing together papers on different regions in South Asia (Bangladesh, Burma, India, Nepal), this panel provides a platform to explore the topics, practices, challenges, and dilemma of ethnographic work catering to the region. The panel assembles ethnographers with very different positionalities and disciplines together to think about major themes in doing ethnography such as interdisciplinarity, ethical relationships, as well as bridging theory and practice. Potential questions examined are (1) What kind of topics matter to ethnographers of South Asia? (2) What are the different positionalities of ethnographers in South Asia? (3) What are the different disciplinary or interdisciplinary approaches to ethnographies in South Asia and (4) What constitutes ethical research and ethical relationships in ethnographic work in South Asia? As an all-graduate-students-panel, it provides a space for emerging scholars to reflect upon their ethnographic practices and mutually inspire to conduct ethically responsible scholarships.


Presenter 1
Caitlin Benedetto - cbenedetto@wisc.edu (UW-Madison)
Beyond Reflexivity: Ethnographic Research and Feminist Responsibility in Nepal and Myanmar

Presenter 2
You Bin Kang - youbin.kang@wisc.edu ()
The Bangladesh Experiment: regulating workers rights in the garment industry after Rana Plaza

Presenter 3
Ujaan Ghosh - ughosh2@wisc.edu (UW Madison)
A Tale of Two Tourism: Spatiality, Temporality and traveling to Puri

Presenter 4
Pearly Wong - pwong7@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Participant Conversation: Bridging Development Theory and Practice in Nepal


Governance Challenges in Bangladesh: Critical Perspectives
Panel Group

Location

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

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

This panel critically examines the current challenges to governance in Bangladesh. It is often argued that economic underdevelopment, violent extremism, ethnic dispute are among the principal problems faced by the country. The panelists examine various dimensions of these challenges. Contrary to the argument that economic growth will pave the way of good governance, it shows that the significant economic growth in the past decade has neither diminished the political instability nor has it helped create an inclusive political system. Recent measures of the government are further limiting the democratic space and creating roadblocks towards political pluralism, as reflected in the restrictive laws about cyberspace. Bangladesh’s brush with violent extremism has drawn international attention while the source of the extremist ideology has been misplaced. The argument that growing violent extremism are associated with Islamic seminaries are tenuous at its best. The ethnic dispute, particularly in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, has remained a source of instability because of the absence of an alignment of actors and interests. Underscoring these four aspects of the governance, the panel intends to engage with dominant discourses and point to their inadequacies.


Presenter 1
Md. Shahriar Islam - mislam20@binghamton.edu (Binghamton University)
The Myth of Development: Implications for Political Conflict and Governance in Bangladesh

Presenter 2
Md Harun Or Rashid - mrashid@kent.edu (Kent State University)
Rethinking Relationship between Violent Extremism and the Education System

Presenter 3
Rashed Mosharref - rashed110@gmail.com (Illinois State University)
The Irony of Digital Bangladesh

Presenter 4
Zunaid Almamun - zalmamu@ilstu.edu (Illinois State University)
The Aftermath of Political Settlement in the Chittagong Hill Tracts: Actors and Interests


Site-Specificity: The Role of Place in Artistic Production
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Vazira Zamindar - vazira_f-y_zamindar@brown.edu

This panel joins papers from different disciplinary traditions to reflect on the significance of site-specificity in the making of an aesthetic practice, institution, or industry. How do scholars think of location and the place of aesthetic production in their studies of form, circulation, pedagogy and authorship? How does the generative site, as manifested in geographic particularities, constructed environments, urban infrastructures, cultural formations, or political exigencies, participate in the emergence of artistic forms and structures? The four panelists tackle these questions from different disciplinary locations and with different spatio-temporal contexts in view. Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi interrogates emergent architectural pedagogies in South Asia by examining the work spheres of Claude Batley in Bombay and Nandalal Bose in Shantiniketan. Drawing on the energies of the two milieus and their wider Asian networks, the curricula devised in these years blurred boundaries between skill, craft, and technical epistemologies. Debashree Mukherjee approaches site-specificity from an atmospheric angle and proposes a climatic history of Bombay cinema in the 1930s. She tracks the place of the monsoon in Bombay cinema’s aesthetic imagination and in the material practices of production that emerged in a period that was critical to the local film industry’s consolidation. Zirwat Chowdhury re-reads Claude Levi-Strauss to ask whether the mathematics of Partition were conditioned by understandings of the form of landscape. Chowdhury confronts two contradictory strains in Levi-Strauss’ writing that pit an anti-Islamic attitude against an ethical, geopolitical interrogation of violence. Finally, Saloni Mathur draws on art historical debates on site-specificity to discuss contemporary art installations commissioned at a colonial-era museum in Mumbai. Cumulatively, this panel argues that, even in globalized contexts with dispersed form-making, aesthetic histories must be firmly embedded in their material ground and stay alert to the specificities of space-time urgencies.


Presenter 1
Anooradha Siddiqi - asiddiqi@barnard.edu ()
Writing, Teaching, Thinking Architecture in Batley’s Bombay and Bose’s Shantiniketan

Presenter 2
DEBASHREE MUKHERJEE - dm3154@columbia.edu (Columbia University)
Monsoon Media: Climate and the Making of Bombay Cinema

Presenter 3
Zirwat Chowdhury - zirwat@u.northwestern.edu ()
Lévi-Strauss and the Form of Partition

Presenter 4
Saloni Mathur - mathur@humnet.ucla.edu ()
Site-Specificity in/and the Museum


Sacred Landscapes of Pilgrimage in India: Patterns and Practices
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Amita Sinha - amitasinha12@hotmail.com (Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India)

The panel on sacred landscapes of pilgrimage will focus on landscape structure and patterns in four case studies—Mahuli and Pandharpur in Maharashtra, and Ayodhya and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh—in India. Physical mapping, observations, and interviews revealed patterns in ways in which the cultural landscape is structured and attributed significance as a sacred site. The findings indicate that sacred landscapes emerge from cultural practices centered around natural features such as river confluences, water bodies, and groves. The landscape becomes a center, a place of great significance, holding the possibility of encountering the divine, achieving purity, fulfilling vows, and experiencing transcendence. Mahuli at the confluence of Rivers Krishna and Venna near Satara in Maharashtra is a case study of sangam (confluence) tirtha (ford) where the cultural landscape emerges from cultural practices of pilgrims, alignment of festivals with planetary events, and imprinting of place narratives. Pandharpur is the destination of varkaris (pilgrims) belonging to a regional sect who come from many parts of Maharashtra to see Panduranga, a form of Krishna. Place-making occurs through transferring sanctity by spatially transposing other sites associated with Krishna and re-enactments of ritual practices. The Panchkroshi pilgrimage around Varanasi is undertaken for purifying oneself and fulfilling vows. The landscape is shaped by cultural practices of circumambulating and bathing at five sacred sites whose landscape structure is mapped, revealing a place vocabulary of water bodies, temples, courtyards, and tree shrines. At Ayodhya, birthplace of Lord Ram, pilgrims and residents were interviewed to explore how their cultural practices constitute place-making at the Sarayu Riverfront and at the ancient fort Ramkot where temples have been built on hillocks. The findings are applied towards conservation and management of sacred landscapes at the four pilgrim sites.


Presenter 1
Minal Sagare - minalsagare.pvpcoa@gmail.com (VIT's Padmabhushan Dr. Vasantdada Patil College of Architecture, Pune)
The Sacred Landscape of River Confluences: The Case of Sangam Mahuli, India

Presenter 2
Vaishali Latkar - lvaishali@gmail.com ()
The Sacred Landscape of Panduranga, India Transferring Sanctity and Ritual Re-enactments

Presenter 3
Saloni Chawla - saloni.chawla91@gmail.com ()
Walking the Panchkroshi in Varanasi, India: Reclaiming the Landscape of Pilgrimage

Presenter 4
Shubhada Kamalapurkar - shubhada2007@gmail.com ()
The Cultural Landscape of Ayodhya: Pilgrim and Resident Perceptions


The Academic Caste System: Race and Gender in the Study of South Asia
Round Table

Location

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

Anand Venkatkrishnan - anand.venkatkrishnan@gmail.com (Harvard University)

This roundtable takes as its starting point that the field of South Asian Studies ought to be an object of study and its practitioners the subject. Who and what is included and occluded in the academic study of South Asia in America? What are its specifically American dimensions? In other words, who gets to speak for the field, and how do the fault lines of race, gender, caste, and class structure this access? American academics who work on South Asia live in a fraught space, both here materially in the U.S., and in the communities in which they live and learn. Each contributor brings different perspectives on how their work and their positionality affect their participation in both the region of South Asia and the academic field of South Asian Studies. Harshita Mruthinti Kamath reflects on her role as both archivist and interpreter of South Indian performance traditions in the American classroom. Jazmin Graves makes a case for the methodological urgency to study premodern South Asia and Africa together, by focusing on the understudied Sidi community of African Muslims in India. Rumya Putcha extends her work on South Asian dance cultures to critical analyses of commodified yoga practices within neocolonial discourses of body, race, and citizenship. Dheepa Sundaram examines how scholars perform themselves in the U.S. academy, both maneuvering within the system and pushing back against it. Santhosh Chandrasekhar posits Lingayat Studies as an emerging field from which to challenge the orientalist constructions of South Asia from without and the caste and gendered politics of Hinduism from within. Reema Rajbanshi brings the perspective of Native American studies to the intersections of decolonization among indigenous communities in South Asia and South America.


Presenter 1
Harshita Mruthinti Kamath - harshita.kamath@emory.edu (Emory University)
Presenter 2
Jazmin Graves - jazmgraves@uchicago.edu
Presenter 3
Rumya Putcha - rsputcha@gmail.com
Presenter 4
Dheepa Sundaram - dheepa.sundaram@du.edu (University of Denver)
Presenter 5
Santhosh Chandrasekhar - santhosh.chandrasekhar@gmail.com
Presenter 6
Reema Rajbanshi - reemama@gmail.com (Haverford College)

Transgressive Expressions, Normative Contexts: (Re)Productions of Gender and Sexuality Within Hegemonies
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Rishika Mehrishi - rishika@stanford.edu (Stanford University)

Ad hoc 3, Cinema, Queer


Presenter 1
Themal Ellawala - tellaw2@uic.edu (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Kin and Queer, Not Kin or Queer? On Queer Intimacies and Desires at the Heart of the Familial in Sri Lanka

Presenter 2
Rishika Mehrishi - rishika@stanford.edu (Stanford University)
Sinner Scorpions and Erotic Women Inter-species Sexual Imaginaries in Indian Dance-Song Sequences

Presenter 3
Salwa Tareen - stareen@bu.edu (Boston University)
Mother India’s Daughters: Gendered Re-imaginings of Indian History through Bollywood

Presenter 4
Phil Lagace - pll434.usask@gmail.com (Concordia University)
Ardhanārīśvara: Developments of a Deity

Presenter 5
Liza Tom - liza.tom@mail.mcgill.ca (McGill University)
Docile Bodies, Governmentality and the Deployment of ‘Transgender’


Recoding Violence, Injury and the Law
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Vinay Lal - vlal@history.ucla.edu

Our panelists probe the context of multiple insurgent movements and repressive state structures in contemporary South Asia, asking how violence and injury, both literal and perceived, are processed and performed. In what new ways is state violence being justified? How are marginal groups asserting their injuries through new idioms? How are legal discourses and laws used to perpetuate injury? Kumarakulasingam explores the absene of the language of collateral damage in the victory discourse of the Sri Lankan state after its defeat of the LTTE in 2009. Asking what accounts for the state’s silence around the killings of civilians in the wake of what is now documented as atrocities, he argues that the absence of collateral damage provides an opening for thinking about conceptions of violence not constituted by measure (Mehta, 2016). Basu examines how men’s rights groups in India, typically agitating against feminist legal interventions, seek to recode violence against women. She examines how such groups challenge the meaning of gender-based violence both in the courtroom as well as in media settings. Tambe examines how 2013 debates in India about the age of sexual consent have pitted feminist groups against child rights groups. She tracks how parents perpetrate injury in the name of protection when they use child marriage laws to prosecute elopements. She traces the apparent contradiction of feminists calling to lower the age of consent after nearly a century of organizing to raise it. Devare explores internal debates within the Dalit movement via the writings of D.R. Nagaraj. What are the possibilities and limits of the languages and idioms used by the Dalit movements in India today? Taken together, these papers explore important ongoing reconfigurations in the South Asian political landscape. 


Presenter 1
Ashwini Tambe - atambe@umd.edu (University of Maryland)
The Girl Question in India: Contemporary Feminist Age of Consent Debates

Presenter 2
Srimati Basu - srimati.basu@uky.edu (University of Kentucky)
The Habitus of Violence: Indian Men's Rights Activists, Law and Representation

Presenter 3
Naren Kumarakulasingam - narenkum@gmaiil.com ()
Zero Civilians Killed: The Absence of Collateral Damage and Languages of Death Dealing

Presenter 4
Aparna Devare - adev73@gmail.com (University of Hyderabad)
Poetics as Politics: D.R. Nagaraj and the Possibilities/Limits of Contemporary Dalit Politics


Urban Space(s) in Colonial and Postcolonial South Asia
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Maryam Fatima - maryamfatima@complit.umass.edu (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

This panel explores the production and reproduction of urban spaces in colonial and postcolonial South Asia. In bringing together literary, historical, and material sources, we analyze policies and everyday practices of meaning-making in what is putatively understood as the urban. The four presentations explore processes of representation, preservation, commemoration, and memorialization both in literary and material forms. We engage a wide range of interdisciplinary scholarship in order to examine the triangulated relationship between urban/civic spaces, their literary and historical representation, and the communities and polities that reside within them. We hope to put critical pressure on the physical and symbolic boundaries of city-spaces and look for what alternative genealogies and geographies can be found in their stead. Ultimately this panel aims to generate a discussion on belonging and dispossession and critical artistic responses to these predicaments. Some questions we will explore are: - How are civic spaces imbricated in larger national and international imaginaries and political frameworks? - What are the multiple histories and temporalities that constitute urban geographies? - What sort of continuities and discontinuities emerge between pre-Partition and post-Partition histories of the city? - How might we theorize cultural practices and their location within the socio-economic context they emerge from, inhabit, or oppose? - How do authors and poets navigate and transcend territorially bounded concepts such as the city and the nation? -How does the conception of a precolonial past impinge on modern understandings of spaces, identities, affiliations?


Presenter 1
Sohini Banerjee - sohinibanerj@umass.edu (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Modernity/Modernization: The Global South City as Late-Postcolonial Surface

Presenter 2
Maryam Fatima - maryamfatima@complit.umass.edu (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Intersections of Genre and Geography in Intizar Husain’s work

Presenter 3
Ragini Jha - raginijha@umass.edu (UMass Amherst)
The Changing Monument in Colonial Delhi

Presenter 4
Noor Habib - nhabib@umass.edu ()
Cities, Empire, and the Poetics of Estrangement: Reading Rashed’s “A Stranger in Iran”


Unmaking Sri Lanka at Home and Abroad—Visual Cultures and Politics of Resistance
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Parlour Room 627
Floor: Floor 6

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

In the age of new media, the importance of visual culture in redrawing boundaries of nation and diaspora cannot be overstated. For the past two decades, Sri Lanka’s armed conflict was largely responsible for revitalizing its visual culture, first, through the globalization of Sinhala new-wave cinema and its Tamil counter-currents, and second, through artists in the diaspora who negotiate their lived reality via multiple performative registers: the first-generation immigrants torn between the trauma of relocation and the failure of long-distance nationalism expressed through the cinematic medium and theatrical performance, and second-generation queer artists who complicate sexual and gendered norms and patriarchal nationalism. Against this backdrop, Sumathy Sivamohan’s paper “Unmaking the Nation: Cinema as Counter Word” serves as an intertextual commentary on the political practice of filmmaking. She reflects on the minority subject, caught between the ever-growing power of south Indian film and the hegemonic nationalism of Sinhala film, to strike a counter hegemonic note within the dominant strains of cinematic practice. Nalin Jayasena’s study “From Refugees to Exiles: Screening Trauma in the Sri Lankan Diaspora” examines the “visual pleasure” of Tamil trauma in Jacques Audilard’s Dheepan, while Pradeepan Ravindran’s Shadows of Silence rejects the sensational potential of migrant narratives. In “Re-thinking the Re-performances of the Sri Lankan Postcolonial Play,” Sandamini Ranwalage addresses the meanings and contradictions of the diaspora’s reiteration of Ediriweera Sarachchandra’s Sinhabahu as a sign of national culture, displaced onto the asynchronous space of the Sinhala community in Los Angeles. Finally, Dinidu Karunanayake’s “Performing Borderline Memories in Queer ‘Sri Lankanstan’” investigates the literary, visual, and theatrical works by D’Lo, YaliniDream, and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, and how they critically examine such issues as the heteronormative diaspora, long-distance nationalism of the postcolonial homelands, and risks of being co-opted by “homonationalism” of the US imperial state.


Presenter 1
Sumathy Sivamohan - sivamohan.sumathy@gmail.com ()
“Unmaking the Nation: Cinema as Counter Word”

Presenter 2
Nalin Jayasena - jayasen@miamioh.edu (Miami University)
“From Refugees to Exiles: Screening Trauma in the Sri Lankan Diaspora”

Presenter 3
Sandamini Ranwalage - ranwalsy@miamioh.edu ()
“Re-thinking the Re-performances of the Sri Lankan Postcolonial Play”

Presenter 4
Dinidu Karunanayake - priyankp@miamioh.edu (Miami University of Oxford, Ohio)
"Performing Borderline Memories in Queer 'Sri Lankanstan'"


Art, Culture and Political Change in the Himalayan Region
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Parlour Room 629
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant / Chair
Dannah Dennis - dannahdennis@gmail.com (New York University Shanghai)

Ad hoc 9, Geography, Tibet


Presenter 1
Kalsang Nyima - kalsangn31@gmail.com (Institute )
Three popular classical Indian Dramas in Tibet

Presenter 2
Lopita Nath - nath@uiwtx.edu (University of the Incarnate Word)
Has Bhutan Arrived in the 21st Century? An Old Monarchy, a New Democracy and Gross National Happiness

Presenter 3
Swati Chawla - sc2wt@virginia.edu (University of Virginia)
“Frustrating a Fragile Compromise: Tibetan Poets, Painters, and the Fashioning of an Exile Identity”


Projecting Power in Urdu Ghazal, Marsiya, and Dastan Performances
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Parlour Room 634
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant / Chair
Pasha Khan - pasha.m.khan@mcgill.ca (McGill University)

Over its history, the status of the Urdu language has been tied to displays of power as poets relied upon oral-performative events such as musha‘iras (poetry gatherings) to exhibit literary prowess and accomplishment. While such power displays are possible in written literature as well, orally performed verbal art is dialogic and transactional in a more immediate manner, as the performers have the opportunity, and at, times, the obligation, to respond to one another, the audience, and/or the patron on the spot. Power, of whatever sort, is clearly social in these situations. The papers in our panel will examine how Urdu performances made possible the projection of aesthetic, epistemic, and political power, whether via rivalry between multiple participants, discursive idealization amongst audiences and performers, or the assertion of the uniqueness of a lone performer. Our papers will examine forms of power in several genres of Urdu-language performative verbal art, including the ghazal, the marsiya, and the dastan/qissa from the 18th century to the present. Nathan Tabor’s paper will analyze the formation and disintegration of poets’ reputations, and the possibility of the subversion of social hierarchies in the musha‘ira situation in the 18th and 19th centuries. Peter Knapczyk’s paper will look at rivalry between poets, and in particular 19th-century marsiya-khwans or reciters of marsiyas, perhaps a surprising context, given the association of the marsiya with a collective piety. Pasha M. Khan’s paper will focus on the early 20th-century Urdu storyteller Mir Baqir ‘Ali’s role as a safekeeper of a store of knowledge thought to be disappearing after 1857. Sara Hakeem Grewal’s paper will examine the cases of two Indian musha‘iras from 2013 to argue that the operation of the ghazal at such events is always political, in part due to issues surrounding Urdu’s place in the modern South Asian ecosystem of languages.


Presenter 1
Nathan Tabor - tabor_n@utexas.edu (Western Michigan University)
Risk to Life and Reputation in Eighteenth-Century India’s Persianate Literary Scene

Presenter 2
Peter Knapczyk - peterkusum@gmail.com (Wake Forest University)
Rivalry in Urdu Literary Culture: Performance and Historiography

Presenter 3
Sara Grewal - grewals42@macewan.ca ()
Contemporary Ghazal Performance and the Musha‘ira Imaginary

Presenter 4
Pasha Khan - pasha.m.khan@mcgill.ca (McGill University)
The Last Storyteller of Delhi: Mir Baqir 'Ali and Knowledge in the Dastan after 1857


Changing Perspectives on Mithila Paintings
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 5: Saturday, 8:30 am - 10:15 am
Room: Parlour Room 638
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant / Chair
Paula Richman - prichman@oberlin.edu (Oberlin College)

Mithila painting on paper began in the late 1960s around Madhubani, Bihar. Previously, Brahmin and Kayastha women had long painted the walls of the nuptial chamber with gods, goddesses, and ritual images to create an auspicious space for the new bride and groom. A long drought in the area led to crop failure, prompting the All India Handicraft Board in Delhi to send heavy paper and request that artists paint what had been on walls onto paper to be sold in Delhi, which earned income for artists. With the shift to paper, they developed their own styles within the distinctive Mithila artistic tradition. Their works appeared in national and international, some won awards, and scholars wrote about them in the 1980s and 90s. The next generation of painters has now won acclaim, especially for artwork dealing with contemporary issues such as pollution of air and water, women’s rights, and caste discrimination. Further, painters from jatis that did not paint earlier have now created their own distinctive styles and subject matter. Also, some painters have shifted to other Indian cities so their art reflects new experiences. Four presenters in the panel examine Mithila painting today through four different lenses. Pranjali Sirasao investigates changing inter-generational transmission of Mithila painting techniques and conventions. Paula Richman compares how the early Mithila painters depicted Ramayana incidents and how young artists do so today. David Szanton examines the political factors shaping the paintings, including a new Bihar Government Mithila art school. Lina Vincent explores how Mithila painters participate in the contemporary Indian art world of galleries and exhibitions. Panelist plan plenty of time for discussion and hope that scholars of South Asia who have purchased Mithila paintings over the last 45 years will join the discussion.


Presenter 1
Pranjali Sirasao - pranjalis@yahoo.com (UC Berkeley)
Passing the Baton: Different Generations of Mithila Painters

Presenter 2
Paula Richman - prichman@oberlin.edu (Oberlin College)
Mithila Paintings and the Ramayana Narrative

Presenter 3
Davud Szanton - szanton@berkeley.edu (University of California, Emeritus)
The Politics of Mithila Painting

Presenter 4
lina vincent - lina.sunish@gmail.com ()
Mithila painters and the Contemporary Indian Art World of Galleries and Exhibitions


Explaining the outcome of India’s 17th General Elections
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Assembly Room
Floor: Floor 1

John Harriss - jharriss@sfu.ca (Simon Fraser University)

This round table proposes to perform a deep-dive into the results of India’s 17th General Elections and reflect on their consequences for democracy, party politics and the balance of power between national and state actors in India. At the time of redaction of this abstract, the campaign already raises a number of important issues. After five years of a centralized and personalized regime, the campaign already reveals how local and regional factors - and alliances - have remained salient to the making of national politics. The campaign is also marked by a chasm between economic issues – joblessness and inequalities – and national security, in the context of renewed tension with Pakistan. Proposals made by parties – notably a promise of a quasi-universal basic income for the poor – could affect policy orientations in the years to come. The chair and organiser, John Harriss (Professor Emeritus, Simon Fraser University), will examine the impact rural distress played on parties’ performance, while Tariq Thachil (Politics, Vanderbilt University) will dissect the BJP’s performance, assessing the effect of the ‘Modi factor’ in the campaign. Amrita Basu (Politics, Amherst College) will discuss how the five years of Modi’s government and his style of governance have affected the manner elections are fought in India. Sanjay Ruparelia (Politics, Ryerson University) will examine the role played by regional actors and alliances and Gilles Verniers (Political Science, Ashoka University) will discuss the representational outcomes of these elections. Regardless of their outcome, the Indian election will spark intense discussion and debate and will contribute to define new research agendas for at least the next five years. Given the broad significance of India’ elections, we expect our remarks to stimulate a wide-ranging discussion with the audience.


Presenter 1
John Harriss - jharriss@sfu.ca (Simon Fraser University)
Presenter 2
Amrita Basu - abasu@amherst.edu (Amherst College)
Presenter 3
Tariq Thachil - tariq.thachil@yale.edu (Yale University)
Presenter 4
Sanjay Ruparelia - ruparelia@ryerson.ca (New School for Social Research)
Presenter 5
Gilles Verniers - gilles.verniers@ashoka.edu.in (Ashoka University)

Revisiting the Archaeology of Medieval South Asia 1: Environment, Epistemology and Landscapes
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Caucus Room
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant / Chair
MUDIT TRIVEDI - mudit@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)

Over the past two decades historians have come to view the medieval and early modern phases of South Asian history as a period when spatial and material transformations are of heightened interest. In considering new kinds of Islamic spaces or the relationships between power, social memory, and architecture, there is broad agreement amidst historians that changes in the material determinants of South Asian lives are epochally significant. Yet, the historical narratives, concepts and presuppositions that frame the period remain rooted in an enduring primacy of textual historical traces over archaeologies which privilege artifacts, assemblages and landscapes. Over the last forty years archaeological fieldwork in several different parts of South Asia has generated considerable new data and provided analyses of ill-understood sites, regions and polities. Beyond supplementing the epigraphic, art-historical and monumental datasets of these periods, the growing archaeology of the medieval poses new questions to well established historiographic themes. This panel aims to provide a forum to bring historical and archaeological approaches to the medieval into closer conversation. Each paper seeks to engage with historiographical assumptions and presents arguments from archaeological data which offer pause, and occasions for rethinking historical accounts of medieval social organization, historical process, and cultural life. Collectively, the papers in this panel aim to address enduring historical thematics such as: landscapes and the question of society and nature; agrarian expansion and its determinants; cultural conceptions of agrarian value; historical periodization as revisited from the immanence of artifactual temporality; religious orthodoxy and concepts of tradition; transitions to the early medieval and early modern; conversion to Islam and its attendant material processes. The panel discussant (to be finalized), a historian, will respond to these papers with the aim of fostering mutually productive inter-disciplinary conversations between these fields and their potentials for the reinterpretation of the medieval.


Presenter 1
Andrew Bauer - ambauer@stanford.edu (Stanford University)
Archaeological Context and Archival Content: Toward an Historical Archaeology of Medieval Period Donative Practices on the Raichur Doab

Presenter 2
Anne Casile - anne.casile@ird.fr (IRD (French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development))
Between Nature and Society in the archaeological landscapes of Mandu (Central India)

Presenter 3
Eduard Fanthome - fanthome@stanford.edu (Stanford University)
Politics in the margins – Hegemony across Space, Representation and Social Reproduction in medieval north Karnataka

Presenter 4
Jason Hawkes - hawkes.jason@gmail.com (University of Cambridge)
Revisiting the transition to the early medieval


Caste & Capital Redux: Hierarchies of Labor & Property in South Asia (double panel)
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Senate Room A
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant / Chair
John Harriss - jharriss@sfu.ca (Simon Fraser University)

In the last fifty-odd years, scholars of South Asia have pursued a range of analytic strategies by which to avoid the salience of caste in the analysis of political-economic inequality. For instance, in the storied “transition debates” of the 1970s and 1980s, the role of caste in organizing agrarian labor was rarely mentioned in accounts of the capitalization of the agrarian economy. Important exceptions notwithstanding, many recent anthropological and historical accounts understand caste as a South Asia-specific cultural form that “persists” despite economic and political modernization. By rendering caste trans-historical, critical questions about caste’s role in statecraft, economic relations, and political mobilization have been too rarely posed. This double panel will bring new research to bear on the connections between caste and political economy in South Asia, foregrounding the way caste is often the signal means through which wealth is accumulated and hierarchies (or “classes”) of labor instituted and perpetuated. Our papers focus on the last century and a half and geographically span diverse regions across the subcontinent, including Sindh, Panjab, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Together, they generate new analyses of the history and politics of caste and property, while critically evaluating the lasting political and governmental consequences of the hegemonic misconceptions of caste that have prevailed in South Asia. Finally, drawing on the literature on racial capitalism, we will attempt to demonstrate the fruits of global comparison, moving past both the view that caste is uniquely Indian and the view that slavery and racialization in the global North alone are historically paradigmatic.


Presenter 1
Mishal Khan - mishal@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago )
The Hari Movement in Sindh: Anatomy, Failure, and Legacy

Presenter 2
Chandra Bhanu Murthy Nalamala - chandra.nalamala@uni-goettingen.de (george august universität göttingen)
Untouchability, Agrarian Issues and Political Power: The Agendas of the Adi-Andhra Movement in Early Twentieth Century South India

Presenter 3
Pinky Hota - phota@smith.edu ()
Money, Value and the Racialization of Adivasi Indigeneity

Presenter 4
Juned Shaikh - jmshaikh@ucsc.edu (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Caste, Capital, and Bombay City, 1900-1940


After Rana-Plaza: The impact of international interventions on the garment industry in Bangladesh
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Senate Room B
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant / Chair
Sanchita Saxena - sanchitas@berkeley.edu (UC Berkeley)

April 24, 2013 will be known as the day of the deadliest garment factory accident in history. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Western companies invested in two organizations designed to strictly monitor and inspect a portion of Bangladesh’s registered factories. These organizations were not, in fact, a departure from monitoring initiatives of the past. The presenters on this panel argue that this singular emphasis by Western retailers on monitoring and compliance has neglected the larger issues around the entire global supply chain. There has been very little discussion around the indirect sourcing model prevalent in Bangladesh which results in the most compliant factories depending heavily on subcontractors as a part of their regular business practice. By presenting innovative ways of thinking about solutions that go beyond monitoring, this roundtable discussion opens up the possibilities for a focus on direct worker empowerment using technology, the role of community based movements, international labor standards, and a more productive and influential role for factory owners. The presenters argue that in order to prevent horrific tragedies like Rana Plaza from occurring in the future larger flaws in the global chain must be addressed with the hope that this will change the way business is conducted and reduce the incentives of factory owners to take deadly risks in order to meet the demands of their clients.


Presenter 1
Chaumtoli Huq - chaumtolihuq@gmail.com ()
• Opportunities and limitations of the Accord/Alliance: Need for a worker-centric model

Presenter 2
DINA SIDDIQI - dmsiddiqi@gmail.com (New York University)
• Spaces of exception: Transnational solidarity, labor organizing and ‘seditious’ acts

Presenter 3
Meenu Tewari - mtewari@unc.edu ()
: Place based contracting, decent work, and new forms of relational sourcing at the base of global garment value chains: Lessons from Mewat, India

Presenter 4
Sanchita Saxena - sanchitas@berkeley.edu (UC Berkeley)
How do we understand the Rana Plaza disaster and what needs to be done to prevent future tragedies


(Re)casting Agency: Four Ways of Translating the Subject in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Conference Room 1
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Aditya Malik - adityamalik59@gmail.com (K R Mangalam University, Gurgaon, India)

Thinking about translating agency and temporal dimensions of/in texts, authors, and communities might be an important way of approaching writings on South Asia in academic contexts. In these translations, it is useful to consider what determines the choices made, and where we draw those from. Taking seriously the claims of the systems they speak of, the presenters open up the possibilities of reconsidering the presumptions which inform their respective discipline. Aditya Malik’s paper pushes the limits of what may be considered ‘historical’ through the example of a fifteenth century poem whose ‘seed’ lay in a dream where the author received the narrative from the dead hero. Aditya Pratap Deo focuses on the process of the translation of oral accounts about spirits from a central Indian princely state as history, once again interrogating the notion of the ‘historical/political’ which informs disciplinary history, and displacing the state as the purposive vision, while emphasizing the complex inter-temporal subjectivity of the historian-anthropologist. Aditya Chaturvedi explores the subjectivity of the ‘author-translator’ of the twentieth century Mithila Ramayana composed in Raj Darbhanga, highlighting the ‘translation’ of spiritual efficacy and the agency of the Goddess to reclaim the project from its usual location within legitimization strategies. Tarinee Awasthi’s paper looks at the idea of ‘initiation through text’ which appears in two sixteenth century Śrīvidyā texts and looks into how asking different questions, addressed from the academia but aligned to the texts, may allow for a disruption of our ideas of authorial subjectivity and intellectual history as they apply to these traditions.


Presenter 1
Aditya Malik - adityamalik59@gmail.com (K R Mangalam University, Gurgaon, India)
Hammira: Chapters in Imagination, Time, History

Presenter 2
Aditya Pratap Deo - adityakanker@gmail.com (St Stephen's College, Delhi, India)
Translating Spirits: History/Politics in the Oral Accounts of the Past in a Central Indian Princely State

Presenter 3
Aditya Chaturvedi - aditya.chaturvedi@emory.edu ()
Ramayana in ‘Mother’s Language’: Translation and Raj Dharbanga

Presenter 4
Tarinee Awasthi - ta358@cornell.edu (Cornell University)
Textual Initiation in Śrīvidyā:The Terms of Translation


Author Meets Critics: Brannon Ingram's Revival From Below (2018) and SherAli Tareen's Defending Muhammad in Modernity (2019)
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Conference Room 2
Floor: Floor 2

J. Barton Scott - barton.scott@utoronto.ca

I am proposing an “Authors meet Critics” roundtable panel about two major new monographs on modern South Asian Islam: Brannon Ingram’s Revival from Below: The Deoband Movement and Global Islam (University of California, 2018) and SherAli Tareen’s Defending Muhammad in Modernity (Notre Dame, 2019). Ingram and Tareen build on classic studies of these topics (Metcalf 1982; Sanyal 1996) by bringing Deoband and modern Islam into closer conversation with the “new” intellectual history of South Asia, as well as critical-theoretical scholarship in religious studies. The roundtable takes these two books as a jumping off point for thinking about the bumper crop of recent scholarship on modern South Asian Islam (e.g. Qasmi 2011; Jones 2011; Purohit 2012; Stephens 2018) and modern religion more generally. Taken together, these monographs substantially reframe how we understand the history of Deoband. Ingram’s Revival from Below is the first book to conduct a detailed intellectual history of the most prolific and influential South Asian Muslim reform movement and seminary, the Deoband School, from a transnational perspective. Ingram traces the multiple lives of Deobandi reformist discourses from North India to South Africa, while introducing readers to a range of new texts and actors that have contributed to Deoband’s contemporary global stature. Tareen’s Defending Muhammad in Modernity on the other hand offers the first comprehensive study of what is arguably the most long-running and contentious disagreement in South Asian Islam: the Barelvī-Deobandī polemic. Through the close reading of a range of previously unexplored Arabic, Persian, and Urdu texts, Tareen argues that this polemic was animated by competing political theologies that articulated contrasting visions of the relationship among divine sovereignty, prophetic charisma, and everyday life. Commentators, from multiple disciplinary perspectives, will probe key interventions of these books in the study of South Asia and Islam.


Presenter 1
Brannon Ingram - brannon.ingram@northwestern.edu (Northwestern University)
Presenter 2
SherAli Tareen - sherali.tareen@fandm.edu (Franklin & Marshall College)
Presenter 3
Marcia K. Hermansen - mherman@luc.edu
Presenter 4
David Gilmartin - gilmarti@ncsu.edu
Presenter 5
Megan Adamson Sijapati - msijapat@gettysburg.edu (Gettysburg College)

Interactions across the Indian Ocean World
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Conference Room 3
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Usman Hamid - usman.hamid@mail.utoronto.ca (Hamilton College)

Scholarship has often organized the study of the premodern world according to distinct nation-state histories that has obscured interactions amongst these seemingly discrete regions. Recent scholarship has focused attention on dynamics of interactions across the Indian Ocean World that moves away from such discrete nation-state histories. However, while a focus on the Indian Ocean has illuminated connections across nation-states, complexities in interactions amongst local, multi-lingual communities have often been obscured. This panel brings together scholars who think through convergences as well as divergences across the Indian Ocean world through themes that include translation, language use, material practices, and techniques of rule. We will examine how discourses and practices were transformed as they travelled across regions and acquired new expressions that were articulated precisely through particularities of place. Posing this question brings into view spheres of interaction across ocean space that the panelists will study as much in their particularity as in their connections to cosmopolitan networks of knowledge. Ultimately the papers in this panel explore how considering the history of different regions as part of the Indian Ocean world in tandem deepens our understanding of the premodern past.


Presenter 1
Mekhola Gomes - mekhola.gomes@gmail.com (University of Toronto Mississauga)
Inscribing Power: Copper-plate records in early South and Southeast Asian Indian Ocean Worlds.

Presenter 2
Erum Hadi - gekhan@yahoo.com ()
Designed by Diversity: The Syncretic Cultural History of Gujarati Textiles

Presenter 3
Jyoti Balachandran - jzb461@psu.edu ()
Nodes of Circulation and Identity Formation in the Early Modern Indian Ocean World

Presenter 4
Usman Hamid - usman.hamid@mail.utoronto.ca (Hamilton College)
Transmitting Tradition: Islamic Knowledge Systems in the Early Modern Indian Ocean World


The Nation and the Identities in Literatures from Nepal
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Conference Room 4
Floor: Floor 2

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

The papers in this panel will explore how the literatures written and produced in Nepali and Nepal Bhasha invite us to rethink the nation and reimagine the identities. We aim to look at the questions of language, caste and class, disability and gender, violence and space in their intersections with the identity and the nation. Continuing the debates that we started in the Annual Conference on South Asia in Madison in 2018 and the Himalayan Studies Conference in 2017, this panel adds more to the discussion on the politico-cultural interpretations of the literatures produced in Nepal. We ask how aesthetic imagination makes, unmakes, or remakes the idea of the nation and the forms of belonging. How do writers engage with Nepal’s embattled histories, attend to its present-day discontents, and imagine new political futures? How does literature shape, consolidate, or contest identities? How have the creative writers represented, ac/claimed, and ironized the nation-state and the self? The panel proposes to take the nation and language as a method for unpacking the imagined space and inscribed geography. The topics may include but are not limited to the forms and/or genres of literature; the nation and the self; identity formation; caste, gender, and class; law, violence, and space; disability; literature in translation.


Presenter 1
Pushpa Acharya - pushpa.acharya@mail.utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
The State and the National Space in Girish Ballav Joshi’s Bir Charitra

Presenter 2
Kritish Rajbhandari - krajbhan@reed.edu (Reed College)
Language Consciousness and Durga Lal’s Children’s Poems

Presenter 3
Khem Guragain - khemg@yorku.ca (York University)
Annihilation of Caste or Prolitarianisation?: Aahuti in the Making of Nepali Dalit Literature

Presenter 4
Tulasi Prasad Acharya - tacharya@my.fau.edu ()
Disability and Sexuality: Nepali Disabled Women Writers and Their Quest for the Self


The Aesthetics and Atmospheres of Construction in Pakistan
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Conference Room 5
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Ammara Maqsood - a.maqsood@ucl.ac.uk (University College London)

From the Mohmand and Diamer-Bhasha Dams – crowdfunded in part by the charitable contributions of Pakistanis at home and abroad – to the China-financed development of the deep-sea port of Gwadar, the visibilities and possibilities of construction animate politics and culture in contemporary Pakistan. Hydropower, transport and energy infrastructures can attract controversy and critique, tied up as they often are with processes of displacement and corruption, but they might also manifest as subjects of popular enthusiasm, allied with promises of prosperity, stability and a future end to scarcity. While they may create the conditions of ambience, infrastructures in Pakistan are not invisible but rather become efficacious within a regime of visibility. Their future arrival is signalled by the congregation of materials, tools, dust and labourers, crowding urban areas, interrupting rural vistas, or imposing the boundary between land and sea. How does such ubiquitous evidence of construction inflect or disrupt spaces of experience and horizons of expectation in Pakistan? What can be learned by mapping these lived environments in flux, by interrogating the labour of constructing the new or the frustrated attempts to preserve the old? How might we understand local modes of exploring, challenging and knowing built environments, sensitive to varying forms of mobility and the politics of access, security and obstruction? This panel reflects on the aesthetics and atmospheres of construction in Pakistan. In doing so, it aims to expand the terms of debate that typically characterise such projects of building and making - whether this is the national economic language of development or the much-interrogated geopolitics of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) - to consider instead questions of visibility, sensuality, and symbolic landscapes as they intersect with shifting structures of power and profit in Pakistan’s political present.


Presenter 1
Nishat Awan - n.awan@gold.ac.uk ()
Aesthetics of Infrastructural Development in Gwadar

Presenter 2
Yaminay Chaudhri - yaminay@gmail.com (self employed artist)
That on which our houses stand, yours and mine — architectures of aspiration in Karachi

Presenter 3
Timothy Cooper - timothy.cooper.16@ucl.ac.uk (University College London)
The Possibilities of Building Again: “New Heritage” in Lahore

Presenter 4
Chris Moffat - c.moffat@qmul.ac.uk (Queen Mary University of London)
Thinking with Unfinished Buildings: Between Construction and Ruination in Lahore


Social and Cultural Critique in Early Modern Bhakti
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
David Lorenzen - lorenzen@colmex.mx (El Colegio de Mexico)

The presentations in this panel will discuss the social and cultural critiques found in the texts of several important religious authors from North India and Maharashtra in the early modern period. These authors include the late sixteenth-century Nath Panth author Prithinath; the early seventeenth-century Dadu Panthi poet, story teller, and biographer Jan Gopal; the eighteenth-century Christian missionary Giuseppe Maria da Gargnano; and the eighteenth-century Marathi poets Mahipati Taharabadkar and Moropant Paradkar. The papers of Rohini Shukla and Purushottam Agrawal will focus on the role of women’s role in the religious and social communities of Maharashtra and Rajasthan respectively. The issues include the place of women poets and singers and the legitimacy of child marriage. The paper of Monika Horstmann will discuss the critique by the Nath poet Prithinath of Hathayoga and related religious movements. The paper of David Lorenzen will compare the social critiques embodied in the Bhagavata-purana, in retellings of Bhagavata stories by Jan Gopal (ca. 1620), and a Christian missionary (1751). All the papers demonstrate the vibrancy of social and religious debate among the religious intellectuals of this period.


Presenter 1
David Lorenzen - lorenzen@colmex.mx (El Colegio de Mexico)
Rival Theodicies in Early Modern North India

Presenter 2
Purushottam Agrawal - purushottam53@gmail.com (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
Jan Gopal's Early Modern Critique of Child Marriage

Presenter 3
Rohini Shukla - rohini.shukla@gmail.com ()
When Krishna Writes Jani's Songs: Gendered Authorship in Early Modern Maharashtra


The Sex of History, or Object/Matters
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Capitol Ballroom B
Floor: Floor 2

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

How do we constitute sex as an object of historical research in South Asia? Even as scholars of queer/sexuality studies argue for the centrality of sex within the formation of pre-colonial, colonial and transnational histories of South Asia, there is considerable debate around the vernaculars, temporalities and spatialities that make “sex” intelligible as object and archive. Two questions are central here: What makes something an exemplar of histories of sex and sexuality, adequate to the challenge of its representation and study? Why does the writing of a history of sexuality in South Asia take particular narrative forms and genres, and what troubles such habits of reading? From a history of musafir sex within the border regions of India and Pakistan, to an interrogation of animating concepts and temporalities founding imaginaries of sex and nation, individual panelists take on these questions and more as they explore the perils and pleasures of crafting histories of sexuality with myriad disciplinary and geopolitical landscapes in South Asia.


Presenter 1
Ishita Pande - pande@queensu.ca (Queen's University )
Law’s Temporality as History’s Sex

Presenter 2
Anjali Arondekar - aarondek@ucsc.edu (UCSC)
Musafir Sex as Queer Historiography: An Indian in Pakistan

Presenter 3
Durba Mitra - dmitra@fas.harvard.edu ()
Surplus Woman: Female Sexuality and the Study of Indian Society

Presenter 4
Geeta Patel - ghp5v@virginia.edu (University of Virginia)
History as Translation: Miraji's Sexed Archive


Cinematic Maps: Exploring New Histories of India’s Filmic Spaces
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: Wisconsin Ballroom
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Kartik Nair - kartiknair@gmail.com (Temple University)

In cinema studies, the spatial turn has taken two forms. Film historians use ethnographic and archival research to situate moving images in material sites and networks of production, exhibition, and circulation. Film theorists draw on models of embodied perception to consider phenomenological and formal imaginaries produced by onscreen images. This panel reconciles and advances these approaches in history and theory by tracking film’s materiality alongside sensory geographies of onscreen spaces. Essaying a “spatial” film historiography, Jaikumar maps the regime of government-issued licenses regulating film stock consumption in post-Independence India. Making explicit the state’s spatial control over an industry, Jaikumar draws out the socialites arising around infrastructural elements to reveal the circumstances under which filmmakers created their spatial aesthetics. Through the scratches, static and errors marking a low-budget Hindi horror film, Nair explores physical infrastructures of film production, regulation, and distribution as they become fleetingly visible in the image. Paying attention to their virtual remains, Nair argues, allows us to dis-embed historical sites of film labor embedded inside fictional spaces. While noting that disciplinary discourses about crime and poverty shape popular cinema’s fascination with urban squatter settlements, Mazumdar argues that the ‘cinematic slum’ in films like 'Gully Boy', 'Kaala' and 'Slumdog Millionaire' challenges these panoptic discourses of power with an affective ‘over-spill’ that insists on embodied experience. Focusing on the figure of the crowd in recent documentaries and fiction films that speculate about the future of India amidst environmental crisis and infrastructural violence, Mukherjee argues that these films summon the crowd as emblematic of energy demand and simultaneously as masses threatened by radioactive exposure from a nuclear apocalypse. Thus unsettling conceptions of cinematic space, this panel charts sites of film control and their affective residues onscreen while unearthing traces of lived bodies and crowds absorbed into spectacular cinematic spaces.


Presenter 1
Priya Jaikumar - pjaikumar@cinema.usc.edu (University of Southern California)
Film Licenses and the Making of Sociospatial Realms

Presenter 2
Kartik Nair - kartiknair@gmail.com (Temple University)
Cinemateriality: The Infrastructural Experience of Film

Presenter 3
Ranjani Mazumdar - ranjani.mazumdar@gmail.com (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
The Bombay Slum: Aerial Views and Embodied Memories

Presenter 4
Rahul Mukherjee - mrahul@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
Speculative Mediations: Crowd, City, and Infrastructural Violence


Poison and Toxicity in Modern South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: University A/B
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Mitra Sharafi - mitra.sharafi@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

This panel brings together historians and anthropologists working on poison and toxicity in India and Sri Lanka from the nineteenth century to the present. Speakers will explore the many lives of poison in late colonial India (Projit Mukharji, Mitra Sharafi) and in Sri Lankan agro-industrial and geological contexts today (Tom Widger, Upul Wickramasinghe). Through the study of substances from arsenic to marking nut and potassium cyanide to glyphosate (Roundup), panelists will reveal the ways the toxic has become intertwined with conceptions of opportunity, profit, consumerism, colonialism, crime, deception, pollution, environment, health, hazard, modernity, and sovereignty. Panelists will draw upon a diverse body of sources and methods, moving from archival research (Sharafi, Mukharji) and detective fiction (Mukharji) to ethnography (Widger, Wickramasinghe), critical readings of policy and activist texts (Widger), and citizen science research (Wickramasinghe). They will address the connection between poison, opportunity and risk in the “chemical everyday” (Mukharji); the detection of poison and falsity in forensic science (Sharafi); and causation narratives in relation to human and environmental health (Widger, Wickramasinghe). The comparative aspect of the panel entails not only points of connection and contrast between India and Sri Lanka, but also an exploration of Sri Lankan and EU discourses about poison and the body, both human and politic (Widger).


Presenter 1
Projit Bihari Mukharji - mukharji@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
Death by Chemistry: The Chemical Everyday and Colonial Cultures of Poisoning, British India, c.1857-1918

Presenter 2
Mitra Sharafi - mitra.sharafi@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Poison and Falsity in Indian Forensics

Presenter 3
Tom Widger - tom.widger@durham.ac.uk ()
Banning Glyphosate: Poisons, Sovereignties, and Crisis States in Sri Lanka and Europe

Presenter 4
Upul Wickramasinghe - upul.k.wickramasinghe@durham.ac.uk ()
Multiple toxicological traditions around CKDu and water: an ethnographic study of an affected community in rural Sri Lanka


South Asian Materialities: Materializing urban change in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 6: Saturday, 10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room: University C/D
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Siddharth Menon - sidmen@gmail.com

Over the last two decades, scholars in the humanities and social sciences have increasingly attended to the emergence of new patterns of social life by studying everyday nonhuman things like urban water supply systems (Bjorkman, 2015), roads and canals (Harvey & Knox, 2015), media technologies (Larkin, 2008), and multispecies entanglements (Govindrajan, 2018) This approach has been instrumental in (re)orienting our attention to the vitality of quotidian things (Bennet, 2010) and their agency in creating new social patterns of living. While some of the new materialist scholarship has been criticized for its lack of theorization of power, other scholars have highlighted the relational agency of nonhuman actors through an assemblage framework (Ranganathan, 2015) and an actor-network framework (Sundberg, 2011). This panel builds on this recent material/posthuman turn in the humanities and social sciences to explore situated studies of nonhuman agency in South Asia and their complicity in creating new urban subjectivities and its contested politics. Building on some of the above work, the panel seeks to think with and through the nonhuman actor to explore how different kinds of socialities are created, constituted and produced. Through case studies exploring the materiality of concrete, sand, daily wage labor, and animals in Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai, this panel aims to ground and materialize meta-narratives of urbanization and change in South Asia drawing on scholarship from Geography, Anthropology, History, Architecture, and Urban Studies.


Presenter 1
Rachel Sturman - rsturman@bowdoin.edu (Bowdoin College)
Shifting Sands: On Matter and Time in Contemporary Mumbai

Presenter 2
Adam Sargent - adam.sargent@northwestern.edu ()
“If Not then How Would Delhi be Built?”: The Material Attunements of Urban Development

Presenter 3
Ned Dostaler - ned.dostaler@gmail.com ()
City of Sand: Urban Ecologies and Uncertain Life in Chennai

Presenter 4
Thomas Oommen - thomas_oommen@berkeley.edu ()
Monkeying with New Delhi: Notes towards a Post Human, Post Natural Urban History


Gender, Language and Conflict at Work: New Books on Post-war Sri Lanka
Round Table

Location

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

Daniel Bass - dmb46@cornell.edu (Cornell University)

This roundtable will discuss two ethnographies published in 2019, Tea and Solidarity: Tamil Women and Work in Postwar Sri Lanka by Mythri Jegathesan and The Struggle for a Multilingual Future: Tamil-speaking Youth and Education during Sri Lanka’s Civil War by Christina Davis. Both books examine how Tamil-speaking women and girls navigate shifting social, political, linguistic and economic realities in postwar Sri Lanka. Jegathesan’s book focuses on Tamil women on Sri Lanka's South-Central tea plantations. She examines their migrations to Colombo or the Middle East against the backdrop of the tea industry's agro-economic crisis and traces their place in transnational and postwar struggles for dignified forms of work. Expanding anthropological understandings of dispossession and valuation, the book draws attention to the political significance of gender as a feature of investment and place-making in Sri Lanka and South Asia. Davis’s book examines how national trilingual policies interact with linguistic, ethnic, religious, and class differences in Kandy’s schools, homes, buses, and streets. She illustrates how the reinforcing of ethnicity-based models of identity in and outside schools imperils the efficacy of these reforms. Contrary to the ideologies undergirding these policies, ethnic minority youth do not view themselves integrated into a united Kandy or wider Sri Lanka but associate the city with the potential for upward social mobility. These two books analyze the intersections of gender, class, work, ethnicity, language and conflict, highlighting the agency, artistry and actions of minority communities in navigating the complex social and economic realities of post-war Sri Lanka. Together, these books, and the roundtable discussion of them, bring to the forefront stories and perspectives that force academics to recalibrate understandings of the persistence of Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict, and the ways that girls and women position themselves in relation to political, social and economic changes throughout South Asia.


Presenter 1
Dennis McGilvray - dennis.mcgilvray@colorado.edu (University of Colorado, Boulder)
Presenter 2
Geeta Patel - ghp5v@virginia.edu (University of Virginia)
Presenter 3
Daniel Bass - dmb46@cornell.edu (Cornell University)
Presenter 4
Mythri Jegathesan - mjegathesan@scu.edu (Santa Clara University)
Presenter 5
Christina Davis - c-davis@wiu.edu (Western Illinois University)

Transitioning towards a Human Rights Framework in Pakistan?
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Christophe Jaffrelot - jaffrelot.schlegel@orange.fr

At the moment when Imran Khan’s political party was invited to form a government following the July 2018 elections, even his detractors were enthusiastic about the possibilities for some real change in Pakistan. His central campaign theme had been to move towards greater transparency, eliminate corruption and, by presumption, engage with a rights-based framework. That the military was supportive of the PTI actually lends to its strength to follow through on this platform. The papers on this panel explore different aspects of how a rights-based framework may or may not be emerging and affecting state and society in Pakistan.


Presenter 1
Aqil Shah - aqil.shah@ou.edu (University of Oklahoma)
Pakistan’s Hybrid Regime and Human Rights

Presenter 2
Anita Weiss - aweiss@uoregon.edu (University of Oregon)
Pakhtuns Gaining a Voice and Speaking Out

Presenter 3
Lubna Chaudhry - chaudhry@binghamton.edu (Binghamton University)
Are Pakistani Christians’ Experiences of Structural Violence Changing?

Presenter 4
Yaqoob Khan Bangash - yaqoob.bangash@gmail.com (Information Technology University)
"Upholding the Rule of Law? Rights and the Legal System in Pakistan”


Sounding Śaivism: Tamil Music, Modernity, and Neo-Śaivism in Twentieth-Century South India
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Sascha Ebeling - ebeling@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)

This panel examines the ways the politics of modern Tamil Śaivism are vivified and animated through modes of performance and performativity in twentieth-century Tamil-speaking South India. The papers contend that the field of cultural production mediated by the dual forces of neo-Śaivism and the Dravidian movement in twentieth century Tamilnadu enables powerful discursive and performative reinterpretations of the past on the one hand, and the shaping of distinctly new medial forms and modes of selfhood on the other. Indira Peterson’s paper draws upon the figure of Dharmapuram Swaminathan (1923-2009), a singer of Tamil Śaiva hymns (ōtuvār) who develops a massively popular style of singing that carves a new and deeply charismatic sonic and social space for the Tamil Śaiva poetic canon in the twentieth century. She juxtaposes Swaminathan’s rise to fame with the development of institutions such as the Tamiḻ Icai Caṅkam and the popularity and circulation of devotional music through new forms of mass media, both of which were economically and politically enabling for figures like him. Davesh Soneji’s paper examines the complex history of the interface between songs in the Islamic meyññāṉa kīrttaṉai (“mystical songs”) genre and the world of Saiva Tamil devotional poetry from the 18th-20th centuries. He proposes that religious pluralism in the philosophy and practice of rāga-based music was flattened by the rescripting of music history in the early decades of the twentieth century. Praveen Vijayakumar examines the life and work of the first-ever female head of a Śaiva monastery, Cāyīmātā Civa Printātevī (1927-1998) – a former devadāsī performer and niece of the social reformer Muthulakshmi Reddy – who became a major voice for transnational Tamil Śaivism. Taken together, the papers illustrate how performance, notions of history, authority, and power are deeply intertwined in the life of Tamil neo-Śaivism in the twentieth century.


Presenter 1
Indira Peterson - indira.p19@gmail.com (Mount Holyoke College)
Performing Tamil Śaiva Selfhood: The Ōtuvār Singer of Hymns in Modern Tamilnadu

Presenter 2
Davesh Soneji - dsoneji@upenn.edu ()
Sound Beyond “Syncretism”: The Modern Musical Interface between Tamil Islam and Śaivism

Presenter 3
Praveen Vijayakumar - vpraveen@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
From Tamil Songs to Tamil Sermons: The Life of Cāyīmātā Civa Printātevī (1927-1998)


Postcards: Unique and Overlooked Sources of Historical Material and Insights
Panel Group

Location

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

Discussant / Chair
Catharine Asher - asher001@umn.edu

A range of perspectives on “artistry” are provided through these presentations: all of them work from postcard evidence of subject matter and processes, then explore dialogic interactions between this unique source and other artistic genres and their related social roles. Taken together, this approach will enable the panel to focus on the contribution of artistic production and consumption – in the process, analyzing change over time – while suggesting the evolving place of artistry in everyday life and as historical artifact. ♦ Aditi Chandra (Art History, UC Merced) proposes a double function of postcards picturing Delhi’s Islamic monuments, simultaneously providing memories for avid travelers while enabling forgetfulness of conflict-ridden experiences at the monuments. Postcards contribute, then, to a “travelers’ archive” encompassing photographs, journals, guidebooks and other material objects to shape tourists’ memories. ♦ Sandria B. Freitag (History, NC State) traces local Indian-run photography studios’ representations of their cities for two markets—European tourists/military consumers (who mailed them) and Indians (who mostly displayed them). Productions of specific studios from four Indian cities are posed in dialogue with other visual media of these urban places, including posters, photographs, and built environments, to capture the ways cities project themselves to both residents and visitors, especially at moments of change. ♦ Omar Khan (independent scholar; his definitive new book on Raj postcards served as panel inspiration) examines the interplay between scenes pictured and accompanying messages to provide access to little-represented viewpoints. He also explores the role of communications platforms, then and now. ♦ Allan Life (Emeritus, UNC-Chapel Hill English/Comparative Lit) explores South Indian dance representations for details of dancers/musicians in performance (and how those are captioned), juxtaposing these against sources such as Chola relief sculptures, implicitly enabling analysis of change over time in the social treatment of dancers.


Presenter 1
Aditi Chandra - achandra4@ucmerced.edu (University of California, Merced)
The Traveler’s Archive: Postcards as Partial Souvenirs

Presenter 2
Sandria B Freitag - sbfreita@ncsu.edu (NC State University)
Picturing Place: Visualizing a City’s Identity

Presenter 3
Omar Khan - omar@paperjewels.org (Paper Jewels)
Once Upon a Postcard

Presenter 4
Allan Life - arlife@email.unc.edu (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill )
South Indian dance in picture postcards from the Raj: Kumbakonam Balamani, Panchapakesa Nattuvanar, and their fellow artists


The moral state: conceiving corruption in colonial and postcolonial South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Assembly Room
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant / Chair
Anand Yang - aay@uw.edu (University of Washington)

This panel examines the various dimensions of bureaucratic 'corruption' and 'malfeasance' in colonial and postcolonial South Asia. The almost axiomatic assumptions see 'corruption' as abuse of public office for private gain. This panel seeks to interrogate this presumption by demonstrating how the very discourse of corruption continues to be shaped by the Western ideals of state-formation. The panel contends that it is not entirely clear what “corruption” means and the term itself refers to a variety of meanings and various phenomena. This interdisciplinary panel is interested in instances of governmental dysfunction and breakdown. We are particularly interested in querying the discourse on corruption as an example of natural breakdown of South Asian states. Does corruption reflect the failure of South Asian states to keep up with the canonical conditions of modern states — its continued historical belatedness? Or, is corruption in South Asia also a reference to the incommensurability of its social institutions, an index of the polyvalence of its political infrastructure that have a long genealogy in colonial narratives of moral and territorial homogeneity? Further, how does one understand modern politics without paying heed to the various forms and modes in which patronage mutates? The broader question we seek to answer is how can one think of a colonial/postcolonial state without the cultural contestations, the political dysfunctions, and the moral breach — both internal and external — that shape it? The papers take various approaches to this theme, looking at how corruption remains at once the secret as well as the public core of state imaginaries in South Asia. The panel seeks to offer new, refreshing interpretations of how corruption in both colonial and postcolonial South Asia has been a continually-conceived idea with shifting definitions and, above all, shaped by regional and local contexts.


Presenter 1
Anubha Anushree - anubha1@stanford.edu (Stanford University)
The corrupt or the corruptible? Corruption in colonial South Asia

Presenter 2
Melissa Turoff - meturoff@gmail.com (UC Berkeley)
'Throwing Pearls before Swine': The Strange and Long Life of Buchanan's Bengal Survey.

Presenter 3
Feisal Khan - khan@hws.edu (Hobart and William Smith Colleges)
Unable to Stem the Rot: The Beginning of Systemic Corruption in Pakistan, 1947 - 1958

Presenter 4
Nicholas Wilson - nicholas.wilson@stonybrook.edu (Stony Brook University)
Modernity’s Corruption: The Emergence of a Modern Category within the English East India Trading


Revisiting the Archaeology of Medieval South Asia 2: Material culture and premodern concepts
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Caucus Room
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant / Chair
Anne Casile - anne.casile@ird.fr (IRD (French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development))

Over the past two decades historians have come to view the medieval and early modern phases of South Asian history as a period when spatial and material transformations are of heightened interest. In considering new kinds of Islamic spaces or the relationships between power, social memory, and architecture, there is broad agreement amidst historians that changes in the material determinants of South Asian lives are epochally significant. Yet, the historical narratives, concepts and presuppositions that frame the period remain rooted in an enduring primacy of textual historical traces over archaeologies which privilege artifacts, assemblages and landscapes. Over the last forty years archaeological fieldwork in several different parts of South Asia has generated considerable new data and provided analyses of ill-understood sites, regions and polities. Beyond supplementing the epigraphic, art-historical and monumental datasets of these periods, the growing archaeology of the medieval poses new questions to well established historiographic themes. This panel aims to provide a forum to bring historical and archaeological approaches to the medieval into closer conversation. Each paper seeks to engage with historiographical assumptions and presents arguments from archaeological data which offer pause, and occasions for rethinking historical accounts of medieval social organization, historical process, and cultural life. Collectively, the papers in this panel aim to address enduring historical thematics such as: landscapes and the question of society and nature; agrarian expansion and its determinants; cultural conceptions of agrarian value; historical periodization as revisited from the immanence of artifactual temporality; religious orthodoxy and concepts of tradition; transitions to the early medieval and early modern; conversion to Islam and its attendant material processes. The panel discussant (to be finalized), a historian, will respond to these papers with the aim of fostering mutually productive inter-disciplinary conversations between these fields and their potentials for the reinterpretation of the medieval.


Presenter 1
Mannat Johal - mannatjohal@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
Matter of time: Ceramics and historicity in medieval south India

Presenter 2
Hemanth Kadambi - hemanth.kadambi@snu.edu.in (Shiv Nadar University)
Pastoralism, archaeology and religion in the southern Deccan: contextual understanding of Early Chalukya landscapes (c. 550-750 CE).

Presenter 3
Brian Wilson - bcwilson677@gmail.com (Independent scholar)
The City as Facade: Recognizing enduring forms of urbanism in the early modern Konkan

Presenter 4
MUDIT TRIVEDI - mudit@uchicago.edu (University of Chicago)
The Magnetism of Error: Towards an Archaeology of the Qibla


Minoritarian Accounts: Political narratives, moral artistries and refracted solidarities of digital South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Senate Room A
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant / Chair
Pallavi Rao - raop@indiana.edu (Indiana University, Bloomington)

Over the last decade, social media has emerged as a key site for the construction and performance of identities, serving as an arena that is reshaping both communities and conflicts. In the case of South Asia, scholars have focused on the digitally mediated agency of ‘Internet Hindus’ and explicated the majoritarian politics of Hindu nationalism in the subcontinent. More recently, violence against the Rohingyas in the Rakhine state has been linked to the normalization of Buddhist majoritarianism online in Myanmar. This panel attempts to widen the field of inquiry by addressing digital mediations of minoritarian belonging articulated through religious, regional, subnational and diasporic networks. In doing so, the authors examine the intermedial, the discursive, the interventionist and the ethical scope of such online practices. What do these minoritarian digital formations reveal about hegemonic projects of nationalism, be it South Asia or its diaspora? Kramer examines the online communication of the reformist Islamic organization Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and argues that their online-ethics is a continuation of global discourses on Islamic media ethics. Investigating the political narratives of the celebrity personas of hijabi social media influencers in Britain, Siddique demonstrates how these fashionable personas perform crucial political functions for the racialized immigrants constituting the diasporic community. Mohan critically evaluates the counterpublics of #DravidaNadu to comprehend the discursive framing of a stated opposition to a Hindu - Hindi nationalist hegemony, situating it in relation to long-standing debates about sedition and regional self-determination. Finally, Wolock examines the tensions in the movement for a coalitional South Asian American identity through a series of digital media interventions that grapple with the sanitizing or erasure of caste discrimination. Combining ethnographic methods and close readings of online rhetoric and artistry, this panel examines minoritarian coalescing across multiple contexts in the digital sphere.


Presenter 1
Max Kramer - maxarnekramer@yahoo.de (Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich)
Online Ethics and the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind

Presenter 2
Salma Siddique - salmasid9@gmail.com (Ludwig Maximilians-Universität, Munich)
The Importance of Being Modest: Social Influencers of the British Indian Diaspora

Presenter 3
Sriram Mohan - sriramm@umich.edu (University of Michigan)
Dreaming of #DravidaNadu: Subnationalism and Social Media in South India

Presenter 4
Lia Wolock - wolock@uwm.edu (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Whose South Asian America?: Debating Diasporic Identity through Digital Media Activism


The Political Economy of Development in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Senate Room B
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant / Chair
Pavithra Suryanarayan - pavithra.suri@gmail.com

This panel brings together early career scholars working on the intersection between political and economic development in South Asia. The set of papers addresses the impacts of shifting agricultural technologies on inequality and crime during the Green Revolution, social contestation over the expansion of the colonial-era franchise, the effects of ethno-religious rioting on local financial investments during economic liberalization, and the structure and determinants of politician selection in a post-conflict democracy. Theory and evidence derive from detailed national and subnational studies of India and Nepal. Methodologically, the papers draw on diverse tools to arrive at their conclusions. All papers make use of rich quantitative and qualitative data---much of it newly gathered and collated. The analyses seek to answer questions of broad social scientific interest, while paying close attention to mechanisms as well as problems of causal inference. Taken together, the panel promises to shed light on how South Asian democracy has evolved, both historically and in more recent years, and the struggles that have taken place along the path of its emergence---as the “losers” from economic and political reforms have fought back, and as strategic political actors have responded to the incentives created by these changing landscapes.


Presenter 1
Saad Gulzar - gulzar@stanford.edu ()
How Does Civil Conflict Affect Political Selection? Evidence from Nepal’s Maoist Revolution

Presenter 2
Pavithra Suryanarayan - pavithra.suri@gmail.com ()
The Upper-Status Backlash: Legislation, Mobilization and Voting Behavior in the Madras and Bombay 1917-1920

Presenter 3
Aditya Dasgupta - adasgupta04@gmail.com ()
Weapons of the Weak: The Violent Consequences of Biased Technological Change

Presenter 4
Gareth Nellis - garethnellis@gmail.com (University of California, San Diego)
Religious riots, electoral expectations, and stock market performance in India


Negotiating language, identity, and power in the Punjabi belt
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 1
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Gwendolyn Kirk - gskirk@wisc.edu (Lahore University of Management Sciences)

Although one of the most widely-spoken languages in South Asia and among its diaspora, Punjabi resists definition; currently speakers and scholars do not share a consensus as to where it begins and ends, or how many varieties it might have. Rather than attempting to crystallize Punjabi as a discrete entity, this panel takes Punjabi as a broad linguistic area, choosing to highlight the contingency and contested nature of the ideologies that both underpin and undermine it. Drawing from linguistics and linguistic anthropology, the papers in this panel deal with issues of language as they relate to identity, representation, social formations, and cultural production in this region. Research in this linguistic area has often been confounded and complicated by its political history, not least by the fact that it straddles the border between India and Pakistan. With the exception of standard Punjabi in the Indian state of Punjab, most varieties of Punjabi and closely related languages are routinely excluded from domains of power such as government, education, and print media. This panel takes a variety of methodological approaches to a series of key questions as to how speakers in this region—on both sides of the border—negotiate these linguistic complexities. What are the impacts of contact with Urdu, Hindi, and other languages or language varieties, and what anxieties accompany this contact? What role do language and language ideologies play in performing particular kinds of identities in this region? How do these identity formations play out in cultural or political fields? And finally, how can we contextualize these issues both in the region’s histories of colonialism and migration as well as current social and political shifts?


Presenter 1
Sarah Beckham - sbeckham@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin)
Phonological Features of Language Shift in Pakistani Punjabi

Presenter 2
Tej Bhatia - tkbhatia@syr.edu (Syracuse University)
Punjabi in Emotional Branding Discourse

Presenter 3
Hannah Carlan - hannahcarlan@ucla.edu (University of California Los Angeles)
(De)Politicizing Language Shift and/as Rural Development in India’s Western Himalayas

Presenter 4
Gwendolyn Kirk - gskirk@wisc.edu (Lahore University of Management Sciences)
Filmi Punjabi: Dialect Leveling and the Ideal Cinematic Punjab


The Self in Regard: Autobiography and the Making of Indian History
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 2
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Mou Banerjee - mbanerj@clemson.edu (Clemson University)

The process of self-making in the early-modern and modern world, in Stephen Greenblatt’s formulation, was also a conscious fashioning of that immutable and unique Self through a “manipulable, artful process.” This process was dependent on the exercise of memory and resulted in the creation of a genre of confessional literature, which focused on the individual and their experiences. In the process, self-fashioning and self-making uneasily mapped onto each other, in a break with the tradition of attributing paramount importance to collective identity. In early modern South Asia, these processes could play out subtly and in unexpected places, such as Mughal albums that memorialized patron interactions, or literary anecdotes of botanical observation and gardening expertise that serve as performances of personal knowledge and sophistication. By the nineteenth century, they were more overt, as evident in self(!)-consciously literary explorations of the individual Self, navigating newly established categories of the conjugal and the illicit, the private and the public, the traditional and the modern. With ‘thundering audacity’, for the first time, the articulation of a female-Self, claiming a life that was worth performing in words, became an important site of the creation and recordation of modern gendered subjectivity. This panel will focus on the varied spaces, formations and languages of such manipulations of the Self and explore the transgressive nature of such self-fashioning that ultimately fostered new debates about the conditions of Indian modernity, and continues to shape new directions in South-Asian historiography.


Presenter 1
Mou Banerjee - mbanerj@clemson.edu (Clemson University)
“What is my work in this world?”: Autobiography, Transgression and the Self-Fashioning of Bengali Women, 1876-1920

Presenter 2
Nicolas Roth - njroth@fas.harvard.edu (Harvard University)
I Have Not Visited Kashmir, Yet I Have Seen Saffron Bloom: Self-Fashioning Through Horticultural Anecdotes in Eighteenth-Century Indo-Persian

Presenter 3
Bronwen Gulkis - bgulkis@fas.harvard.edu (Harvard University)
“This Precious Album Given to my Dearest Friend”: on self-fashioning and subjectivity in the Mughal album

Presenter 4
Thomas Newbold - newboldjthomas@gmail.com (University of Chicago)
“Āmi ke?”: Selfhood and the challenge of Autobiographical writing in the Bengal Renaissance


Forgotten Pasts, Imagined Futures: Environment, development, and governance in the Sundarbans
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 3
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Aditya Ghosh - adityo.ghosh@gmail.com (University of Heidelberg )

Over the past four decades, the Sundarbans islands of India and Bangladesh have undergone fundamental spatial transformations related to environmental conservation agendas, infrastructure and development initiatives, and the discursive and material effects of climate change. This panel approaches these shifts through the lens of temporality and human/non-human relationality. In particular, the different papers address the role that imaginaries of past and present play in broader spatial transformations, with particular attention to governance, marginality, and justice. How do the past and memory impinge on the political terrain of the present? Which visions of the past and future are incorporated into contemporary regimes of environment governance and risk management, and which are neglected or forgotten? How do Sundarbans islanders navigate developmental and environmental regimes of governance on the one hand, and social and environmental precarity on the other? The papers approach these questions in different ways. Amites Mukhopadhyay explores histories of violence in the region through attention to the massacre of refugees at Marichjhanpi, and how this fraught history features in current invocations of conservation and the Sundarbans as a “heritage” space. Raka Sen’s work on the lingering effects of cyclone Aila, which continues to differentially impact women a decade later, demonstrates the everyday ways in which the inequities of the past play out at present. Meanwhile, Aditya Ghosh’s work on risk governance approaches disaster from a different perspective, attending to the ways in which the state seeks to manage the floods, cyclones, storm surges and erosions associated with future climate change impacts, and in so doing in fact produces new “riskscapes.” Finally, Silvia Pergetti’s paper on Sundarbans islanders’ everyday engagements with renewable energy technologies considers how new infrastructures generate novel imaginaries and hopes for the future.


Presenter 1
Amites Mukhopadhyay - amitesmukhopadhyay@gmail.com (Jadavpur University)
The Heritage Site and Its History: Remembering and Forgetting Marichjhanpi in the Indian Sundarbans

Presenter 2
Raka Sen - rakasen@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
Hungry Tides, Thirsty People : The Material and Socioeconomic Dehydration of Women in the Sundarbans

Presenter 3
Aditya Ghosh - adityo.ghosh@gmail.com (University of Heidelberg )
Unlocking risk governance and climate (in)justice nexus: A governmentality approach

Presenter 4
Silvia Pergetti - silvia.pergetti@ed.ac.uk ()
Charged: Distributed generation and imagined futures in the Sundarbans, India


The Aerial View: Imperialism and the Art of War
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 4
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Gyan Prakash - prakash@princeton.edu (Princeton)

At least since the advent of drones there has been a growing body of theoretical and historical writing on the technopolitics of the aerial view, but the history of aviation, aerial imperialism and the aerial view from a densely South Asian specificity have largely gone unexamined, even as the northwest was subjected to routine aerial bombing since the beginning of the twentieth century, and the 'tribal belt' continues to be a terrain under intense aerial surveillance and siege. Why is this 'siting' of theory and history of significance? With increasing militarization of everyday practices of seeing, and where history is made to appear as if it is repeating itself, the location of these interventions provides a necessary grounding to understanding the transformations wrought by the aerial view, and a re-grounding of politics to respond to it. This panel bringing together histories of aviation and visuality, interrogations with photography, a recalibration of distance, and a re-centering of the racialized body of war. While Joppan George examines how altitude transformed frontier governance, and Vazira Zamindar tracks the ever-disappearing civilian in the visual archive of punitive expeditions and anticolonial mobilizations, Madiha Tahir places the disappeared and disfigured bodies of tribal and ethnic Pashtuns in the digitally mediated and grounded assemblage of drone visuality, while Inderpal Grewal combines the history of aerial visuality with photographs of communal violence and the geopolitics of war.


Presenter 1
Joppan George - joppang@princeton.edu ()
Airplanes at the jirga: The vertical remove of frontier governmentality

Presenter 2
Madiha Tahir - t.madiha@gmail.com (Columbia University)
Stealing the Body: Surveillance, Terror, & Drone Visuality

Presenter 3
Inderpal Grewal - inderpal.grewal@yale.edu (Yale University)
Photojournalism and aerial visuality: Between the imperial, the communal and the geopolitical

Presenter 4
Vazira Zamindar - vfyz@bown.edu ()
On Grounding The Aerial View


Polarized Politics in Bangladesh: The Role of Elite, Ideology, and Social Movements
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 5
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Navine Murshid - nmurshid@colgate.edu (Colgate University)

Bangladeshi politics is characterized by incessant violence and a high degree of polarization. The situation has exacerbated in recent years, particularly since 2010. This panel examines the underlying causes of and the conditions for the polarization and explores the nature of the behavior of various political and social forces which have contributed to this phenomenon. The panel argues that both electoral contestation and growing ideological schisms have acted as drivers for these cleavages. In the past decades, the confrontational nature of politics has been shaped by elite-driven political processes such as highly contested elections, ideological contestations between and within political parties including the Islamist parties, and the Bangladeshi state’s responses to non-partisan social movements. Panelists will delve into new dataset on party system and voter choice, scrutinize the divisive discourses, discuss the ongoing tensions within the Islamist politics, and locate the social movements within the polarized political landscape.


Presenter 1
Tahmina Rahman - trahman1@gsu.edu (Georgia State University)
Trading pluralism for electoral stability: Origin and consequences of elite driven political polarization in Bangladesh

Presenter 2
Md Mizanur Rahman - mrahman9@ucsc.edu (University of California at Santa Cruz )
The Implications of the Ideological Contestations within Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami

Presenter 3
Fahmida Zaman - fahmida.zaman14@gmail.com (University of Delaware)
Social Movements in Bangladesh and Implications for Democracy and State Capacity

Presenter 4
Krishna Kumar Saha - krishna_du@yahoo.com ()
Understanding Local Electoral Violence through Narratives


The Primacy of Experience: Bhakti Imagery and the Ritual Performer
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Shruti Patel - sapatel@salisbury.edu

Current studies in Hinduism recognize that bhakti involves a bodily ‘doing of bhakti’ resulting from an intimate need to experience the divine on the part of the devotee. The devotee’s continual ritual creation of and performative worship towards an embodied mūrti, or other representational image, typically facilitates this desired connection. Given these circumstances, our panel asks: how does the participatory mandate of bhakti shape ritual performance, visual imagery and the persona of the devotee? Kalpesh Bhatt interprets the daily tasks of nityapūjā in the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha towards laminated guru pictures as determining the ethical character of the devotee and as contrasting with public, community-building forms of bhakti rituals, while alankāram, or the decor given ritual images, is the focus of Jodi Shaw’s investigation at Natarāja’s temple in Citamparam, where she details the ephemeral creation of personal sensory experiences of bhakti that extend beyond the visual in temple pūjās. In the second half of this panel, ritual contexts that present bhaktas themselves as revered visual images are discussed. Hanna Mannila’s research on classical kathak dance describes the devotional performances of bhakti rasa and guru bhakti as portraying dancers and dance teachers as model bhaktas that dancers and audiences alike may emulate. Devotional imitation as a ritualistic practice similarly underlies Sravani Kanamarlapudi’s historic study of Vidura from the Māhabhārata whose bhakta canonization and exemplary teachings were used to elevate the caste status of the early Swaminarayan community. By acknowledging bhakti as primarily experiential, our panel substantiates through various forms of ritual ‘artistry’ how bhaktis make the bhakta even as bhaktas make the bhakti image. Since this panel is related to the Thursday Regional Bhakti Scholars' Network (RBSN)-sponsored ‘Bhakti Visualities’ Symposium, we respectfully request that this panel be scheduled on Friday, to continue the conversation in a timely manner. 


Presenter 1
Kalpesh Bhatt - kalpesh.bhatt@mail.utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Nityapūjā, an Image-Centered Bhakti Ritual: The Ethical Formation of the Self through Devotion

Presenter 2
Jodi Shaw - jodilshaw@ufl.edu (University of Florida)
Gold, Bangles, Powders and Flowers: A Sensory Experience of Ritual Devotion at Citamparam

Presenter 3
Hanna Mannila - hanna.mannila@helsinki.fi (University of Helsinki)
Dancers as Exemplary Bhaktas: Performing Bhakti Rasa and Guru Bhakti in Contemporary Kathak

Presenter 4
Sravani Kanamarlapudi - sravanik@utexas.edu (University of Texas at Austin)
The Model Bhakta Vidura: A Study of Ritual Image Emulation for Social Mobility


Embodied Norms Past and Present - Intersectional Examinations of Women's Status from Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Capitol Ballroom B
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Carmen Britton - carmen.britton@uconn.edu (University of Connecticut)

Ad hoc 17, GWS


Presenter 1
Carmen Britton - carmen.britton@uconn.edu (University of Connecticut)
Women’s Experiences of Disability and Community-based Rehabilitation in Sri Lanka

Presenter 2
Rupali Warke - rwarke@utexas.edu (University of Texas at Austin)
When Zenana Baffled Empire: Baizabai Shinde and the opium of Central India

Presenter 3
Nimisha Thakur - nithakur@syr.edu (Syracuse University)
River Song: Caste, Indigeneity and Embodied Pollution in the Brahmaputra River Valley, India

Presenter 4
Mariam Chughtai - mariam.chughtai@lums.edu.pk (Lahore University of Management Sciences)
Entrepreneurship Education for Women in Post-Conflict Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan


EXPLORING GENDER IN TAMIL CINEMA
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Wisconsin Ballroom
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
VASUGI KAILASAM - vasugikailasam@gmail.com (University of California Berkeley )

This panel examines the place of gender in Tamil cinema and the ways in which this configuration intervenes with Tamil cinematic narration. Through papers that focus on depictions of sexuality from the time of Dravidian cinema to post-millennial Tamil cinema, this panel is interested in theorizing these modes of representation as symptomatic of the evolution of gendered identities within Tamil society. In particular, the panel will locate Tamil sexualities through the paradigms of caste-based violence, discourses of social class, heroism and ‘woman-centric' modes of narration. In doing so, the panel will examine how these socio-cultural discourses produce unique conceptions of gendered Tamil subjecthood on the celluloid screen.


Presenter 1
Swarnavel Eswaran Pillai - mswarnavel@gmail.com (Michigan State University)
Tamil Cinema and Its Tropes: Men and the Abalaippen/Forlorn Woman

Presenter 2
Perundevi Srinivasan - sperundevi@gmail.com (Sienna College)
: Discourses of Masculinity and Dialogue with Hegemonic Caste Groups: Dalit Politics in Pariyerum Perumal

Presenter 3
Amrutha Kunapulli - kunapull@msu.edu ()
Building Temples for Nayanthara: The "Women-Centric" Film of Contemporary Tamil Cinema

Presenter 4
VASUGI KAILASAM - vasugikailasam@gmail.com (University of California Berkeley )
Becoming an engineer, becoming a Tamil man: The mass hero in post-millennial Tamil cinema


Historical Trajectories and Complex Realities: Law and Politics in South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: University A/B
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Patricia Barton - p.barton@strath.ac.uk (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow)

Ad hoc 18, Law


Presenter 1
Salman Hussain - sal.huss@gmail.com (University of Massachusetts , Amherst)
Civil Disobedience and the ‘Long March’ in South Asia: The Mobilization of Emotion, Memory and Space in the ‘Lawyers’ Movement’ (2007-09) in Pakistan

Presenter 2
Sujata Chaudhary - sujata.chaudhary@mail.mcgill.ca (McGill University)
“Bureaucratization” to “Judicialization”: A Case Study of religio-legal cases in Himachal Pradesh, India

Presenter 3
Patricia Barton - p.barton@strath.ac.uk (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow)
Artistry, Symmetry, Smuggling and Law: When Scots and English Law clashed on Intoxicant Smuggling in Colonial South Asia, 1900-1920

Presenter 4
Baishakh Chakrabarti - bchak@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
Bringing Down the House: Gambling and the Art of Evasion


Cartography of Imaginations: Artistry as Space in Postcolonial South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: University C/D
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Titas De Sarkar - titasdesarkar@gmail.com (University of Chicago)

An increasing body of work exploring South Asia as a differently imagined space, has led us to move away from conventional notions of a space as a geographical landmass or a place already defined in terms of political boundaries. Scholars like Sheldon Pollock, Ronit Ricci, and William Mazzarella have emphasized the impact of language in creating spaces of belongingness and shared codes of conduct across borders. Such artworks are intimately associated with a cultural politics of creating alternative spaces of articulation through acts of accommodation or resistance to traditions. The panel explores some of the most innovative artistic expressions of postcolonial South Asia, cultivating strategies of engagement with dominant political and cultural tropes of mainstream rhetoric. Consequently, they have redefined the understanding of South Asia as a space, insisting us to reimagine it in ways that complicate its political markers or economic alliances. The four papers in this panel seek to articulate alternative spaces through artforms which inform us to re-conceptualize the South Asian space. Titas De Sarkar cites a court case (1965) in Calcutta against a group of poets to trace how the marginalized poets were seeking to reclaim a space of recognition for themselves in Bengali society. Asif Iqbal looks at the visual codes in the short film The Barbershop (2009) to tease out a space for the voices that were silenced in the mainstream discussions on the struggle between the Bengali nationalists and West Pakistani ruling class during the formation of Bangladesh. Sayanti Mondal decodes a picture book titled Do! (2009) to argue the emergence of a potential heterotopic narrative space for the global audience through the Warli illustrations. Madiha Ghous reads Aamer Hussein’s short stories to explore ways of translating the exilic space into works of art.


Presenter 1
Titas De Sarkar - titasdesarkar@gmail.com (University of Chicago)
The Space of the Obscene: Linguistic Incursions in Postcolonial Calcutta

Presenter 2
Asif Iqbal - iqbalas2@msu.edu (Michigan State University )
The Rhizomatic Sites of 1971 in Noroshundor / The Barbershop (2009)

Presenter 3
Sayanti Mondal - smondal@ilstu.edu (Illinois State University)
Multiple Narratives: Reading Do! As a Textual Heterotopia

Presenter 4
Madiha GHOUS - ghousmad@msu.edu (Michigan state university )
The Language of Loss-- Engaging with Exile in Aamer Hussein`s Short-Fiction


Anagarika Dharmapala, Sri Lanka and the Wider World
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 627
Floor: Floor 6

John Rogers - rogersjohnd@aol.com (American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies)

Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1934) is a controversial figure in Sri Lankan history. Known for his opposition to Christian missionaries and his strong criticisms of cultural decline under colonial rule, he dedicated his life to both spreading Buddhism abroad and reviving it at home. In contemporary Sri Lanka, both majoritarian nationalists and their opponents tend to take him as a quintessential nationalist figure. This roundtable will reconsider Dharmapala’s life and legacy through a discussion of Steven Kemper’s recent revisionist book, Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World (University of Chicago Press, 2015). Kemper, who notes that Dharmapala spent the majority of his adult life away from Sri Lanka, argues that the common portrayal of Dharmapala as a nationalist zealot is misleading, and that he was a world-renouncer first and a political activist second. Each roundtable participant will comment on a specific aspect of Kemper’s book. John Rogers will explore how the book opens up possible new interpretations of nationalism in modern Sri Lankan history. Anne Blackburn will consider Kemper’s treatment of the Theosophical dimension of Dharmapala’s life, and its importance to the extra-national and trans-regional networks in which Dharmapala circulated. Neilesh Bose will approach the book by comparing Dharmapala’s view of Buddhism and his activities in Kolkata and Bodh Gaya with the views of late nineteenth century Bengali religious reformers who drew on Buddhist sources in their own efforts to identify spiritual truths. Mark Whitaker will compare Dharmapala’s religious project with that of Arumurga Navalar, who attempted to construct a Saivite public in nineteenth-century Jaffna. The roundtable will conclude with a response by Kemper.


Presenter 1
John Rogers - rogersjohnd@aol.com (American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies)
Presenter 2
Anne M Blackburn - amb242@cornell.edu
Presenter 3
Neilesh Bose - nbose@uvic.ca (University of Victoria)
Presenter 4
Mark Whitaker - mark.whitaker@uky.edu (University of Kentucky)
Presenter 5
Steven Kemper - skemper@bates.edu

State-Making as War-making: Delusional States in South Asia
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 629
Floor: Floor 6

Zunaira Komal - zkomal@ucdavis.edu (University of California, Davis)

In India and Pakistan’s military escalation in February 2019, we saw an increase in the Indian state’s intensified reliance on manipulating emotions – an important strategy for erasing Kashmir, the very ground for this purported inter-state war. Similar power struggles over national feeling are at work in the marginalization and erasure of Gilgit-Baltistan and the Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Bringing both these affective militarisms to light, we wish to propose a roundtable that engages with the state of delusion in South Asia. Nosheen Ali, in her recent book Delusional States: Feeling Rule and Development in Pakistan's Northern Frontier examines why delusion as a feature of modern empire is integral to our understanding of states, and demonstrates how within the context of Gilgit-Baltistan, the production of suspicious subjects has limited the capacities for substantive citizenship. These same dynamics are also at work in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, where conditions of illegibility and suspicion have long enabled the state to solidify itself through a reliance on war. Further, Kashmiris under Indian occupation have long suffered under the imperial bind of visible-invisibility, both through militarized humanitarianism and seemingly “progressive” cultural reforms that have intensified repression. Azad Kashmir, under Pakistan’s administration, remains bound within the dynamics of an intimate stranger, simultaneously desired and threatening. Bringing both India and Pakistan’s bids to national feeling to light, and encircling what delusions structure (and are necessitated by) them, we wish to propose a roundtable that situates war-making as the foundation of state-making practices in South Asia. Taking Nosheen Ali’s book as an opportunity around which to engage these other long-standing conditions of war and occupation, we wish to propose a roundtable that would allow scholars from across the border to question states of war, and begin to approach how affective nationalist politics frames subjugated peoples.


Presenter 1
Nosheen Ali - nosheen.ali@gmail.com (Aga Khan University)
Presenter 2
Mohamad Junaid - justjunaid@gmail.com (Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts)
Presenter 3
Madiha Tahir - t.madiha@gmail.com (Columbia University)
Presenter 4
Ayesha Omer - ayesha.omer@nyu.edu (New York University )
Presenter 5
Zunaira Komal - zkomal@ucdavis.edu (University of California, Davis)

Entangled Histories: Indian Classical Dance and the Artistry of Nation Making and Moral Belonging
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 634
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant / Chair
Davesh Soneji - dsoneji@upenn.edu

This panel brings together presentations by scholars and practitioners of various Indian classical dance forms to examine the relationship between dance, historical narratives and questions of national identity and belonging. Challenging simplistic binaries that have come to circumscribe Indian classical dance styles such as Kathak, Bharatanatyam and Odissi – including the binaries of tradition/modernity, immorality/morality, high art/ low art, Hindu/Muslim – each panelist complicates in their particular way the mid-twentieth century ‘reconstruction’ of classical dance that is inscribed in dominant discourses. Panelists analyse the production and representation of these performance art forms in contexts ranging from India to Pakistan and the diaspora, demonstrating how Indian classical dances play a significant role in the construction of national identities at local, national and global levels. Moreover, the comparative approach taken by panelists as they situate their studies of classical dance alongside other dance styles (folk, contemporary), as well as other forms of cultural and artistic production (cinema), brings to the fore the intersections between various forms of artistry in the South Asian context. Finally, the panel also examines the ways in which these intersections serve to demarcate particular categories of ‘art’ to relate these artistic practices to larger social and political formations of ‘nation’, ‘morality’ and ‘religion’. The panel thus explores the potential of critiquing these anachronistic distinctions by drawing on artistic practices from within these traditions themselves.


Presenter 1
Pallabi Chakravorty - pchakra1@swarthmore.edu (Swarthmore College)
Artistry and the Moral body: Yoking Bharatnatyam with Kalbelia

Presenter 2
Hari Krishnan - hkrishnan@wesleyan.edu (Wesleyan University)
Celluloid Classicism: Intertwined Histories of Bharatanāṭyam and the Early Tamil Cinema

Presenter 3
Sheema Kermani - tehrik@gmail.com ()
Identity, Performance and Gender in Pakistan

Presenter 4
Sitara Thobani - thobanis@msu.edu (Michigan State University)
Indian Classical Dance and The Golden Age of Nationalism: The Im/perfections of Classicising Discourses


Ritual and Art in the Kathmandu Valley
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 7: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 638
Floor: Floor 6

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

This panel presents new research on ritual practices and art in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. Panelists approach their topics from different disciplinary angles and examine textual, ethnographical and art historical sources to shed light on ritual practices and art objects which have so far received very little scholarly attention. The first panelist examines new developments in the royal portraiture of the late Malla period of Nepal. She shows how royal likenesses on pillars reflect changing concepts of the relationship between king and god. Starting with a critical appraisal of the contribution of Robert Levy’s landmark work Mesocosm to the study of Bhaktapur (portrayed as a Hindu city), the second panelist focuses on the role of Buddhist deities and festivals in that city. Her paper highlights the worship of Dipankara Buddha by Newar Buddhists in Bhaktapur and the related pancadāna (“five gifts”) festival, which features a procession showcasing five Dipankara images. The insights emerging from this study lead to a new appreciation of the contribution of Newar Buddhism to the culture of Bhaktapur. The third panelist examines the recitation of a category of mantra-texts known as dhārani by members of the Newar Buddhist community. It specifically focuses on the living tradition of reciting the dhārani of the goddess Grahamātrkā, also known as Navagrahamātrkā (“Mother of the Nine Heavenly Bodies”). The paper also investigates the occasions for and the motivations underlying this recitation. The fourth panelist focuses on the healing rituals of the Newars. He follows a new approach by switching the focus from the role of the healer and deity medium to that of the members of the audience whose participation and legitimization of the healing ritual is an essential component of the event.


Presenter 1
Gudrun Buhnemann - gbuhnema@wisc.edu (The University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Royal Likenesses in 17th-century Nepal

Presenter 2
Andrea Wollein - andrea.wollein@mail.utoronto.ca ()
Provincializing "Mesocosm"

Presenter 3
Miroj Shakya - mirojs@uwest.edu ()
Overcoming Obstacles: The Tradition of Recitation of the Grahamātrkā Dhārani in the Newar Buddhist community in Nepal

Presenter 4
Austin Simoes-Gomes - austinsimoesgomes@gmail.com (University of Toronto)
Decentering the Shaman: An Exploration of the Role of the Audience in Newar Healing Rituals


Policing and surveillance beyond the state in contemporary South Asia
Round Table

Location

Session: Session 8: Saturday, 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Room: Assembly Room
Floor: Floor 1

Farhana Ibrahim - ibrahim.farhana@gmail.com (Indian Institute of Technology Delhi)

Conceptualizing policing as a form of power, in service of dominant arrangements of social order and hierarchy, this roundtable aims to think expansively and critically about the genealogies of studying policing in and through South Asia. Policing in South Asia has never been solely about law and police institutions narrowly defined. The historiography and sociology of the region brims with rich insights into policing as historical processes of codification, legal and otherwise, as well as social, political and economic practices. For instance, Dalit studies and feminist scholars have argued that caste has always been about policing particularly through gender and sexuality. Or that postcolonial nation-state formation has unfolded through occupations and the management of “disturbed” areas - from Kashmir to the Chittagong Hill Tracts - managing people and spaces with shifting definitions of criminality. Today, with authoritarian state policing, private surveillance, and vigilante violence pervasive across so many different social and economic realms it is urgent to discuss sites, regimes, and modes of policing in contemporary South Asia. This includes comparative attention to the global ripples of terrorism, new technologies, crises of citizenship and neoliberalism and how these manifest in particular South Asian locales and contexts as experiences of policing. The round-table will gather scholars studying policing in relation to labour, political ecology and counterinsurgency in Kashmir (Mona Bhan); sexuality, class, and privacy in India (Ani Dutta); digital surveillance and rumours in Bangladesh (Nusrat Chowdhury); journalism in India (Amrita Ibrahim); urban space and ethnic violence in Sri Lanka (Farzana Haniff); and bureaucratic and political self-fashioning by/in minority communities in Pakistan (Ghazal Asif). With democratic spaces shrinking and dissident voices and institutions under attack across South Asia, it is necessary to expand our understandings of policing as well as hone in on the continuities and new challenges of the contemporary.


Presenter 1
Amrita Ibrahim - ai372@georgetown.edu (Georgetown University)
Presenter 2
Mona Bhan - monabhan@depauw.edu (DePauw University)
Presenter 3
Aniruddha Dutta - aniruddha-dutta@uiowa.edu (University of Iowa)
Presenter 4
Nusrat Chowdhury - nchowdhury@amherst.edu (Amherst College)
Presenter 5
Farzana Haniffa - farzana.haniffa@gmail.com (University of Colombo)
Presenter 6
Ghazal Asif - gasif1@jhu.edu (Johns Hopkins University)

Borderland Permeability and Himalayan Territoriality
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 8: Saturday, 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Room: Caucus Room
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant / Chair
Emily Yeh - emily.yeh@colorado.edu (University of Colorado Boulder)

While borders are often viewed as barriers or lines of division that create separate social, economic, and cultural realms, attention to the Nepal-China borderland shows that borders can also present flexible and fluid multi-state spaces. Based on the assumption of permeable borderlands (van Schendel and de Maaker 2014), recent contributions to border studies have characterized borderlands as “marginal hubs” (Marsden and Reeves 2019) that appear to be situated at the geographical and political margins but emerge as productive sites of increasing sociability, commodification, and resource extraction. By focusing on the movement of people and things across Himalayan borderlands, this panel attempts to better understand everyday bordering practices that transcend state boundaries and present alternative spaces of accumulation (Eilenberg and Cons 2019). Combining ethnographic fieldwork with historical analysis, contributions to this panel explore the paradoxical and conflicting relationship between border communities and the state. Case studies situated in Nepal’s Humla, Dolpo, Mustang, Gorkha, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchok, and Taplejung districts compare and contrast dynamics of infrastructure development and mobility, practices of sovereignty, and the reframing of territories. They demonstrate that Himalayan borderlands and communities living along them are conditioned by various configurations of power and, in so doing, they offer a more complex and nuanced assessment of borders and borderland practices.


Presenter 1
Rupak Shrestha - rupak.shrestha@colorado.edu (University of Colorado Boulder)
Extraterritoriality, Intimacy, and Dissensus: Tibetan refugee subjectivities in the Nepal-China borderlands

Presenter 2
Nadine Plachta - nplachta@gmail.com (Heidelberg University)
Shifting villages, shifting allegiances: Framing boundaries, sovereignty, and citizenship at the Nepal-China border

Presenter 3
Galen Murton - murtongb@jmu.edu (James Madison University)
Tibetan trains, dry ports, and accumulating stuff at the Nepal-China border

Presenter 4
Phurwa D. Gurung - phurdhondup.g@colorado.edu (University of Colorado Boulder)
Food (in)security and other infrastructural orthodoxies in the Himalayan borderlands


Caste, Commodity, and Migration: Reappraising the History of Northern Sri Lanka through Labor
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 8: Saturday, 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Room: Senate Room A
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant / Chair
Rupa Viswanath - rupa.viswanath@gmail.com (University of Göttingen)

Recent public and scholarly attention to the Northern Province, the epicentre of Sri Lanka’s civil war (1983–2009), has overwhelmingly prioritised questions of twentieth-century history and Tamil identity vis-à-vis the conflict. Looking to an earlier period, and taking a broader geographical approach that eschews the predominant focus on Jaffna as metonymic for the Northern Province itself, the four papers in this panel offer a dense exploration of the complex social histories of the region during the periods of Dutch (1658–1796) and British (1796–1948) rule. Split evenly in their focus on Jaffna District and neighbouring Mannar, the papers investigate how the colonial demand for a multitude of types of labour was realized through a diverse and changing range of laws and institutions emerging at the intersection of local culture and society, state practices, and mobility throughout the Indian Ocean world. The papers emphasise the particular importance of caste, intertwined with slavery and other kinds of forced labour; the driving force of local commodities such as pearls, tobacco, and chaya dye root; and the significance and extent of migration to and from the Northern Province. Colonial state interventions in labor had a transformative effect on social relations, sometimes in ways that are still evident today. The panel not only emphasises the importance of the Northern Province to the entirety of the country – socially, economically, and administratively – but also develops new historiographical tools that will be useful to scholars working on the history of other parts of Sri Lanka.


Presenter 1
Tamara Fernando - tsf30@cam.ac.uk (University of Cambridge )
Pearl Diving in the Gulf of Mannar 1880-1925: Mannar as a Labour Frontier

Presenter 2
Mark Balmforth - meb2212@columbia.edu (Columbia University)
Tobacco Rāṇi: Addiction, Caste, and Slavery in the Indian Ocean

Presenter 3
Dominic Esler - dominicesler@gmail.com (University College London)
Obligatory service and caste in Mannar during the Dutch and British periods

Presenter 4
Kristina Hodelin-ter Wal - k.hodelinterwal@let.ru.nl (Radboud University)
From Jaffna to Malaysia: Tamils as agents of the British empire, 1867-1918


Building Nations & Forming Identities Through Work: Ethnographies and Histories from South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 8: Saturday, 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Room: Senate Room B
Floor: Floor 1

Discussant / Chair
Tatsuro Fujikura - fujikura@asafas.kyoto-u.ac.jp (Kyoto University)

Ad hoc 8, Politics


Presenter 1
Aniruddha Bose - abose@francis.edu (Saint Francis University)
Shunting the Nation: India Railway Workers and the Making of Free India and Pakistan

Presenter 2
Hasan Mahmud - hasan.mahmud@northwestern.edu (Northwestern University in Qatar)
Remittance as Belonging: Immigrants incorporation and family relations among Bangladeshi immigrants in Los Angeles

Presenter 3
Tatsuro Fujikura - fujikura@asafas.kyoto-u.ac.jp (Kyoto University)
Living in a world without autonomous state: Tharu activists’ engagements with new local governance in Nepal

Presenter 4
Kristina Nielsen - kniels@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
Being from a Good Family: Modern Avoidance Registers in the NCR BPO Sector


Landscapes of Language: Philology in Social Context
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 8: Saturday, 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 1
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Linda Hess - lionda@stanford.edu (Stanford University)

Choosing a language in which to compose a teaching or a verse cannot simply be seen as a philological matter. In early modern south Asia, before the age of the standardization of the regional vernaculars, the diversity of languages, registers, and modes in which an author could communicate with others held significant extratextual implications. Even in what is now commonly known as the Vernacular Millennium, each vernacular language was by no means a monolithic entity: rather, “the vernacular” as a category often encompasses a range of minute choices in register that define a text and its intended audience. Key innovations in the mechanics of language were often no accident, but deliberate strategies for reshaping community boundaries and identities. Spanning multiple regions of the subcontinent in both north and south India and crossing religious boundaries, this panel examines how technologies of language-- metrics, language, and commentary--can be analyzed not only as arcane matters of text criticism but as strategic choices consequential to a community’s self-representation and engagement with the world outside the text. Exploring in particular the intentionally varied linguistic registers of Sundardās’ poetry, the social performativity and intertextuality reflected by metrical choices in gurbilās Sikh literature, the strategic use of Perso-Arabic vocabulary in the Nāth manuscript tradition, and the institutional context of Kannada commentaries on Sanskrit Vīraśaiva texts, the panel as a whole makes the case that the mechanics of language can speak volumes about the social situatedness of texts and the agendas of their authors.


Presenter 1
Dalpat Rajpurohit - drajpurohit@austin.utexas.edu (The University of Texas at Austin )
Language and Register in Sundardas' Poetry

Presenter 2
Julie Vig - julie.vig@utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Prosody and meters in gurbilās literature: performance and intertextuality

Presenter 3
Christine Marrewa Karwoski - cmarrewa@gmail.com (Columbia University)
The Language of Proselytization: Multilingualism in the Hindustani Nāth Oeuvre

Presenter 4
Elaine Fisher - emf@stanford.edu (Stanford University)
Languages of Devotion: Internal Multilingualism in Vīraśaiva Commentarial Texts


Maṅkha and his Śrīkaṇṭhacarita: The Poet's (Re-)Conception of his World
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 8: Saturday, 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 2
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Sarah Pierce Taylor - sarah.piercetaylor@concordia.ca (Concordia University)

Maṅkha's Śrīkaṇṭhacarita is a poem better known for its paratext than for its central narrative of Śiva's destruction of the demons of the triple-city. The work itself invites this treatment, as Maṅkha devotes four of its twenty five chapters to matters outside its narrative frame: one an opening series of benedictory verses, another entirely devoted to metapoetic discussions, a third surveying the land of Kashmir and the history of Maṅkha's family within it, and a final chapter describing the poem's premiere to an audience of Kashmiri scholars and aesthetes. These long digressions from the poem's narrative core, far from being mere padding, were clearly central to Maṅkha's vision of his work, and of its larger cultural world. Framing his poem against various backgrounds— social, religious, literary and historical— Maṅkha displays an overt self-consciousness that sets his work apart from earlier mahākāvyas. Each of the papers presented here will delve further into one or more aspects of this self-consciousness. Hamsa Stainton explores Maṅkha's metapoetic observations, linking them both to the earlier history of Kashmiri poetic thought and the extended set of devotional verses that comprise the poem's initial chapter. Lawrence McCrea examines the third chapter's unusual linkage of geographical description with family history and autobiography, comparing them with both earlier and later exemplars of the same phenomenon. Sloane Geddes shows how Maṅkha's description of the sunrise in his twelfth chapter comments on and plays off of similar episodes in earlier mahākāvyas within and beyond Kashmir. Finally, Luther Obrock unpacks the broader significance of the poem's recording of its own initial reception by an elite (but non-royal) audience, comparing it with earlier works and reflecting on its implications for our understanding of the social and cultural world of 12th century Kashmir.


Presenter 1
Hamsa Stainton - hamsa.stainton@mcgill.ca (McGill University)
Beyond Poetry: The Poetics and Devotionalism of Maṅkha’s Śrīkaṇṭhacarita

Presenter 2
Lawrence McCrea - ljm223@cornell.edu (Cornell University)
The Past is Another Country: Geography, Genealogy and Autobiography in Maṅkha's Kashmir

Presenter 3
Luther Obrock - luther.obrock@utoronto.ca ()
The Goṣṭhī and Politics: Maṅkha's Poetry in 12th Century Kashmir

Presenter 4
Sloane Geddes - kathryn.geddes@mail.utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Resounding Dawn: Intertextual Continuities and Innovation in Maṅkha’s Śrīkaṇṭhacarita


Nonhuman potencies: Taking "superstition" seriously in the Sundarbans delta
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 8: Saturday, 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 3
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Sufia Uddin - suddin@conncoll.edu (Connecticut College)

This panel explores the myriad ways in which agency or life force of the non-human influences the everyday actions, thoughts and ethical imaginations of people in the Sundarbans. If all objects and things are alive in their capacity to make a difference in the world (Bennett 2009), we are interested in ethnographic explorations of how people experience and are affected by various forms of potency, especially as they relate to their surrounding landscapes. These might be rivers, forests, gusts of wind, but also fields, ponds, canals, homesteads and shrines. Taking seriously the potentialities both life-giving and life-threatening imbued in places, things, spirits, deities and ghosts, the panel will explore how potent places and objects express and manifest themselves in everyday lives. Alongside a deeper understanding of local cosmologies, the panel is also interested in how non-human agents relate to the larger canvass of political, economic and ecological transformations in the Bengal delta. The papers in this panel take up non-human potencies in three separate ways. Megnaa Mehtta’s paper explores the political potential latent in the everyday ethics practiced as a result of reverence to a forest deity. Calynn Dowler’s work focuses on narratives about the existence and activities of ‘water beings’ in a local canal, as well as shifting ideas about their agency vis-a-vis humans. Annu Jalais’ paper argues for the importance of taking Sundarban residents’ perspectives on the potentcies of non-human agents seriously in order to more holistically approach the various experiences and meanings of mental suffering. The panel attempts to move away from typecasting beliefs -- whether forms of reverence, feelings of fear or eerie occurrences-- as “superstition” or “religious belief,” instead exploring the political and social implications of non-human forces on the actions, imaginations and mental states of Sundarban residents.


Presenter 1
Annu Jalais - sasja@nus.edu.sg (NUS)
Understanding tiger-charming, ritual healing and mental suffering in deltaic Bengal from the ontology of the nonhuman

Presenter 2
Calynn Dowler - calynn.dowler@gmail.com (Boston University)
Storied Waters: Narrative practice and human-nonhuman agency in the Sundarbans delta

Presenter 3
Megnaa Mehtta - m.mehtta@lse.ac.uk (London School of Economics and Political Science )
Laws of the Jungle: Ethics as politics in the ecological imaginations of the Sundarbans delta

Presenter 4
Sufia Uddin - suddin@conncoll.edu (Connecticut College)
Discussant's commentary


Crafting Property in South Asia: Objects and Forms, Histories and Futures
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 8: Saturday, 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 4
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Rohit De - rohit.de@yale.edu (Yale University)

Property has been an enduring object of enquiry within scholarship on South Asia, across disciplinary boundaries. Contemporary South Asian milieus—marked by emergent intellectual property regimes, climate change, and land record digitization—demands renewed attention to what constitutes the objects and relations of property. Informed by social scientific theorizations of property as a set of sociocultural relations with respect to things, the papers in this panel hone in on the things of property: how does the specificity of the things themselves influence how the property relationship is crafted, and unfolds? What are the relationships between property forms—such as patents, copyright agreements, and land records—and property objects, such as medicines, literary texts, and land? Much of the panel’s labor is dedicated to conceptualizing the above as artifacts, and the artistry entailed in creating them as such. What, it asks, are the processes whereby property is assembled, and the consequences of asserting, or artfully withholding the assertion of, property claims? We think property broadly, placing different objects of property within an overarching rubric of property, instead of their usual scholarly silos. Such curation allows us to explore resonances between ‘new’ property objects and relationships—in the intellectual property realm, for example—and ‘old’ ones, such as land ownership. The panel engages with the above questions via juxtaposition of South Asian intellectual property and land regimes, exploring how: (i) traditional land management practices persist despite land record digitization in Lahore; (ii) how exceptions to copyright law impact access to knowledge in India; (iii) the shifting boundaries of land and sea in Chennai blur property’s usual markers; and (iv) the arrival into Pakistan of a U.S. company’s revolutionary Hepatitis-C drug challenges conventional understandings of the nature and reach of (intellectual) property.


Presenter 1
Zahra Hayat - zahra.hayat@berkeley.edu (UC Berkeley)
Itineraries of Intellectual Property – The Story of Sovaldi

Presenter 2
Tariq Rahman - tlrahman@uci.edu (University of California, Irvine)
The Properties of Property: Patwaris, Digitization, and Land Records in Lahore

Presenter 3
Mehtab Khan - mehtabk@berkeley.edu (University of California, Berkeley)
Copyright Law in Context: The Construction of ‘Fair Use’ in South Asia

Presenter 4
Oviya Govindan - ogovinda@uci.edu (UC Irvine)
Liminality and Fixity: Property Relations along the South Coromandel Coastline


Dalit Movement's Next Steps: Solidarity and Interaction With Others
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 8: Saturday, 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Room: Conference Room 5
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Kristina Garalyte - kristina.garalyte@fsf.vu.lt (Vilnius University)

This panel aims to understand the cross-movement mobilization and inter-movement interactions in regards to the Dalit movement. How the Dalit movement communicates with other socio-political movements, dis/engages with their ideologies, builds repertoires of contention, designs political strategies and draws from the cultural theories, and what possible outcomes emerge from these cross-border/ideological interactions. We conceptualize social movements not as stable and clearly defined entities, but rather social processes that unfold in reaction to the socio-political contexts and the emerging political interactions and opportunities. We are particularly interested to understand how through the cross- and inter-movement appropriation a collaborative and competitive relation gets formed and how they materialize into political alliances or conflicts in forging international solidarities. Historical and current developments of the Dalit movement provide an extremely rich material for the conceptualization of the cross- and inter-movement interaction. There is a growing scholarly interest with regard to Dalit movement's relation to the Hindu Right (Narayan, 2009, Jaffrelot, 2007), communist (Teltumbde, 2018, Natrajan, 2013), Black (Brown, 2018, Pandey, 2013) and feminist (Paik, 2014) politics, as well as less explored interactions with the environmental (Sharma, 2017) and LGBT movements (Jyoti, 2018).


Presenter 1
Balmurli Natrajan - natrajanb@wpunj.edu ()
Dalits in Hindutva Neoliberalism

Presenter 2
Kevin Brown - brownkd@indiana.edu ()
How the Limits of the African-Americans International Perspective Limited Their Ability to Unite with Dalits and How to Overcome It

Presenter 3
Akhil Kang - akhil.kang@gmail.com ()
Finding the 'Gay' in Ambedkar

Presenter 4
Prema Ann Kurien - pkurien@maxwell.syr.edu ()
The Transnational Anti-Caste Movement and the Racial Paradigm: Dalit Rights Activists in the United States


Debating Religion: Traditions and Their Publics
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 8: Saturday, 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
Floor: Floor 2

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

Ad hoc 16, Religion


Presenter 1
Nathan McGovern - nmcgover@fandm.edu (UW Whitewater)
Aśvaghoṣa’s Buddhacarita and Mapping the Relationship Between Buddhism and Sāṃkhya

Presenter 2
Samina Hossain - shossain4@wisc.edu (University of Wisconsin - Madison)
The challenges and ways forward for examining the fraught career of secularism in India

Presenter 3
Yogesh Chandrani - ychandrani@coloradocollege.edu (Colorado College)
Piety and Politics at the Margins of the Nation

Presenter 4
Shweta Krishnan - shwetakrishnan@gwu.edu (George Washington University)
The Art of the Prayer: The Role of Creativity in the Production of an Ethical Subject of a Religious Discourse


South Asian Literature in the 20th Century
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 8: Saturday, 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Room: Capitol Ballroom B
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Snehal Shingavi - snehal.shingavi@utexas.edu (University of Texas Austin)

Ad hoc 19, GWS


Presenter 1
Mehreen Jamal - mehreen@email.uark.edu (University of Arkansas )
Not One of the Family: The Representation of Domestic Servants in Pakistani Women’s Writings

Presenter 2
Rovel Sequeira - rovelseq@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
For Art's Sake: Eugenic Love in the 1920s Marathi Novel

Presenter 3
Snehal Shingavi - snehal.shingavi@utexas.edu (University of Texas Austin)
Yashpal’s Geeta, the New Indian Woman, and Debates about Realism

Presenter 4
Samira Musleh - musle004@umn.edu (University of Minnesota - Twin Cities)
Love in the Time of Colonialism: Re-reading a dual narration of civilizational intimacy from colonial Bengal


My Still Unrealized Expression: Muktibodh and his Legacy in Hindi Literature and Cinema
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 8: Saturday, 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Room: Wisconsin Ballroom
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Gregory Goulding - ggouldin@sas.upenn.edu

Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh (1917–1964) remains one of the most prominent and discussed figures in modern Hindi literature. Obscure for most of his life, since his death Muktibodh's work has prompted some of the most dynamic debates in Hindi literary criticism, influenced multiple generations of writers, and been the subject of a series of crucial adaptations. An understanding of Muktibodh's work is essential for understanding the trajectory of post-Independence South Asian literature, and especially for the connections between the literary debates and literature of the Nehruvian era and the literature of disillusionment that comes into prominence in following decades. This panel explores Muktibodh's work and its legacy. Papers engage with topics ranging from the language of science in his poetry to his influence on later Hindi writers and performers, and from the place of the epic, or mahākāvya, in his criticism, to the adaptation of his work in Mani Kaul's 1980 film, Satah se uṭhtā ādmī. Taken together, this panel aims to underline the importance of Muktibodh and his place in Hindi literature, as well as the trajectories of modern South Asian literature more generally.


Presenter 1
Gregory Goulding - ggouldin@sas.upenn.edu ()
Blue Sparks: Electricity in the Poetry of Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh (1917–1964)

Presenter 2
Vikrant Dadawala - vikrantd@sas.upenn.edu (University of Pennsylvania)
Birds, Termites and Brahmins: The Cultural Cold War and the Ethical Work of Hindi Literature

Presenter 3
Ashish Chadha - avikunthak@uri.edu (University of Rhode Island)
Mani Kaul and Muktibodh and the making of discursive cinema

Presenter 4
Aditya Mohan Bahl - aditya25488@gmail.com (Johns Hopkins University)
Specters of Mukti: The Work of Epic in the Age of Nation-State


Money-use in precolonial South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 8: Saturday, 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Room: University A/B
Floor: Floor 2

Discussant / Chair
Hannah Archambault - h.archambault@berkeley.edu (UC Berkeley)

The purpose of this panel is to gather junior scholars of capitalism, numismatics, and monetary history in premodern South Asia to present new evidence and perspectives on money-use in precolonial South Asia, especially the period 1000-1800 of the common era. Until the British colonial state established uniform currency in the subcontinent in the 1860s, South Asia was home to multiple currencies that functioned in sophisticated economies of exchange. Unlike fiat currencies, or objects which represent value and are backed by law, earlier economies were home to commodity money and fiduciary currencies such as gold, silver, copper, and alloy coins. The value of these coins was determined by a professional class of assayers, and these coins were manufactured in official imperial mints of great polities and by local kings who aspired political greatness and territorial influence. The circulation of coins was varied, and routes of exchange were necessarily overlapping. For example, during the early sixteenth century, market transactions in western India were made by exchanging both Mughal imperial silver coins and up to 35 other minor currencies not officially sanctioned by the Mughal court. In premodern societies, imperial polities such as the Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526) and the Mughal Empire (1526-1707) did not have a strict monopoly on legal tender within the territorial confines of empire. This begs several questions, including what other kinds of currency existed, how were they produced, and what impact did their complex networks of circulation have on imperial political authority, local market transactions, and the development of capitalism and capitalist institutions in the longue durée? By drawing on evidence from northern, western, and southern India, members of this panel will each present new textual and numismatic evidence to reanimate the study of money in precolonial South Asia.


Presenter 1
Jawan Rasikh - jawanshir@gmail.com ()
A Plundering Medieval State? Economics of the Ghurid Polity in the Tabaqat-i Nasiri

Presenter 2
Pushkar Sohoni - pushkar.sohoni@iiserpune.ac.in (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Pune)
Strike Two: Afterlife of Bahmani Coinage

Presenter 3
Sudev Sheth - sjsheth@gmail.com (Harvard Business School)
Money use, proto-chartalism, and barriers to capital accumulation in Mughal India

Presenter 4
Faisal Chaudhury - fchaudhry1@udayton.edu ()
Beyond Sharia and Oikonomia: Akhlaq Texts and the Constitution of Mughal Money in the Imaginary of Islamicate Law and Economy


Newar Identity Between Centre and Margin
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 8: Saturday, 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Room: University C/D
Floor: Floor 2

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

The controversy as to whether the Newars are the self or the other of a normative idea of a modern Nepal, whether the Newars have to be understood as located either at the centre or at the margins of Kathmandu Valley Nepalese identity formation processes, has driven Newar self-awareness, Newar self-representation, and Newar political activism, not to speak of the study of the Newars by outsiders, since their incipience. Where is this particular group, whose representatives have self-identified variously as indigenous or displaced, hybrid or exceptional, hegemonic or self-effacing, elite or minority, to be located? How is this group’s place defined in the discussions around what state, literacy, poetics, or selfhood should look like as to constitute Nepal, be it conceived of as a monarchic Hindu or as a democratic neoliberal entity? This panel proposes to discuss the places Newars envision, prepare, and make for themselves to both be a part of and apart from what they may perceive of as either welcoming and promising or hostile and opaque. The perspectives on the emplacing processes this panel assembles range from those of global spiritual outreach to ritual in authoritarian state media, from the self-mirroring of a local literary scene to mapping belonging through virtual connectivity. What these perspectives aim at foregrounding is the event-character of ritual, mind, text, and soil through which centres become margins and vice-versa, allowing the orientation and disorientation of being Newar to emerge more clearly. The panel will highlight the promises and discontents of identity by addressing the mediatic framing of Newar goddesses through militarized ritual, the revitalization of Newar literature in the backyard of the official Nepali publishing scene, the seemingly paradoxical reinvention of Newar Buddhism as non-Buddhist, and the recreation of Newar sacralized space in online forms of protest.


Presenter 1
Michael Baltutis - baltutim@uwosh.edu (University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh)
Ritual Revival: Goddesses in Three 19th-century Nepalese Indra Festival Texts

Presenter 2
Christoph Emmrich - christoph.emmrich@utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Natibajra Bajracharya and the Bookshop as Literary Event

Presenter 3
Lauren Leve - leve@email.unc.edu ()
Negotiating Social and Universal Identity: Newar Buddhist Meditators in the SN Goenka Tradition

Presenter 4
Ian Turner - ian.turner@mail.utoronto.ca (University of Toronto)
Facebook Farmers and Urban Entrepreneurs. The Politics of the Sacred in the Place-Making and Place-Claiming of the Kathmandu Valley


Foundations and Legacies of B.R. Ambedkar: Reconfiguring a Buddhist homeland and the politics of belonging
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 8: Saturday, 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 627
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant / Chair
Sraman Mukherjee - sramanmukherjee@gmail.com (Presidency University)

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, popularly known as Babasaheb Ambedkar, is widely cited as the founder of Indian Buddhism in the modern era. His campaign to abolish the caste system and his highly symbolic conversion to Buddhism in 1956 has given rise to a Dalit Buddhist movement that is supported by the broader transnational memory and modern construction of India as the homeland of Buddhism. This session aims at bringing new perspectives and critical approaches to the revival of Buddhism in India highlighting several historical developments, trans-regional influences and Indo-centric adaptations within modern and contemporary contexts that both precede and follow Ambedkar’s mass conversion in 1956. By placing these developments in a wider historical context, we will be able to better understand the changing conceptions, meanings and connotations of Indian Buddhism in the contemporary era. How have homeland discourses been mobilized and shaped by various social groups, as well as given rise to new religious communities and ethno-national political formations? How have new interpretations of Buddhist history, knowledge and practice opened up new spaces of belonging and contestation? What roles did key figures, reformers and institutions play in creating a moral geography for India and pan-Asian Buddhist identity?


Presenter 1
Douglas Ober - douglas.ober@ubc.ca ()
Conversion, Reversion and Revival: History and Historiography among the Buddhist Bahujan

Presenter 2
Jon Keune - keunejon@msu.edu (Michigan State University)
Rediscovering the Buddha in Western India Before Ambedkar

Presenter 3
Mallory Hennigar - mahennig@syr.edu (Syracuse University)
Ambedkarite Young Women and a Global Buddhist Movement: Balancing the Local, the National, and the International in Anti-Caste Activism

Presenter 4
David Geary - david.geary@ubc.ca (University of British Columbia (Okanagan))
“Beggars in robes,” “Sly monks” and the limits of Ambedkar at the place of


Afghanistan and Changing Regional Dynamics
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 8: Saturday, 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 629
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant / Chair
Marium Kamal - mariumkamal2@gmail.com (University of Cambridge)

In the perspective of traditional/historical regional dynamics, along with the anticipated withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan, there will have multiple effects over the regional political actors, in terms of cost, benefits, apprehensions, maneuvering by twist and turn of existing policies and/or planning new strategies. Hence, Pakistan’s efforts to relocate power in Afghanistan with a friendly regime may require a proactive orientation of its Af-Pak strategy in foreign policy, which can assuage the traditional Afghan claims of Durand Line as well as prevent the use of Afghan soil for hostile activities. The cost of the US withdrawal may increase as it can anticipate risking billions of dollars of investment for those actors which dependent on the US for security. However, the power vacuum in Kabul, coupled with its growing rapprochement towards Pakistan may help Russia to reassert its lost influence in the region. While China, being an emerging economic giant, is cultivating strong economic, political and social linkages with Afghanistan that can help the country to catalyze its rehabilitation process and may help to play a part in China dream. Thus, the present study attempts to magnify the critical maneuvering to be undertaken following the possible settlement between the US and the Taliban. Moreover, the study will find the mechanism of Afghan political settlement and power consolidation in the first place as the determinant for any of the regional imperatives in the region. It will also look into the possibility of new emerging regional power bloc i.e. led by the Russia and China and its implications for the future of the United States’ political, economic and strategic objectives in the region.


Presenter 1
Marium Kamal - mariumkamal2@gmail.com (University of Cambridge)
Af-Pak Strategy: Pakistan’s Proactive Approach towards Afghanistan in the Context of Changing Regional Dynamics

Presenter 2
Asifa Jahangir - ajndu2327@gmail.com (University of the Punjab)
Kabul Peacemaking Process: Pakistan’s Role and its Concerns

Presenter 3
Rashida Anis - anis.rashida@gmail.com (Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad)
Sino-Afghan Relations in the Emerging Regional Dynamics

Presenter 4
Rubeel Jawaid - rubeel.jawaid@yahoo.com ()
Furqan Khan - furqankhans66@gmail.com (National Defence University, Pakistan)
Post-US withdrawal from Afghanistan: Kremlin’s Strategic Imperatives


Artists of New Capital in Contemporary India
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 8: Saturday, 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 634
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant / Chair
Heather Hindman - h.hindman@mail.utexas.edu (University of Texas-Austin)

In recent years, India witnessed heightened investment of private capital in different spheres of economic life. This created a new class of corporate investors, entrepreneurs and technocratic experts, working in development organizations, technology startups, philanthropy foundations, corporate social responsibility firms and so on. Often working closely with the Indian state, these emergent actors and institutions create new values, processes and norms around erstwhile public goods like arts, education and financial services. This panel presents four distinctive approaches that examine the transformation of social and institutional relationships across India, through the prisms of neoliberal managerial discourses and entrepreneurial capitalism. These changes began with the liberalization of the economy beginning in the 1980s. However, since the 2000s, private capital is increasingly seen as a force of socio-economic development, supplementing and even replacing the state in several sectors of the economy. Many recent laws and policies reflect this neoliberal turn, including the Companies Act 2013, which made India the only nation to legally mandate corporate social responsibility. The papers on this panel showcase some ways in which these changes transformed socio-cultural institutions, generating new meanings and narratives around them. How does the influx of new capital shape local institutions and relationships in the production and circulation of arts, education, financial services and so on? What is the nature of the relationship between emergent actors like private investors, local clients and the Indian state? How do these changes impact the structural inequities of caste, gender, class and religion? These questions are examined by the panelists working in different spatial contexts across India. The larger goal of this panel is to initiate conversations around the actors and institutions, and related narratives and ideas, that are being produced, negotiated and contested due to the expansion of private capital in economic, social and cultural life.


Presenter 1
Ipshita Ghosh - ighosh@syr.edu (Syracuse University )
From Rebels to Elites: How Private Investment shaped Entrepreneurship in India

Presenter 2
Katie Lazarowicz - k.lazarowicz@utexas.edu (The University of Texas at Austin)
“But what will they do with their hands?” : Perspectives on social responsibility, (alternative) literacy, and education in the handicrafts industry

Presenter 3
Tara Nair - tara01@gmail.com (Gujarat Institute of Development Research)
Recasting Development in the Mould of Financialization: A Feminist Perspective

Presenter 4
Jaclyn Michael - jaclyn-michael@utc.edu (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga)
Space, Place, and the Politics of Artistic Representations of Delhi’s Muslim Past


The Politics of Representation in Popular Art: Examining Graphic Narratives and Identity in Comic Books, Murals, and Animation South Asia
Panel Group

Location

Session: Session 8: Saturday, 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Room: Parlour Room 638
Floor: Floor 6

Discussant / Chair
Sourav Chatterjee - sc4247@columbia.edu (Columbia University)

Ad hoc 10, Media


Presenter 1
Barbara Grossman - barbara.grossman-thompson@csulb.edu (California State University, Long Beach)
Charlotta Salmi - c.salmi@qmul.ac.uk ()
Street Art as Offering: Public Murals and the Celebration of Subaltern Heroes in Nepal

Presenter 2
Khan Faqir - khanfaqiraf@yahoo.com (University)
Truck Art and Poetry as feelings of expression: A Case Study of Peshawar Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Presenter 3
Jasleen Kandhari - jasleen.kandhari@yahoo.co.uk (University of Oxford)
Sikh Popular Art & Socio-Religious Identity: Hagiography of Guru Nanak in Sikh Comics Art

Presenter 4
Sourav Chatterjee - sc4247@columbia.edu (Columbia University)
The Effete, the Artist, the Superhero: The Changing Body of the Bengali in the Bengali Comic Strips of the 1960s

Presenter 5
pragya ghosh - ghosh@iu.edu (Indiana University Bloomington)
Animating Desire: Apocryphal Myth and Desire under India’s New Censorship