Welcome Back!

Dear Council Members,

Welcome to another eventful year of activities sponsored by the South Asian Studies Council.  I am delighted to give you an overview of the many talks, discussions, and special events planned for this term, which we very much hope you will attend and enjoy.

I hope especially that you can join us at our Welcome Reception, which will take place Tuesday, September 13that 4:30pm in Luce Hall.  Also our weekly Thursday Chai gatherings begin September 1st at 4:00 in Luce Hall.  All are welcome!

The Council is particularly excited to welcome new faculty, visiting scholars, and our new postdoctoral associates.  In addition to teaching courses for South Asian Studies, look forward to the energy, perspective, and depth they will lend to our conversations. Supriya Gandhi is a new Lecturer in Religious Studies.  Her research focuses on the interface of Islam and Indic religions, especially in the Mughal period.  Supriya is currently finishing a book on Dara Shikoh.  Lawrence Liang is the Rice Visiting Fellow at the Macmillan Center.  A co-founder of the Alternative Law Forum in Bangalore, a PhD in films studies, and a professor of law at Ambedkar University, Lawrence has written widely on issues at the intersection of law, culture, and technology.  This fall he will be teaching a course on Indian cinema.  Our two postdoctoral associates are Ninad Pandit, a historian from Princeton, and Bhawani Buswala, an anthropologist from Brown.  Ninad’s research focuses on the history of the Left in Bombay, urban politics, and Dalit writing in Marathi.   Bhawani studies stigmatized labor – his fieldwork was amongst “untouchable” butchers in Rajasthan – and questions of power and marginality.  Shibashis Chatterjee is a Fulbright Visiting Scholar joining us from Jadavpur University, where he is professor of international relations.  He is currently completing a book on issues of territoriality in South Asia.  We also want to welcome our FLTA Reeta Devi who will be assisting with Hindi language instruction.

We will have the opportunity to hear more of our visitors’ work, as well as a whole range of scholars from across the disciplines, at the South Asian Studies Colloquium, which meets on alternate Thursdays at 4:30 in Luce 203.  This semester the colloquium features discussions of citizenship and marginality in South Asia and its transnational locations.  Speakers include Purnima Mankekar, with whom we have organized a discussion of her new book Unsettling India: Affect, Temporality, Transnationality; Badri Narayan, a specialist in Dalit and subaltern politics and author of Kanshiram: Leader of the Dalits; Sunil Amrith, a leading trans-regional historian of South Asia and its links with Southeast Asia; and Ninad Pandit, our postdoctoral fellow, who will be speaking on the Dalit Panthers.

This year we welcome a large and diverse cohort of new graduates students specializing in South Asia and joining programs in Anthropology, Political Science, Religion, History, and Forestry.  The South Asia Brown Bag Series showcases the work of our graduate students and meets on alternate Thursdays at 4:30 in Luce 203. 

In addition please make note of these special events and lectures:

Dr. Asma Jahangir, pre-eminent human rights lawyer and founder of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan will deliver the Gruber Distinguished Lecture in Women’s Rights at Yale Law School on September 12th, to be followed by a lunchtime roundtable on September 13th.

On September 29th, we will be co-sponsoring a panel with CMES on Arabic and Sanskrit Studies Today, which is part of a year-long commemoration of 175 years of the Salisbury Chair at Yale.

The Annual Gandhi lecture will be given by Ajay Skaria on October 6th, with responses by Uday Mehta and Leela Gandhi.  The topic of the discussion will be Skaria’s new book, Unconditional Equality: Gandhi’s Religion of Resistance.  

Additionally, we will keep you attuned to talks of interest hosted by the Society for Asian Religions, the Inter-Asia Connections Program at Yale, and the Yale Himalaya Initiative.

Please join us for as many events as possible and visit our website for regular updates.

My Best,
Karuna Mantena