South Asian Studies Council Spring 2023 Semester

February 7, 2023

“Over the past decade,” Professor Steven Wilkinson, Vice Provost for Global Strategy and Nilekani Professor of India and South Asian Studies said at a recent event in Mumbai, “Yale has quietly built up what we think is the finest group of scholars who study South Asia of any of our peers. We have unmatched strength in the study of modern South Asia, for example in departments such as History and Economics, and we are now building strength in pre-modern with new and exciting hires in departments like Religious Studies. It’s a great time to be studying South Asia at Yale.” The spring semester will feature an impressive roster of colloquia, lectures, and conferences that reinforce that message.

On February 9th, visiting professor Dolly Kikon, senior lecturer in the Anthropology and Development Studies Program at the University of Melbourne, will deliver the first South Asian Studies Council Colloquium of the semester on “Return, Restore and Decolonize: Naga People’s Journey of Repatriation and Healing.” She will present with Arkotong Longkumer, Senior Lecturer in Modern Asia at the University of Edinburgh. Kikon is also teaching a seminar this semester on “Food Cultures in South Asia.” She will be followed on March 9th by Kazuya Nakamizo, Professor in the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies at Kyoto University, who will speak about “Nation and Violence: Reflections on Recent Vigilante Violence in India.” At the end of March, Shailaja Paik, Associate Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati, is scheduled to address the Colloquium about “The Vulgarity of Caste: Dalits, Sexuality, and Humanity in Modern India.” On April 6th Nayanika Mathur, Associate Professor in Anthropology and South Asian studies at the University of Oxford, will give a lecture on “Writing the Anthropocene from the Indian Himalaya.” On April 13th Sanaa Alimia, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations in London, will present on “Refugee Cities.” On April 20th, Ramya

Sreenivasan, Associate Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, will present on

“Rethinking transitions: Politics in northern India between the fourteenth and sixteenth

centuries.” The same day there will be a lunchtime discussion of theater scholar Rustom

Bharucha’s new book, The Second Wave: Reflections on the Pandemic through Photography,

Performance and Public Culture. The Colloquium will finish the semester with a talk by Peter Sutoris, Assistant Professor in Education at the University of York, on “Educating for the Anthropocene: Schooling and Activism in the Face of Slow Violence,” on April 27th.

Yale will host multiple conferences on South Asia in the spring semester. The first conference, from May 5–7, will be organized by Dr. Kiran Kumbhar and Professor Sunil Amrith on “Health and Justice in South Asia.” It will be followed on May 12–14 by a conference organized by Professors Rohit De and David Engerman on “Traveling Expertise.” Professor Veneeta Dayal will also hold a linguistics conference on the same dates. The month will end with a conference organized by Professors Sonam Kachru and Aleksandar Uskokov on May 16–17 centered around Words for the Heart by Maria Heim, out last year.

The SASC will also host a number of other exciting events this semester. Graduate students will continue to discuss their work through the South Asian Brown Bag Series. Ambassador Masood Khan, Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, will deliver a lecture on “Pakistan-U.S. Partnership for Regional Peace and Stability” on February 11th. Brent Bianchi, Librarian for South and Southeast Asian Studies, will present on “Doing South Asia Research at Yale Library” on February 16th. Uskokov’s recently-released book The Philosophy of the Brahma-Sutra, will be celebrated during a launch event on March 6th.

At the undergraduate level, the Yale Hindi Debate’s preliminary round will take place on April 7th; it will be followed by the national round, attended by students from across the country, on April 14th. A total of 22 undergraduate courses are being offered in South Asia this semester in subjects from religious studies to public health. The number of students majoring in South Asian Studies has doubled from previous years, and faculty have noted an increase in engagement with undergraduates.

Byline: Daevan Mangalmurti