South Asian Studies Council Welcomes Back Affiliates and Alumni for Spring Colloquium

February 6, 2024

Over the course of Spring 2024, South Asian Studies Council (SASC) will host four alumni and former postdoctoral affiliates as part of the Spring 2024 SASC Colloquium. The alumni, who are celebrating award-winning books, fellowship prizes, and professional accomplishments, will enrich the colloquium series with talks that span the gamut of contemporary South Asian society. Reflecting on this spring colloquium series, Tara Giangrande, SASC Program Manager, said “We love bringing alumni and former postdocs back to campus because it provides an opportunity for current students to connect on a personal level with more advanced members of the academic community who have had similar foundational experiences at Yale. It encourages both students and returning visitors to lean on and build their connections with Yale and with SASC as they navigate their careers.”

Madhavi Murty

On February 6, Madhavi Murty, associate professor in the Feminist Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, will discuss her book Stories that Bind: Political Economy and Culture in New India (Rutgers, 2022). Stories that Bind, which received the International Communication Association’s Outstanding Book Award, is an interrogation of what Murty calls “spectacular realism,” the intersection of narratives of Hindu nationalism and neoliberalism in Indian popular culture. Her lecture will take place at 12 PM on Tuesday, February 6 in Luce Hall Room 203.

Murty was previously a postdoctoral fellow at South Asian Studies Council. She is currently at work on her second book, Sonic India: Sound and the Making of Folk Nationalisms.

Aniket Aga

On February 13, Aniket Aga PhD ’16, assistant professor of geography at the University at Buffalo, will present “Covid-19 and the Right to Information: Transparency Struggles and the Political Economy of India.” The talk will examine civic-state engagement in India in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, focusing on the use of the 2005 Right to Information Act to challenge illiberality in the Indian state. Aga will stay at Yale for more than a week to engage with students and faculty. His lecture will take place at 12 PM on Tuesday, February 13 in Luce Hall Room 203.

Aga completed his PhD in anthropology in 2016 under the supervision of K. Sivaramakrishnan, Dinakar Singh Professor of India & South Asia Studies. His thesis, “Genetically Modified Democracy: The Science and Politics of Transgenic Agriculture in Contemporary India,” received the 2016 Sardar Patel Dissertation Award for the best doctoral dissertation on modern India from a U.S. institution. His first book, Genetically Modified Democracy: Transgenic Crops in Contemporary India (Yale, 2021), won the 2022 Ludwik Fleck Prize, awarded annually to an outstanding book in science and technology studies.

Kiran Kumbhar

On February 20, Kiran Kumbhar, postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will discuss “AIIMS New Delhi: Tumultuous Beginnings of Indigenous Medical Modernity.” The talk will analyze the establishment of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, one of India’s premier medical and academic institutions. The lecture will take place at 12 PM on Tuesday, February 20 in Luce Hall Room 203.

Kumbhar, who is a medical doctor as well as a PhD, held the Dr. Malathy Singh Visiting

Fellowship at Yale in 2022–23. He is currently working on a manuscript based on his dissertation, “Healing and Harming: The ‘Noble Profession’ of Medicine in Post-Independence India, 1947-2015.” While at Yale, he taught the seminars “Tradition, Modernity, and Medicine in South Asia,” and “Medicine Multiple: Biomedicine in the Global South.” Eesha Bodapati YC ’25 said, “Professor Kiran Kumbhar’s class was one of my favorite classes that I have taken at Yale. Professor Kumbhar is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about the topics that he is teaching, and is truly one of the kindest professors you will meet. He is very invested in every student succeeding and gaining valuable takeaways from the course.”

Kalyani Ramnath

 On April 9, Kalyani Ramnath LLM ’10, Assistant Professor of History at University of Georgia, will deliver a colloquium based on her new book, Boats in a Storm: Law, Migration and Decolonization in South and Southeast Asia 1942 – 1962 (Stanford, 2023). Boats in a Storm is a study of the interaction of decolonization, history, and migration in the post-colonial Indian Ocean world. Her lecture will take place at 12 PM on Tuesday, April 9 in Luce Hall Room 203.

Ramnath last spoke at Yale in 2019, when she was a Prize Fellow in Economics, History, and Politics at the Center for History and Economics at Harvard University.

Byline: Daevan Mangalmurti