Welcome Back!

Rohit De, acting chair of SASC
October 11, 2021

Dear Council Members,

I hope the start of term finds you well as we begin another eventful calendar of activities sponsored by the South Asian Studies Council. I’m an Associate Professor of History and am acting Chair for the SASC for 2021-22 and Alexander Uskokov is serving as Director of Undergraduate Studies this Fall. 

 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. 

The Council is particularly excited to welcome new visiting scholars, and our new postdoctoral associates (both at the SASC and elsewhere in the university). Akshaya Tankha is the Dr Malathy Singh Visiting Fellow. An art historian, his research focusses on the relationship between aesthetics and politics, postcolonialism and indigeneity in India, particularly in Nagaland. Akshaya is teaching a seminar on Visual Cultures of South Asia this semester. Sushant Singh returns to Yale as a Lecturer in Political Science and South Asian Studies and is offering a seminar on National Security in India. A senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, Sushant has had a long career in journalism, founding India Cable, was formerly Deputy Editor of the Indian Express and was twice awarded the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism. A former military officer, Sushant’s has written about national security and international affairs for a number of publications. Anthony Acciavatti is Visiting Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture. A historian of science and technology and a trained architect, Anthony Acciavatti is the author of the prize winning Ganges Water Machine, the first comprehensive mapping and urban history of the river basin. Nisha Poyyaprath Rayaroth is our Fulbright Fellow, a historian of transnational mobility and the Indian circus, she is the author of Jumbos and Jumping Devils: A Social History of the Indian Circus (2020) .We also want to welcome Savita Bala and Hiba Ahmed who will be assisting with Hindi language instruction.

Across the university, we are particularly excited to visiting fellows and associates studying the region. Amna Quayyum is the Kissinger Postdoctoral Fellow at the International Security Studies Program. A historian focusing on decolonization and development during the Cold War in South Asia, she is working on a book that situates Pakistan and Bangladesh as critical geographies in the production of global demographic knowledge and practices. Caite Peters is a Postdoctoral Associate in Agrarian Studies. A historian of empire, gender, environment and capitalism, Caitie Peter’s research brings together histories of labour and migration from the Indian and Atlantic Ocean in the Caribbean. Arjun Sharma is an Affiliate Fellow in Agrarian Studies and a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Global Governance Studies at KU Leuven. His current project, looks at the history between community based natural resource management (CBNRM) – especially water – in the Himalayas. Sohaib Khan is the Islamic Law and Civilization Research Fellow at the Kamel Center for the Study of Islamic Law at the Yale Law School and his scholarship examines Indo Muslim jurists and articulates trajectories of Islamic law from its doctrinal content to its material circulations in avowedly secular financial contexts. Mehtab Khan is a Resident Fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School and also leads the Yale/Wikimedia Initiative on Intermediaries and Information. Advait Jukar is YIBS Donnelley Postdoctoral Associate with interests are in the paleontology and ecology of the Indian Subcontinent.

We will have the opportunity to hear from 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. These include discussions with Radha Kumar on Caste Matters: The Everyday State and Caste Politics in South India; Maira Hayat on water governance and bureaucracy in Pakistan among others. Some of our colloquium meetings featuring Yale based presenters will be in a hybrid format and can be attended both online and in person. 

This year we welcome a large and diverse cohort of new graduate students specializing in South Asia and joining programs in History, Political Science, Religion, Comparative Literature, Public Health, Film Studies, Linguistics, School of Architecture, Yale Divinity School and Yale Law School.  The South Asia Brown Bag Series on Wednesday noon showcases the work of our graduate students and will be curated by Chetana Sabnis (Political Science) this year.

 We look forward to seeing you for as many events as possible, 

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


Acting Chair, South Asian Studies Council

Associate Professor
Department of History, Yale University

Rohit De, A People’s Constitution: The Everyday Life of Law in the Indian Republic (Princeton University Press, 2018)