Recent Events, 2017-18

Except as noted, the default time and location for all events:
Time:               4:15-5:45pm
Location:         Knox Hall, Room 208
606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont
Directions:       See <>
Monday, September 11
South Asia Institute Welcome Reception
Time:               5:00-7:00pm
Location:         Knox Hall, Room 207
606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont
Monday, September 18
A talk by Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, Victoria University of Wellington
“Situating Dalit in the History of Partition in Eastern India, 1946-64”
Moderated by Anupama Rao (History)
Sekhar Bandyopadhyay is Professor of Asian History and Director, New Zealand India Research Institute at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Educated at Presidency College and University of Calcutta, his primary research interest is in the history of nationalism and caste in colonial and postcolonial India. His many publications include the monograph Decolonization in South Asia: Meanings of Freedom in Post-independence West Bengal, 1947-52 (2009), and the co-edited volume, with Aloka Parasher-Sen, Religion and Modernity in India (2016).
Wednesday, September 20
Readings and Discussion with author Nabaneeta Dev Sen
Moderated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature
Nabaneeta Dev Sen is an award winning poet and novelist with over eighty books published in Bengali, including poetry, novels, short stories, plays, literary criticism, personal essays, travelogues, humor writing, translations, and children’s literature.  She has been a writer in residence at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and at Bellaggio, Italy.  In the academy, she has taught at Jadavpur University and Colorado College, and has been a Visiting Professor and Visiting Fellow at Berkeley, Harvard, Oxford, and many Indian, North American and European schools.   She earned her BA and MA from Presidency College and Jadavpur University, and MA and PhD in Comparative Literature from Harvard and Indiana Universities (respectively).
Time:  6:15pm-7:45pm
Location:  Room 207, Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont
Thursday, September 28
“Equality and Difference: Theory from the South”
Prathama Banerjee, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
Aditya Nigam, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
Organized and Moderated by Anupama Rao (History)
Co-sponsored by the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society
Prathama Banerjee is Associate Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, in Delhi.  She is an historian, trained at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.  Her current work focuses on histories of the ‘political’ in colonial and post-colonial India.  Her work seeks to tell the story of how the political emerged as a distinct domain and/or mode of thought, action, and subjectivity in modern times. She is the author of Politics of Time: 'Primitives' and History-writing in a Colonial Society (2006).
Aditya Nigam is Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, in Delhi.  His recent work has been concerned with the decolonization of social and political theory and the need to step outside theoretical frames provided by standard theory, derived primarily from Western experience, in order to theorize the contemporary experience of politics, populism and democracy in the non-West.  He is the author of The Insurrection of Little Selves: The Crisis of Secular Nationalism in India (2006), Power and Contestation: India Since 1989, with Nivedita Menon (2007), After Utopia: Modernity and Socialism and the Postcolony (2010), and Desire Named Development (2011).
Time:               6:00pm – 8:30pm
Location:         Second floor Common Room, Heyman Center for the Humanities, East Campus
Wednesday, October 4
A lecture-demonstration with
Mallika Sarabhai and the Darpana Dance Company
Mallika Sarabhai has been one of India’s leading choreographers and dancers for over three decades. As a soloist and with her own dance company, Darpana, she has been creating and performing both classical and contemporary works.   She came to international notice when she played the role of Draupadi in Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata for 5 years, performing in France, North America, Australia, Japan and Scotland.  In the mid-1990s Dr. Sarabhai began to develop her own contemporary dance vocabulary and went on to create short and full-length works which have been presented in India and in over 50 other countries.  She has a PhD in Organisational Behaviour and has been honorary Director of Darpana Academy of Performing Arts for 40 years.
Seating is limited and first-come, first seated.
Co-sponsored by the Dance Department at Barnard College, and the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life.
Time:  7:00pm - 8:30pm
Location:  Glicker-Milstein Theatre, Diana Center, Barnard College
Entrance at 117th Street and Broadway
See campus maps and directions at and <>
Monday, October 16
A Symposium on the Photography of Raghubir Singh:
Max Kozloff, former art critic for The Nation and executive editor of Artforum, and photographer and writer
Glenn Lowry, Director, Museum of Modern Art, New York, and writer and art historian
Ram Rahman, independent curator and photographer and founder member of SAHMAT collective
Raghubir Singh, Crawford Market, Bombay, 1993.  Copyright Succession Raghubir Singh.
Moderated by Gauri Viswanathan, Class of 1933 Professor in the Humanities, Department of English and Comparative Literature; Director, South Asia Institute
Co-sponsored by the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures at Barnard College, and the Heyman Center for the Humanities
From the New York TImes, October 9, 2017:  Seeing India Through a Contemporary Lens 

New York TImes Slide Show, October 9, 2017:  Raghubir Singh: India's Color Pioneer

Max Kozloff is a former art critic for The Nation and executive editor of Artforum, where he was also associate and contributing editor. He earned a BA and MA at the University of Chicago, and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the NYU Institute of Fine Arts. He has taught at Yale, NYU, and Cooper Union, among other schools. He has been awarded Pulitzer, Fulbright, and Guggenheim fellowships, and in 1990, the International Center of Photography Prize for Excellence in Writing on Photography.  As a photographer, he has exhibited in museums and galleries around the world, including one-man shows in New York, Bombay, London, Mexico City, Tel Aviv, and group shows in New York, Zurich, Paris, Bonn, and Havana. He is the author of fifteen books, including the seminal New York: Capital of Photography (2002) and Theater of the Face: Portrait Photography Since 1900 (2007). He has also published numerous portfolios of photographs, among them India’s Streets (1997). Kozloff often chooses photographic subjects that pay tribute to the photographers who have figured prominently in his writing: shop windows that reference Eugène Atget, for example, or street scenes informed by Henri Cartier-Bresson’s narrative compositions. He asks not only “What is it they show?” but also “Why do we look?”, drawing attention to larger issues of image-making and social construction, while also focusing on the particular reality of the photographs.

Glenn Lowry is Director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York since 1995. He received a BA from Williams College, and MA and PhD degrees in the history of art from Harvard University, and has been awarded honorary degrees from the College of William and Mary and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Dr. Lowry came to MoMA as a renowned specialist in Islamic art, and has lectured and written extensively in support of contemporary art and artists and the role of museums in society. Recent publications include Designing the New Museum of Modern Art (2004), Oil and Sugar: Contemporary Art and Islamic Culture (2009) and The Museum of Modern Art in This Century (2009). He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the steering committee for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, and a resident member of the American Philosophical Society. In 2004 the French Government honored Dr. Lowry with the title of Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Ram Rahman is a photographer, curator, activist, and co-founder of SAHMAT, a Delhi-based collective of artists and scholars dedicated to promoting cultural pluralism and secularism in India. After earning a BA in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he went on to study graphic design at the Yale University School of Art. Working in both color and black-and-white, Rahman is known for his street photographs of India and his environmental portraits of artists and intellectuals. His photographs have been exhibited in Canada, Europe, India, and the US.  His co-curated exhibition, with Jessica Moss, “The Sahmat Collective: Art and Activism in India since 1989,” at the Smart Museum of Art in Chicago, was honored by the 2014 Forbes Art Award for an Exhibition of Indian art curated on an international stage. His most recent publication is Sunil Janah: Photographs 1940-1960 (2014). Rahman is involved in Project 365 which seeks to photograph and preserve glimpses of the ancient Indian culture and lifestyle, focusing on the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He is interested in encouraging public art projects so as to take art to the masses, especially in the rural areas. It is part of Rahman’s larger ambition to use photographs as historical documents and develop a visual archiving culture in India. 

Time:  6:15pm – 8:00pm
Location:  Julius S. Held Lecture Hall, 3rd floor, Barnard Hall
Entrance to Barnard College at 117th Street and Broadway
Monday, October 23
A talk by New York Times Reporter Somini Sengupta
"Noonday's children: How ambition, hate, and fury are roiling India"
Moderated by Gauri Viswanathan, Class of 1933 Professor in the Humanities, Department of English and Comparative Literature; Director, South Asia Institute)
Somini Sengupta, a George Polk Award-winning foreign correspondent, has reported from a Congo River ferry, a Himalayan glacier, the streets of Baghdad and Mumbai and many places in between. She now reports from the United Nations about various global challenges, from war to women's rights to climate change.  Her first book, The End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India's Young, was published in 2016. She grew up in India, Canada and the United States, graduating from the University of California at Berkeley.
Tuesday, October 24
A talk by Vasileios Syros, The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America (Columbia)
"State Failure and Medieval Indian Historiography: A New Interpretation of ‘Afīf’s Tā’rikh-i Firūz Shāhī"
Introduction by Manan Ahmed (History)
Organized by the The Center for International History and co-sponsored by the South Asia Institute
In a novel interpretation of the work of the major historian of medieval India Shams Sirāj Afīf (fl. 1360) Tā’rikh-i Firūz Shāhī, this presentation will recover and discuss hitherto understudied aspects of ‘Afīf’s History and foreground its importance as a manual on political reform as exemplified by Firuz Shāh Tughluq’s reign (1351-1388). In addition, the presentation will relate Afif’s narratives about the challenges that confronted the Delhi Sultanate and Muḥammad bin Tughluq’s vagaries (d. 1351) to present-day debates on state failure.
Time:  4:00-5:30 pm
Location:  Fayerweather Hall, Room 411
Monday, October 30
A talk by Daniel Jeyaraj (Liverpool Hope University)
“Adopting Reformation ideals and practices in South India: Impact on Indian Agents”
Moderated by Rachel McDermott (Religion)
Organized by the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures at Barnard College
Co-sponsored by the South Asia Institute and the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life
Daniel Jeyaraj is Professor of World Christianity at Liverpool Hope University and Director of the Andrew F. Walls Centre for the Study of African and Asian Christianity. His teaching and research deal with the life, work, and writings of European missionaries and Tamil Christian leaders in 18th century India; and the study of the Royal Danish-Halle Mission, Pietism, and the emergence of Protestant churches in eighteenth century India.  He earned his first PhD in the field of German Studies from the University of Mumbai, and a second PhD in the field of Historical Theology from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg.  He is the author of Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg: the Father of Modern Protestant Mission - An Indian Assessment (2006)
Time:  4:00pm - 6:00pm
Location:  James Room, Fourth floor, Barnard Hall, Barnard College
Enter at Barnard College Main Gate, 118th and Broadway
Monday, November 13
In Memoriam:  Ainslie T. Embree (1921-2017)
Tributes will be paid to Ainslie Embree by former students, colleagues, and friends, including the former US ambassador to India.
Ainslie T. Embree was Professor of History (1958-1991) and Professor Emeritus of History (1991-2017), Columbia University.  He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University, and had taught at Indore Christian College, Duke University, and Columbia.  While at Columbia he served as Director of Contemporary Civilization, of the undergraduate Asian civilization program; as Chairman of the Middle East Languages and Cultures Department and the History Department; as Director of the Southern Asian Institute; and as Acting Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs. 
He served as President of the Association for Asian Studies and of the American Institute for Indian Studies; as Chair of South Asian sections of the American Council of Learned Societies and of the Social Science Research Council. From 1978-80, he served as the Counselor for Cultural Affairs at the American Embassy, New Delhi, and from 1994-95, he served as consultant to American Ambassador in India, Frank Wisner.
He was editor-in-chief of the four-volume Encyclopedia of Asian History (1989) and editor of the revised Sources of Indian Tradition (1988), Asia in Western and World History (with Carol Gluck, 1997),  and India’s World and U.S. Scholars: 1947-1997 (with others, 1998).  Professor Embree authored, among other publications, Imagining India: Essays on Indian History (1989), Utopias in Conflict: Religion and Nationalism in India (1990), and India’s Search for National Identity (1988), and chapters to many books on India and Southern Asia.
Time:  Reception at 5:30pm, Event begins at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Location:  Kellogg Center, Room 1501, International Affairs Building
Enter at 420 West 118th Street, at Amsterdam Avenue
Friday, November 17
A Talk by Dr. Aman Hingorani
Unravelling the Kashmir Knot
Unravelling the Kashmir Knot offers insights from a geo-strategic, legal, historical and political perspective, and a framework to understand the multi-layered Kashmir problem. Dr. Aman M. Hingorani is a lawyer and mediator in the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Delhi, and Senior Partner at Hingorini and Associates.  He earned an LLM at the University of Warwick, and a PhD at the University of Delhi. Dr. Hingorani has acted as an arbitrator and as adjunct faculty to teach law students and run training courses for judicial officers, lawyers and law teachers. He has taught in programs at the National Judicial Academy, Bhopal; Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi; Indian Law Institute, New Delhi; Keble College, University of Oxford; Law School, Warwick University; and the South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Hingorini is the author of Unravelling the Kashmir Knot (2016).
Time:               5:00-6:00pm
Location:         Knox Hall, Room 208
606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont
Monday, November 20
A Talk by Shahid Amin (Visiting Professor, Columbia Department of History)
"A Learned Clerk in the Colonial Archive: Ram Gharib Chaube, c. 1880-1900"
Moderated by Partha Chatterjee (Anthropology and MESAAS)
Shahid Amin is a Visiting Professor in the Columbia Department of History during Fall 2017.  He specializes in Modern South Asian History, with a special interest in the political, social and intellectual history of the unlettered women and men. He is interested in combining close readings of colonial texts, political and judicial,  with historical fieldwork. He earned his PhD at Oxford, and has been a Visiting Fellow at Princeton, Stanford, and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.   His publications include, Event, Metaphor, Memory: Chauri Chaura, 1922-1992 (1995); and the edited volume, A Concise Encyclopedia of North Indian Peasant Life ( 2005). His latest work is Conquest & Community: the Afterlife of Warrior Saint Ghazi Miyan(2016). He is completing a study on the role of learned Indian clerks, working under colonial official-scholars, in the compilation and systematization of linguistic knowledge and dialectology during the period 1890s-1920s.
Monday, January 29
A talk by Menaka Guruswamy (Columbia Law School)
"Crafting Accommodation and Alienation in South Asia:
The Constituent Assemblies of India, Pakistan and Nepal"
Moderated by Gauri Viswanathan, Class of 1933 Professor in the Humanities, Department of English and Comparative Literature; Director, South Asia Institute
Dr. Menaka Guruswamy is the B. R Ambedkar Research Scholar at Columbia Law School, 2017-18.  Dr. Guruswamy was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, a Gammon Fellow at Harvard Law School, and a gold medalist from the National Law School of India. She has law degrees from all three schools, with a Doctor of Philosophy in Law (D. Phil.) from Oxford University. She has been Visiting Faculty at Yale Law School, New York University School of Law, and a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin/Institute of Advanced Studies, Berlin.
Dr. Guruswamy practices law at the Supreme Court of India, and has worked at the Office of the Attorney General of India. She has practiced law in New York, as an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell, and has advised the United Nations Development Fund, and United Nations Children’s Fund, on various aspects of International Human Rights Law.  Among other cases, she successfully represented a group of retired civil servants in a constitutional case that brought reform of public administration and the bureaucracy in the country; has successfully defended federal legislation that mandates that all private schools admit disadvantaged children; and litigated successfully against Salwa Judum—state sponsored vigilante groups in Chhattisgarh. She has challenged laws that criminalise consensual same-sex relations, and is amicus curiae appointed by the Supreme Court in a case concerning 1,528 alleged extra-judicial killings by security personnel in the state of Manipur.
Monday, February 12
A talk by Daniel Sheffield (Princeton)
"Zoroastrianism and the Idea of Universal Religion between Safavid Iran and Mughal India"
Moderated by Mana Kia, Assistant Professor, Indo-Persian Studies, MESAAS
Abstract: The event of the Islamic millennium at the end of the sixteenth century was accompanied by widespread speculation about the end of an Arab dispensation and the beginning of a new era of Persian rule. As the rulers of Safavid Iran and Mughal India sought out ancient apocalyptic texts from the Zoroastrian subjects of their empires, new groups of freethinkers and occultists claiming to revive the ancient religious practices of the Persians arose across the eastern Islamic world. Focusing on the messianic thinker Āẕar Kayvān (1533–1618 CE), who moved from Safavid Iran to Mughal India with his followers in the 1570s, this talk examines the hermeneutics of the new ideas about religious difference and universalism that emerged during this period. At the conclusion of the talk, I trace the quotation of works from this period in diverse sources ranging from the Persian writings of Rammohan Roy (1772–1833) to early Indian vernacular translations of Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason to early Iranian nationalist publications of the late nineteenth century to explore the overlapping histories of early modern Islamic and European discourse on religious diversity.
Daniel Sheffield is Assistant Professor, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University.  He earned his AB, AM, and PhD from Harvard University.  He specializes in the religious, intellectual, and social history of the medieval and early modern Persian-speaking world.  Before joining Princeton, he was a member of the Department of History at the University of Washington. Sheffield is a specialist in exchanges between Safavid Iran and Mughal India, and in particular, the history of Zoroastrian communities during this period. More broadly, he is interested in the transmission and transformation of ideas from Late Antiquity into Early Modernity. His current research project examines the role that ideas about language and translation play in the development of religious and historical thought. Sheffield has recently completed a book manuscript entitled Cosmopolitan Zarathustras: Religion, Translation, and Prophethood in Iran and South Asia, which tells the story of the Zoroastrian communities of Iran and South Asia by tracing how the embrace of a cosmopolitan theological vocabulary and the reception of the canon of Classical Persian literature affects these communities, promoting the production of new forms of meaning-making and literary production under the specter of scholastic traditions inherited from Late Antiquity. He is currently pursuing research on a second book project, tentatively entitled On Translation and Toleration: The Free-Thinkers of Safavid Iran and Mughal India.  He co-edited, with Alireza Korangy, There's No Tapping around Philology: A Festschrift for Wheeler McIntosh Thackston Jr.'s 70th Birthday (2014).