Fall 2016 Teacher Workshops: New Perspectives on Caste in India


Thursday, October 6, 5:30pm - 7:30pm
A talk by Gajendran Ayyathurai (University of Göttingen)
“Caste and Power:  Past, Present, and Future”

Scholarly studies have contributed to better understanding of how power mediates the problems of race and gender.  However, the interconnections between the history of power and the problem of caste remain under-examined.  In this workshop, therfore, we will discuss why, how, and in what ways the subjection of humans under caste is entangled in the accumulation of power for the privileged caste groups in India.  In addition, we will examine the limitations and potentials of existing academic paradigms in engaging with caste and power in India and among the Indian disapora.  

Gajendran Ayyathurai is a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies, and a member of the Critical Caste Studies Group, at the University of Göttingen, Germany.  He earned his PhD in Anthropology at Columbia in 2011. He has taught at William Paterson University and Hunter College. His teaching and research interests include the Anthropology of South Asia; History of Modern South Asia; South Asian Diaspora; Historical Anthropology of Dalits and Non-Dalits; Buddhism and Dalits; Subaltern Religious Movements in South Asia; Historical Anthropology of South Asian Indentured Labor; and Comparative Historical Anthropology of Caste and Race. His current work-in progress is entitled Casteless Humanism: The Deep History of Anticaste Consciousness, Iyothee Thass, and Tamil Buddhism.

CANCELLED - Thursday, October 27
A talk by Ramnarayan Rawat (University of Delaware)
CANCELLED - Thursday November 3, 5:30pm - 7:30pm
A talk by Balmurli Natrajan (William Paterson University)
Saturday, November 19, 10:00am - 12:30pm
A talk by Shailaja Paik (University of Cincinnati)
"Double Discrimination: Dalit ("Untouchable") Women's Education in Modern India"

Inspired by egalitarian doctrines, Dalit communities in India have been fighting for basic human and civic rights since the middle of the nineteenth century. By focusing on the struggle of Dalit women in one arena - the realm of formal education-- Shailaja Paik examines a range of interconnected social, cultural and political questions of the larger Dalit movements. How did Dalit women who were doubly discriminated because of their caste and gender background, contribute to the Dalit movement? What did education mean to women? What were the distinct experiences of Dalit women? How were Dalit women's lives shaped by informal learning and formal education?

Shailaja Paik is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Cincinnati, and Faculty Affiliate, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Asian Studies. She earned her PhD at the University of Warwick and was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Yale University, Visiting Scholar at Emory University, and has taught at Union College.  As a historian she specializes in the social and cultural history of Modern India. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of a number of fields: modern South Asia, Dalit Studies, gender and women's studies, social and political movements, oral history, human rights and humanitarianism. Her scholarship and research interests are concerned with contributing to and furthering the dialogue in anti-colonial struggles, transnational women’s history, women-of-color feminisms, and particularly on gendering caste, and subaltern history. Paik's first book Dalit Women's Education in Modern India: Double Discrimination (2014) examines the nexus between caste, class, gender, and state pedagogical practices among Dalit ("Untouchable") women in urban India. Her second book project focuses on popular culture in modern Maharashtra.

Location for all workshops:   South Asia Institute, Knox Hall, Room 208
606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont
Morningside Campus: Map and Directions


Participants will be provided with the following books at the workshops.  Additional readings will be distributed via email and paper copies available at the workshop.

Dalit Studies.  Edited by Ramnarayan S. Rawat and K. Satyanarayana. (2016).

Sources of Indian Traditions: Modern India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh (Introduction to Asian Civilizations) (Volume 2, Third edition, 2014)


Annihilation of Caste Multimedia Study Environment (MSE) which was produced by Frances Pritchett, Professor of Modern Indic Languages, Columbia University and the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning, with additional sponsorship and funding from the Southern Asian Institute, Columbia University. The text source for this version of the Annihilation of Caste is reprinted from: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar: Writings and Speeches, Vol. 1. Bombay: Education Department, Government of Maharashtra, 1979, pp. 25-96. Annihilation of Caste was first published in Bombay, 1936; 2nd ed. 1937; 3rd ed. 1944. The site includes explanatory notes and some other important writings of Dr. Ambedkar.  

"Caste, Ambedkar and Contemporary India"  A virtual exhibit with resources for the study of caste at https://exhibitions.cul.columbia.edu/exhibits/show/ambedkar


Participants must be K-12 teachers, two- or four-year college instructors or students enrolled in graduate education degree programs. If you would like to register for either workshop, or have questions, please contact William Carrick at wac2112@columbia.edu. Participants may register for one or both workshops.

To register, please send an email to <wac2112@columbia.edu> which includes your name, school affiliation, level of students taught, and subjects taught. Student registrants should include their school and degree program, anticipated graduation date, and a very brief statement of career goals.

There is no registration fee to attend the workshop. All books and materials will be provided to participants at no cost.

For additional information, please contact William Carrick at <wac2112@columbia.edu> or by phone at (212) 854-4565.