Fall 2018 Calendar of Events

Except as noted, the default time and location for all events:
Time:  4:15-5:45pm
Location:   Knox Hall, Room 208
Street Address:  606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont
Thursday, October 25
A Symposium at the Asia Society
“The Progressive Genealogy: Art and Culture in Modern India”
An interdisciplinary collaboration between the Asia Society and the South Asia Institute
In conjunction with the Asia Society exhibition
(14 September 14, 2018 - 20 January 20, 2019)
Link to Symposium Agenda on Asia Society website.
11:00–11:15am:  Opening remarks
11:15am–12:45pm:  Panel I: The Progressive Artists’ Group: Creating Modern India
Zehra Jumabhoy, Associate Lecturer, Courtauld Institute of Art, London
Sonal Khullar, Associate Professor, Art History, University of Washington
Karin Zitzewitz, Associate Professor, South Asian Art, Michigan State University
Moderated by Boon Hui Tan, Vice President of Global Arts & Cultural Programs and Director of Asia Society Museum, New York
1:45–3:15pm:  Panel II:  The “Progressive” narratives in arts and sciences in New India
Sonali Perera, Associate Professor, English, Hunter College/CUNY
Debashree Mukherjee, Assistant Professor, Modern South Asian Studies (MESAAS)
Kavita Sivaramakrishnan, Associate Professor, Sociomedical Sciences, School of Public Health
Moderated by Gauri Viswanathan, Class of 1933 Professor in the Humanities, English and Comparative Literature; and Director, South Asia Institute
3:30–5:00pm: Panel III: The Legacy of the Progressives
Jitish Kallat, artist, Mumbai
Brinda Kumar, Assistant Curator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Anupama Rao, Associate Professor of History and MESAAS
Moderated by Vishakha Desai, Senior Advisor for Global Affairs; Senior Research Scholar in Global Studies, Columbia
6:30pm – 8:00pm:  “The Progressive Genealogy: Art and Culture in Modern India” 
Keynote Address by Homi Bhabha (Harvard University)
Time:  11:00am – 8:00pm
Location:  Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street
To Register for the Symposium, or purchase tickets to the Keynote address,
Visit the “Symposium” page at the Asia Society webpage
Monday, October 29
A talk by Manu Goswami (New York University)
“‘The Communism of Intelligence': Early Communism in late Imperial India"
Manu Goswami is Associate Professor of History at New York University.  She earned her PhD at the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching center on nationalism and internationalism, political economy and the history of economic thought, social theory and historical methods. Her book, Producing India: From Colonial Economy to National Space was published in 2004 as the inaugural volume of an interdisciplinary book series, Chicago Studies in the Practices of Meaning. She is currently working on an intellectual and political history of colonial internationalisms during the interwar decades. Her longer-run research interests include the place and status of empire in the work of major classical and neo-classical economists during the nineteenth and twentieth century. She was a fellow in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in 2010-2011.
Monday, November 5:  All Classes suspended
Tuesday, November 6:  University closed for Election Day
Thursday, November 8 – 6:15pm. 
A talk by Priya Jaikumar (University of Southern California)
“Globalization’s Histories Written in Cinematic Space”
Moderated by Debashree Mukherjee (MESAAS)
Abstract:  Conceiving of cinematic space as the tensile relationship between a film’s screen spaces and its social spaces, which together constitute the sites of cinema’s visual appearance and its institutional materialities, I propose that Bollywood’s backgrounds register the nation’s politico-economic transition with acuity. Cinema’s heterogeneous artifactual status as a regulated and profit-making commodity, technological apparatus, representational medium and employment opportunity links the changing look of contemporary Hindi cinema’s mise-en-scène to the current commodification of land and leisure, the technologization of environment, and the shifting social range of Bollywood’s professional workers in globalizing India.  The composition and appearance of a film’s background encodes larger socio-economic histories of India’s transition from quasi-socialist secularism to aggressive privatization, ethnocentrism, and the commodification of everyday life. Based on my conversations with industry professionals working on film locations and backgrounds in 2013, in the months leading up to a national election that put Narendra Modi in power, this talk illustrates a spatial film historiography that asks film historians to account for a politics and phenomenology of place.
Priya Jaikumar is Associate Professor, Division of Cinema and Media Studies, School of Cinematic Arts, at the University of Southern California. A historian and theorist of colonial and postcolonial cinemas, she has written on comparative modernities and aesthetics in film, critical theories of film history, place and space in cinema, film and cultural geography, and transnational feminism   She has taught at Syracuse University and has worked in India as a television and print journalist, with Business TV India, The Indian Express, and The Economic Times.  She earned her PhD at Northwestern University, and MA from Ohio State, and her BA from Delhi University, with post-graduate work at the Indian Institute of Mass Communications.  She is the author of Cinema at the End of Empire: A Politics of Transition in Britain and India (2006), and the forthcoming Where Histories Reside: India as Filmed Space.  The former book was chosen by Duke University Press to be included in the open access “Knowledege Unlatched” program, which features over 1,000 full text books from university presses on the website of Open Access Publishing in European Networks (OAPEN).
Time:  6:00pm – 7:30pm
Location:  Room 208, Knox Hall
606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont
Monday, November 12
A talk by author Sujatha Gidla
"Caste Oppression in India"
Summary:  More than 206 million people in India were born untouchable, with 500 million more belonging to low castes that are also oppressed under the caste system.  Caste is neither simply a bad idea nor an irrelevant remnant of ancient times. It has roots in the economic structure of contemporary India.  I will be discussing caste—a central question for the Indian left—in light of my experience as an untouchable from the state of Andhra Pradesh and one-time activist for the Radical Students’ Union, as well as the research I conducted for my book about my family history, Ants Among Elephants.
Sujatha Gidla is the author of Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India (2017), a widely praised memoir of her extended family. Ants Among Elephants was listed in the Top 10 Nonfiction Books of 2017 selected by the Wall Street Journal.  Her writing has appeared in the Oxford India Anthology of Telugu Dalit Writing (2016).  Sujatha Gidla earned an MSc in Physics at the Regional Engineering College, Warangal, India, and worked as a researcher in the Department of Applied Physics at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.
Tuesday, November 13
A talk by Patrick Eisenlohr
“Atmospheric Citizenship: Sonic Movement and Public Religion in Shi’ite Mumbai”

Co-sponsored by the South Asia Institute and the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life, as part of the "Rethinking Public Religion" Project

Abstract:  This talk will focus on the sonic dimensions of religious life and place-making in Mumbai, and its connections to a “right to the city” for people facing a precarious future. Muslim traders were among the original inhabitants of Bombay and played a crucial role in its rise to the imperial hub of the Indian Ocean, and finally a global city. In present-day Mumbai however, the great majority of Muslims are in very marginal positions, having been subject to violence as well as socio-economic exclusion and ghettoization. For the staging of claims to the city, public religious rituals and processions have long played very important roles in Mumbai. For Twelver Shi‘ite Muslims, they have constituted a chief means of marking certain areas as “Shia” and thus defending their right to be in and belong to the city in the face of an uncertain future. While soundscape is an established concept for the investigation of the sonic aspects of urban place-making, including its religious dimensions, Eisenlohr argues that an analytic of atmospheres is better suited to capture the powerful emotive dimensions of place-making through sonic performances. As an example, this talk addresses ritual performances and processions among Twelver Shi‘ite Muslims during the Islamic month of Muharram.
Patrick Eisenlohr is Professor of Anthropology, Chair of Society and Culture in Modern India at the University of Göttingen. He obtained a PhD from the University of Chicago and previously held positions at Washington University in St. Louis, New York University, and Utrecht University. He is the author of Little India:  Diaspora, Time and Ethnolinguistic Belonging in Hindu Mauritius (2006), and Sounding Islam: Voice, Media, and Sonic Atmospheres in an Indian Ocean World (2018). He has conducted research on transnational Hindu and Muslim networks in the Indian Ocean region, particularly between Mauritius and India, the relationships between religion, language, and media, the sonic dimensions of religion, the links between media practices and citizenship, as well as language and diaspora.
Time: 4:10 pm - 6:00 pm
Location:  Location:   Knox Hall, Room 208
Street Address:  606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont


Wednesday - Friday, November 21, 22, and 23:  University closed for Thanksgiving Recess
Monday, November 26
A talk by Kavita Sivaramakrishnan (Mailman School of Public Health)
Title to be announced
Kavita Sivaramakrishnan is Associate Professor, Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, and an Affiliated Faculty with the History Department. She earned a BA at St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, and a BA at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, and her PhD at Jawaharlal Nehru University.  She was David Bell Research Fellow at the Center for Population Studies and Development Studies at Harvard University and was awarded the Balzan Fellowship for her work on social inequalities and health by University College London.
Prof. Sivaramakrishnan is a public health historian of South Asia with a focus on the politics of health, medicine and science in the global South. Her early research focused on the politics of ‘indigenous’ Ayurvedic medicine and its reconfiguring in a late colonial context in North India through claims and representations based on language and religion, published as Old Potions, New Bottles: Recasting Indigenous Medicine in Colonial Punjab"(2006). She has worked on social histories of epidemics and the role played by experts and scientific evidence, including the plague and its national and regional politics in South Asia. Her most recent research is on the global politics of aging, which culminated in her recent publication, As the World Ages: Rethinking a Demographic Crisis (2018).  Her current book project focuses on the history of consumption and disease risks in South Asia, tracing the transformation of bodies, metabolisms and minds in South Asia over the past century that have redrawn the map of South Asia’s epidemiological and social history. She is collaborating with David Jones (Harvard University) and writing a monograph on heart disease in India and the making of new networks of medical expertise; and works with Jennifer Manly on a research project on cultures of aging and cognitive decline in India and South Africa.