2015-16 South Asia Institute Colloquium Series

Except as noted, the default time and location for all events:
Time:               4:00-5:30pm
Location:         Knox Hall, Room 208
606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont
Monday, October 12
A talk by Chris Fuller (London School of Economics)
“The peripheral position of India in British anthropology during the colonial era”
Chris Fuller is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. Fuller has researched and written extensively on popular Hinduism and Hindu nationalism, the caste system, the anthropology of the state, nationalism and globalization in India, and other topics. His publications include The renewal of the priesthood: Modernity and traditionalism in a South Indian temple (2004); The camphor flame: Popular Hinduism and Indian society (2004); and the co-edited volume Globalizing India: Perspectives from below (2005).
Tuesday, October 20
A talk by Pratap Bhanu Mehta
"The Identity of Modern Indian Political Thought"
Time:  12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location:  Fayerweather Hall, Room 411 (Upper Campus)
Organized by the Committee on Global Thought

Pratap Bhanu Mehta is the Fall 2015 Ahuja Fellow at the South Asia Institute.  Mehta is president and chief executive of the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.  He is a political scientist who has taught at Harvard University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the New York University School of Law. His areas of research include political theory, constitutional law, society and politics in India, governance and political economy, and international affairs.  Dr Mehta holds a BA (first class) in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford and a PhD in politics from Princeton. He received the 2010 Malcom S. Adishehshiah Award and the 2011 Infosys Prize for Social Sciences - Political Science.

Dr Mehta has served on many central government committees, including India’s National Security Advisory Board, the Prime Minister of India’s National Knowledge Commission, and a Supreme Court-appointed committee on elections in Indian universities. Mehta is a prolific writer; he is an editorial consultant to the Indian Express, and his columns have appeared in dailies including the Financial Times, the Telegraph, the International Herald Tribune, and the Hindu. He is also on the editorial boards of many academic journals, including the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Democracy, and India and Global Affairs.
Tuesday, October 20
A talk by Rudarangshu Mukherjee (Ashoka University)
“Why Liberal Arts in India?”
Rudrangshu Mukherjee is Vice-Chancellor and Professor of History at Ashoka University. He was most recently Editor of the Editorial Pages, at The Telegraph, Kolkata.  Prof. Mukherjee has taught history at the University of Calcutta and held visiting appointments at Princeton University, the University of Manchester and the University of California, Santa Cruz.  He studied at Presidency College (Kolkata) Jawaharlal Nehru University, and earned a D.Phil in Modern History at the University of Oxford in 1981.  Prof. Mukherjee is the author of five books on the revolt of 1857 in India including Awadh in Revolt, 1857-58A Study of Popular Resistance (2002).  Among many other publications are the edited volume, The Penguin Gandhi Reader (1995); and the 2014 monograph, Nehru & Bose: Parallel Lives.
Friday, October 23
A discussion with Amartya Sen and Pratap Bhanu Mehta
“Indian Politics and Political Economy Today”
Time:  3:00pm - 4:30pm
Location:  Altschuler Auditorium, 417 International Affairs Building
420 West 118th Street at Amsterdam Avenue
Limited Seating, first come, first seated.
Register at the Columbia SIPA Events Calendar, <https://sipa.columbia.edu/experience-sipa/events/month>
or at the  Columbia Events Calendar, <https://events.columbia.edu/>
Amartya Sen is Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, at Harvard University.  He was until 2004 the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. Sen earlier held appointments at Jadavpur University Calcutta, the Delhi School of Economics, the London School of Economics, and Oxford University. His research has ranged over social choice theory, economic theory, ethics and political philosophy, welfare economics, theory of measurement, decision theory, development economics, public health, and gender studies.  Among the awards he has received are the Bharat Ratna, the Agnelli International Prize in Ethic, the Edinburgh Medal, the Brazilian Ordem do Merito Cientifico, the Eisenhower Medal, the Legion of Honour (France), Honorary Companion of Honour (UK), the George C. Marshall Award (US), the National Humanities Medal (US), and the Nobel Prize in Economics.
Pratap Bhanu Mehta is the inaugural Ahuja Fellow at the South Asia Institute.  Mehta is president and chief executive of the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. (See bio above, October 19.)
Friday, October 23
A lecture and demonstration
by dancer and choreographer Leela Sampson
Time:  5:30pm – 7:00pm
Location:  Barnard Hall, Room 305, 118th Street at Broadway
Register at the Columbia Events Calendar, <https://events.columbia.edu/>
Leela Samson is a dancer, teacher, writer and choreographer of bharatanatyam. She has been deeply influenced by Rukmini Devi Arundale, who founded Kalakshetra, the premier academy of arts in Chennai, where she studied during her formative years.  In 1995, she formed a group called Spanda, to explore group dynamics in bharatanatyam. Leela Samson has authored several articles as well as two books, Rhythm in Joy (1987) and Rukmini Devi: A Life (2010). Samson has served as Director of the Kalakshetra Foundation, and as Chairperson of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.
Friday, October 30
A talk by Pratap Bhanu Mehta
"The Indian Constitution Today: Challenges and Compromises"
Time: 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Location:  Kellogg Center, Room 1501 International Affairs Building,  420 West 118th Street at Amsterdam Avenue
Register at the Columbia Events Calendar, <https://events.columbia.edu/>
Pratap Bhanu Mehta is the inaugural Ahuja Fellow at the South Asia Institute.  Mehta is president and chief executive of the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. (See bio above, October 19.)
Friday, October 30
In Concert at the Miller Theater
Time:  8:00pm – 10:00pm
Location:  Miller Theatre
Ticketing information and purchase:
Miller Theater Box Office:  (212) 854-7799
Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan descends from six generations of sitarists, and is one of the leading exponents of the Etawah Gharana, a musical tradition or "family" committed to the sitar. He is the grandson of Waheed Khan, the surbahar and sitar virtuoso, who was the younger brother of Inayat Khan.  Shahid was first introduced to vocal and tabla by his father Aziz Khan, before he was initiated into the art of playing sitar.  In 2007, the New York Times called him “one of India’s more celebrated younger musicians, prized especially for the vocalistic phrasing of his raga improvisations.”
Wednesday, November 11
A discussion with Qalandar Memon, Etienne Balibar, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
"Our Struggles"
Organized by the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society
Co-sponsored by the South Asia Institute
Time:  4:00pm – 5:30pm
Location:  Room 208 Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont
Qalandar Memon is a writer and poet, and editor of the on-line magazine, NakedPunch.comEtienne Balibar is Visiting Professor in the Department of French and Romance Literature at Columbia; Professor Emeritus of moral and political philosophy at Université de Paris X – Nanterre, and Distinguished Professor of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is University Professor and a founding member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia.
Monday, November 16
A talk by Michael Meister (Pennsylvania)
"The Measure of Monuments"
Michael W. Meister is W. Norman Brown Professor of South Asia Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He has served as Chair of the Departments of South Asia Studies, and History of Art and Director of Penn's South Asia Center. He is Curator of Indian Art, Asian section, University Museum, and Curator of the South Asia Art Archive. Meister is a specialist in the art of India and Pakistan, and his research and writing focuses on temple architecture, the morphology of meaning, and other aspects of the art of the Indian sub-continent. His most recent book is Temples of the Indus: Studies in the Hindu Architecture of Ancient Pakistan (2010).
Monday, February 8
A talk by Lisa Mitchell (Pennsylvania)
"Hailing the State:  Collective Assembly
and the Politics of Recognition in the History of Indian Democracy"
Lisa Mitchell is an anthropologist and historian of southern India, and earned her PhD (with distinction) at Columbia.  Her interdisciplinary research and teaching interests include political practice, public space, and the built environment; the cultural history of cement in South Asia; ethnography of informal urban credit networks; technology and infrastructure as they impact social, cultural, and political forms and everyday practices; neoliberalism and economic corridors; ethnographic approaches to the state; colonialism; and Telugu language and literature. She is the author of Language, Emotion, and Politics in South India: The Making of a Mother Tongue (2009), and is currently finishing a book on The Politics of Recognition: Collective Assembly, Public Space, and Political Practice in the History of Indian Democracy.
Monday, February 22
A talk by Anthony Acciavatti (School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation)
"Ganges Water Machine: Infrastructure Across the Ganga River Basin since 1854"

Moderated by Upmanu Lall (Alan & Carol Silberstein Professor of Engineering, Fu Foundation School of Engineering; and Director, Columbia Water Center)

Anthony Acciavatti is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. An historian of science and technology, with a background in architecture, he has spent the last ten years hiking, driving, and boating across the Ganga basin in India to make a dynamic atlas. Ganges Water Machine: Designing New India’s Ancient River (2015), a book and traveling exhibition, is the outcome of this field and archival research.   
Monday, February 29
A talk by Kavita Singh (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
“Exhibiting the Unspeakable?
Minority Communities, Difficult Histories and the Holocaust Museum Paradigm in India”
Kavita Singh is Associate Professor at School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her research interests include History of museums in colonial and post-colonial India; the global art museum; repatriation; religious objects and secularization of art; religious revivalism and its cultural forms; heritage discourse; historiography of art history; history of Indian courtly painting.  Her recent publications include No Touching, No Spitting, No Praying: The Museum in South Asia (with Saloni Mathur, 2015). 
March 2015, date to be announced
“Futures of South Asian Pasts: a Workshop on New Trends in Historiography”
Co-sponsored by the History Department
Contact:  Prof. Manan Ahmed at <ma3179@columbia.edu>
Time, location, and participants to be announced
March/April 2015, date to be announced
FIlm Screening followed by a discussion with Director Nakul Singh Sawhney 
Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai  [Muzaffarnagar, Eventually]
(2014/135 mins),
Hindi with English subtitles
Moderated by Shayoni Mitra (Theatre Department, Barnard College)
Date, time, and location to be announced
In September, 2013, Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts of Western Uttar Pradesh witnessed their worst ever anti-Muslim pogrom since Indian Independence. More than 100 people were killed and close to 80,000 people were displaced. The film looks at the social, political, and economic repercussions of the massacre, and how they found resonance in the 2014 Indian General Election campaign.
Nakul Singh Sawhney’s first film, With a little help from my friends, earned an award for the 2nd best film at the 60 Seconds to Fame film festival in Chennai in 2005. While studying at the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune during 2005-06, his films Agaurav and Undecided which were cited for 2nd Best Film and Best Director respectively at the Hyderabad International Film Festival. His feature films to date include the documentary Once upon a time in Chheharta (2007) on the history of the working class movement of Chheharta, Amritsar; and the highly acclaimed film Izzatnagari Ki Asabhya Betiyaan (2012) on “honour” crimes in Haryana.
Monday, April 11
A talk by Jan Bremen (Amsterdam)
“On Poverty and Pauperism in India”
Jan Breman is Professor of Comparative Sociology in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. He has served as Dean of the Centre for Asian Studies Amsterdam (CASA) and the Amsterdam School for Social Science Research.  He previously taught at Erasmus University (the former Netherlands Economic School) in Rotterdam, where he held a chair in the sociology of development, and at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. He has been a Visiting Professor in India (Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi) and in Indonesia (Agricultural University, Bogor), and has travelled widely on short-term academic visits to other Asian countries. Breman has conducted anthropological fieldwork in India (South Gujarat) and Indonesia (West Java), mainly on rural and urban labour and employment. His most recent books include Outcast labour in Asia: circulation and informalization of the workforce at the bottom of the economy (2012) and At work in the informal economy of India: a perspective from the bottom up (2013).
Monday, April 18
A talk by Veena Das (The Johns Hopkins University)
Title to be announced
Veena Das is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology at the Johns Hopkins University. Before joining Johns Hopkins, she taught at the Delhi School of Economics for many years and held a joint appointment at the New School for Social Research from 1997- 2000. Das has been a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Chicago, Heidelberg, Harvard, and Paris, as well as the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris.  Her research covers a range of fields: the question of how ethnography generates concepts; how we might treat philosophical and literary traditions from India and other regions as generative of theoretical and practical understanding of the world; how to render the texture and contours of everyday life; and the way that the everyday and the event are joined together in the making of the normal and the critical. Das’s most recent books are Life and Words: Violence and the Descent into the Ordinary (2007); Affliction: Health, Disease, Poverty (2015); and three co-edited volumes, The Ground Between: Anthropologists Engage Philosophy (2014), Living and Dying in the Contemporary World: A Compendium (2015) and Politics of the Urban Poor (forthcoming).
Friday, April 29
Books and Authors
A talk by Shahid Amin
Conquest & Community: the Afterlife of Warrior-Saint Ghazi Miyan
Moderated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor, English and Comparative Literature

Shahid Amin received his D.Phil. from Oxford University and is currently Professor of History at the University of Delhi. Among his publications are Event, Metaphor, Memory: Chauri Chaura, 1922-1992 (1995) and Writing Alternative Histories: A View from India (2002). He is the editor of A Concise Encyclopedia of North Indian Peasant Life (2005), the co-editor, with Gyan Pandey, of Nimnvargiya Itihas, Bhag Ek, Bhag Do (1994, 2001), and has also written the Hindustani dialogues of the feature film Karvan, directed by Pankaj Butalia.

Monday, May 2
Mary Keating Das Lecture
David Shulman (Hebrew University)
"The Serpent's Ecstasy:  Deep Seeing in the Sanskrit Theater of Kerala"
David Shulman is the Renee Lang Professor of Humanistic Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  He earned his PhD at the University of London, and has been a Visiting Professor at Johns Hopkins, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin-Madison.   His research interests include the history of religion in South India; Poetry and poetics in Tamil, Telugu, and Sanskrit; Tamil Islam; Dravidian linguistics; and Carnatic music.  His recent publications include More than Real: A History of the Imagination in South India (2012); The Sound of the Kiss, or The Story That Must Never Be Told, translations, with Pingali Suranna and Velcheru Narayana Rao (2012); Textures of Time: Writing History in South India 1600-1800, with Sanjay Subrahmanyam and Velcheru Narayana Rao (2013).