All events were online, and if a recording is avaliable, the link to view it is posted. If there is no link, there is no recording.
and The Ambedkar Initiative at ICLS
and The Ambedkar Initiative at ICLS
Time: 10:00am - 12:00pm
To view the event recording online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-86cytPxio8
William Elison is Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara. An ethnographer and historian, he works in the areas of South Asian Religions, Religion and Media, and Visual Culture. Much of his work has focused on the problem of mediation of subject positions by visual forms such as sacred icons and popular cinema. His most recent publication is The Neighborhood of Gods: The Sacred and the Visible at the Margins of Mumbai (2018), which was part of the South Asia Across the Disciplines Series, a joint venture of the university presses at Berkeley, Chicago, and Columbia.
Neepa Majumdar is an Associate Professor of English and Film and Media Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include star studies, film sound, South Asian early cinema, documentary film, and questions of film history and historiography. Her book Wanted Cultured Ladies Only!: Female Stardom and Cinema in India, 1930s to 1950s (2009) won an Honorable Mention in the 2010 Best First Book Award of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Her essays have appeared in The Canadian Journal of Film Studies, South Asian Popular Culture, and Post Script, and various anthologies on sound in film and film analysis.
Debashree Mukherjee is Assistant Professor, Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies. She is affiliated with Center for Comparative Media; Film & Media Program, School of the Arts; Institute for Research on Women, Gender, & Sexuality (IRWGS). Prof. Mukherjee is a film historian and media theorist working across the fields of production studies, new materialisms, feminist film historiography, postcolonial studies, and South Asian studies. Her new book, Bombay Hustle: Making Movies in a Colonial City (Columbia University Press, 2020), presents a practice-oriented history of the consolidation of the Bombay film industry in the 1930s. The book investigates the material relations between cinema’s bodies, machines, aesthetics, and environments as they intersect with practices of modernity and freedom in late colonial India.
Gyan Prakash is the Dayton-Stockton Professor of History, Princeton University. His general field of research and teaching interests concerns urban modernity, the colonial genealogies of modernity, and problems of postcolonial thought and politics. Until the dissolution of the Subaltern Studies group in 2008, he was a member of its editorial collective, actively involved in the publication and other intellectual activities of this group of scholars. His most recent publication is Emergency Chronicles: Indira Gandhi and Democracy's Turning Point (2019)
TIme: 10:00am - 12:00pm
To view Event recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUtuSdX8c3A
Usha Iyer is Assistant Professor, Film and Media Studies, in the Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University. Professor Iyer's research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of cinema, performance, and gender studies with a specific focus on stardom, body cultures, spectatorial desire and engagement, and the political economy of transnational media. Her new book, Dancing Women: Choreographing Corporeal Histories of Popular Hindi Cinema (Oxford University Press, 2020), examines the role of dance in the construction of female stardom in popular Hindi cinema from the 1930s to the 1990s, theorizing and historicizing film dance, a staple “attraction” of the popular Indian film form, in relation to the construction of cinematic narratives, star bodies, and spectator-citizens.
Event abstract: Across South Asia as the COVID-19 pandemic deepens, it has exposed challenges relating to public trust in pandemic preparedness, containment and questioned the power and limits of expert knowledge. How has the political and public health leadership in India projected pandemic related interventions, and what are the fluid borders between public health facts, lived experiences and media propaganda? The pandemic crisis is also linked to significant historical antecedents over the past decades. The COVID-19 pandemic follows decades of neoliberal policies and health systems reforms in India and across the world, that have had severe implications for affordable access to health services and enlarged the private health sector. How has this shaped access to care and the ethics of accountability during a crisis? How do pandemic politics distract and deploy 'history' and deepen 'other' forms of social stigma and virulent marginalization, and how has the media been critical in these debates? What futures can we see in a post- pandemic world, to rebuild and overcome some of these fractures?
Organized by the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality and co-sponsored by the South Asia Institute and the South Asia Journalists Association of the Columbia Journalism School.
Portrayed in Western discourse as tribal and traditional, Afghans have intensely debated women's rights, democracy, modernity, and Islam as part of their nation building in the post-9/11 era. Wazhmah Osman places television at the heart of these public and politically charged clashes while revealing how the medium also provides war-weary Afghans with a semblance of open discussion and healing. Fieldwork from across Afghanistan allowed Osman to record the voices of Afghan media producers and people from all sectors of society. Afghans offer their own seldom-heard views on the country's cultural progress and belief systems, their understandings of themselves, and the role of international interventions. Osman looks at the national and transnational impact of media companies like Tolo TV, Radio Television Afghanistan, and foreign media giants and funders like the British Broadcasting Corporation and USAID. By focusing on local cultural contestations, productions, and social movements, Television and the Afghan Culture Wars redirects the global dialogue about Afghanistan to Afghans and thereby challenges top-down narratives of humanitarian development.
Wazhmah Osman is a filmmaker and Assistant Professor in the Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University. She is a faculty member in the Master of Science in Globalization and Development Communication program and the PhD program in Media and Communication; and is a faculty affiliate of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies (GSWS) program, and at the South Asia Center at University of Pennsylvania. Osman earned her PhD in 2012 from New York University, where she studied Media, Culture and Communication, and was a graduate of the Culture and Media program of the Anthropology Department. Her research and teaching are rooted in feminist media ethnographies that focus on the political economy of global media industries and the regimes of representation and visual culture they produce. Her critically acclaimed documentary, Postcards from Tora Bora, has been shown in festivals around the world. Her most recent publication, Television and the Afghan Culture Wars: Brought to You by Foreigners, Warlords, and Activists was published in November 2020 by the University of Illinois Press. She is the coauthor, with Robert Crews, of the upcoming Afghanistan: A Very Short Introduction.
Manijeh Moradian is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Barnard College. She received her PhD in American Studies from NYU and her MFA in creative nonfiction from Hunter College, CUNY. Her book, This Flame Within: Iranian Revolutionaries in the United States, is forthcoming from Duke University Press. Her essays and articles have appeared in Routledge Handbook of the Global Sixties, Scholar & Feminist Online, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Comparative Studies of South Asian, Africa, and the Middle East, Social Text online, jadaliyya.com, tehranbureau.com, Bi Taarof, and Callaloo. She is a member of the Iran Page editorial board at Jadaliyya and a founding member of Raha Iranian Feminist Collective.
Manan Ahmed is Associate Professor in the History Department at Columbia University. He is an historian of South Asia and the littoral western Indian Ocean world from 1000-1800 CE. His areas of specialization include intellectual history in South and Southeast Asia; critical philosophy of history, colonial and anti-colonial thought. He is interested in how modern and pre-modern historical narratives create understandings of places, communities, and intellectual genealogies for their readers. Prof. Ahmed’s second book, The Loss of Hindustan: The Invention of India (Harvard University Press, 2020), tells a history of the historians of the subcontinent from the tenth to the early twentieth century. The core of the book is the history Tarikh-i Firishta which was written by Muhammad Qasim Firishta (b. ca. 1570) in the Deccan in the early seventeenth century. Broadly, the book presents a concept-history of “Hindustan,” a political and historiographic category that was subsumed by the colonial project of creating British India and the subsequent polities of “Republic of India” and “Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”
Dr. Vishakha N. Desai is Chair, Committee on Global Thought; Senior Advisor for Global Affairs to the President of Columbia University; and a Senior Research Scholar for the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. She also serves as Senior Advisor for Global Programs to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. From 2004 through 2012, Dr. Desai served as President and CEO of the Asia Society, a global organization dedicated to strengthening partnerships between Asia and the U.S. In 2012, in recognition of Dr. Desai’s leadership in the museum field, President Barack Obama appointed her to serve on the National Museum and Library Services Board. An internationally renowned scholar of Asian art, she has published and lectured extensively on the intersection of traditional and contemporary arts and policy in diverse countries of Asia. Dr. Desai holds a B.A. in Political Science from Bombay University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Asian Art History from the University of Michigan, in addition to honorary degrees from Williams College, Centre College, Pace University, The College of Staten Island, and Susquehanna University.
Purnima Dhavan is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Washington. Her Fields of Interest include Comparative Gender; Environmental History; Islamic Studies; Literature; Science and Technology; and South Asia. Her research interests encompass the social and cultural history of early modern South Asia, 1500-1800. The ways in which religious, linguistic, and status identities shaped the political and cultural institutions of the Mughal period are central to her work. Prof. Dhavan’s first book, When Sparrows Became Hawks: the Making of Khalsa Martial Tradition (2011) examined the transformation of North Indian peasants into high-status warriors as they became members of the Sikh warrior order, the Khalsa. Her second book project, The Lords of the Pen: Literary Associations in Early Modern South Asia, examines the literary activities of poets in emerging urban centers of the Mughal Empire to understand how participation in literary associations shaped understandings of caste, gender, and religious identity, to engage with larger questions of how notions of the “public” and “common good” emerged in different parts of the world.
Ayesha Ramachandran is an Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Yale University. Her research interests include Early modern European literature and cultural history; Renaissance poetry; history of science and technology (sixteenth and seventeenth century); cartography and literature; early modern empires and international law; history of philosophy; Europe and the Indo-Islamic world. Her recent work focuses on Europe’s relations with an expanding world. Her first book, The Worldmakers (University of Chicago Press, 2015) charts transnational encounters and the early mechanisms of globalization from the late fifteenth to the early eighteenth centuries. It was awarded the MLA’s Scaglione prize in Comparative Literary Studies (2017), the Milton Society of America’s Shawcross Prize for the best book chapter on Milton (2016), and the Sixteenth Century Studies Association’s Founder’s Prize for the best first book manuscript (2015). In addition to literary and intellectual historical questions, Prof. Ramachandran is interested in early modern maps (particularly world mapping), the history of science and technology, early modern empires, and the rich visual archive of illustrated books in the period). Her current book project, Lyric Thinking: Humanism, Selfhood, Modernity, argues for the central importance of lyric form and language in shaping new intellectual possibilities for the self in the early modern period and beyon
Time: 4:15pm - 6:00pm EST
In this talk, Dr. Chowdhury takes the birth centennial of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of independent Bangladesh, as a point of entry in exploring the generative potential of mimicry in contemporary democracies. The repertoire of signs around the figure of Mujib around this historical moment (2021 marking the country’s 50th anniversary of Bangladesh) allows a vantage point from which to understand Bangladeshi political culture that came into sharp focus with the condensation of corporeal and symbolic energies around the replication of the leader’s likeness. The talk centers on the English-language novel, The Black Coat by Neamat Imam (2013), which pivots on the theme of impersonation and ends with the ongoing religious opposition to anthropomorphic reproductions. Chowdhury argues that the compulsion to mimic via statues, photographs, works of art, or reenactment ceremonies carries within it an ambivalent and generative politics. In every act of mimesis there is both a promise and a menace. Modern sovereign power manages this uncertainty through the specular and the spectacular, or what I describe as “monumentalised reproducibility.”
Devanoora Mahadeva (writer) and
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is a scholar, literary theorist, and feminist critic. She is a University Professor at Columbia University and a founding member of Columbia’s Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. Prof Spivak is the author of numerous articles and books, including the well-known essay "Can the Subaltern Speak?"; her translation of and introduction to Jacques Derrida's De la grammatologie; and for her translations of Mahasweta Devi ‘s works, including Imaginary Maps and Breast Stories. Among her many honors, Prof. Spivak was awarded the 2012 Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy, and in 2013, the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award given by the Indian government.
Organized by the South Asia Program at Cornell University and co-sponsored by the Columbia South Asia Institute.
Partisan Aesthetics explores art's entanglements with histories of war, famine, mass politics and displacements that marked late colonial and postcolonial India. Introducing "partisan aesthetics" as a conceptual grid, the book identifies ways in which art became political through interactions with left-wing activism during the 1940s, and the afterlives of such interactions in post-independence India. Using an archive of artists and artist collectives working in Calcutta from these decades, Sanjukta Sunderason argues that artists became political not only as reporters, organizers and cadre of India's Communist Party, or socialist fellow travelers, but through shifting modes of political participations and dissociations. Unmooring questions of Indian modernism from its hitherto dominant harnesses to national or global affiliations, Sunderason activates, instead, distinctly locational histories that refract transnational currents. She analyzes largely unknown and dispersed archives—drawings, diaries, posters, periodicals, and pamphlets, alongside paintings and prints—and insists that art as archive is foundational to understanding modern art's socialist affiliations during India's long decolonization. By bringing together expanding fields of South Asian art, global modernisms, and Third World cultures, Partisan Aesthetics generates a new narrative that combines political history of Indian modernism, social history of postcolonial cultural criticism, and intellectual history of decolonization.
Sanjukta Sunderason is an historian of 20th century aesthetics, working with the interfaces of visual art and political thought. She is interested in particular in the ways in which art reflects and reframes struggles, imaginations, and dialogues around 20th-century decolonization. Her first book, Partisan Aesthetics: Modern Art and India’s Long Decolonization (Stanford University Press, 2020) studied left-wing aesthetics in dialogue with formations of modern art in late-colonial and early postcolonial India. She is currently working on two book projects: first, a co-edited volume on the aesthetics of the postcolonial left in South Asia (with Lotte Hoek, University of Edinburgh); and second, a monograph on ideas/forms of the transnational in the art of decolonial liberation movements. Sanjukta lives and works in the Netherlands, where she is Assistant Professor in the department of History of Art, University of Amsterdam
This event is organized by the Economic and Political Development Concentration at SIPA and co-sponsored by the International Security Policy Concentration, the International Conflict Resolution Specialization, and the South Asia Student Association at SIPA, and the South Asia Institute.
Prior to joining the Mailman School faculty as assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences, Kavita was a David Bell Research Fellow at the Center for Population Studies and Development Studies at Harvard University and also was awarded the Balzan Fellowship for her work on social inequalities and health by University College London. Her training in history at Trinity College, Cambridge University and the Jawaharlal Nehru University and experience in archival work, policy debates and public health practice in the global South brings together a rich interdisciplinary perspective anchored in rigorous historical method.
Though the female fighter is often seen as an anomaly, women make up nearly 30% of militant movements worldwide. Historically, these women--viewed as victims, weak-willed wives, and prey to Stockholm Syndrome--have been deeply misunderstood. Radicalizing Her holds the female fighter up in all her complexity as a kind of mirror to contemporary conversations on gender, violence, and power. Dr. Gowrinathan spent nearly twenty years in conversation with female fighters in Sri Lanka, Eritrea, Pakistan, and Colombia. The intensity of these interactions consistently unsettled her assumptions about violence, re-positioning how these women were positioned in relation to power. Gowrinathan posits that the erasure of the female fighter from narratives on gender and power is not only dangerous but also, anti-feminist. She argues for a deeper, more nuanced understanding of women who choose violence.'
Lila Abu-Lughod is Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science, Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality and Department of Anthropology. Abu-Lughod’s work has focused on three broad issues: the relationship between cultural forms and power; the politics of knowledge and representation; and the dynamics of women’s and human rights, global liberalism, and feminist governance of the Muslim world. Current research has focused on feminism, geopolitics and gender violence building out from her most recent book, Do Muslim Women Need Saving? (2013).
Dr. Nimmi Gowrinathan is a writer, a scholar, and an activist. She is a Visiting Research Professor at the City College of New York. Gowrinathan’s research interests include gender and violence, female extremism, social movements, issues of asylum, ethnic conflict, and the impact of militarization, displacement, and race in Sri Lanka. Her work on the female fighter has been featured in publications as varied as as Vice, Harper's, Foreign Policy, Freeman's Journal, and The New York Times. She is the publisher of Adi Magazine, a literary magazine aiming to rehumanize policy, the author of the blog “Deviarchy,” and created the “Female Fighters Series” at Guernica Magazine. Her forthcoming book, Radicalizing Her, examines the complex politics of the female fighter (Penguin 2021).
As a Visiting Professor at the City College of New York, she founded the “Politics of Sexual Violence Initiative,” exploring the impact of sexual violence on women's political identities, and “Beyond Identity: A Gendered Platform for Scholar-Activists,” a program that seeks to train immigrants and students of color in identity-driven research, political writing, and activism anchored in an analysis of structural violence.
Dipali Mukhopadhyay is Associate Professor in the global policy area at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on the relationships between political violence, state building, and governance during and after war. She is currently serving as senior expert on the Afghanistan peace process for the U.S. Institute of Peace. She is the author, with Kimberly Howe, of Good Rebel Governance: Revolutionary Politics and Western Intervention in Syria (forthcoming), and the monograph Warlords, Strongman Governors and State Building in Afghanistan (2014).
Time: 10:10am - 12:00pm EST
To register, contact William Carrick at [email protected], and include your name and affiliation.
Dr. Vishakha N. Desai is Chair, Committee on Global Thought; Senior Advisor for Global Affairs to the President of Columbia University; and a Senior Research Scholar for the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. She serves as Senior Advisor for Global Programs to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. From 2004 through 2012, Dr. Desai served as President and CEO of the Asia Society, a global organization dedicated to strengthening partnerships between Asia and the U.S. Under her leadership the society expanded the scope and scale of its activities with the opening of new offices in India and Korea, a new center of U.S.-China Relations, internationally recognized education programs, and inauguration of two new architecturally distinguished facilities in Hong Kong and Houston.
In 2012, in recognition of Dr. Desai’s leadership in the museum field, President Barack Obama appointed her to serve on the National Museum and Library Services Board. An internationally renowned scholar of Asian art, she has published and lectured extensively on the intersection of traditional and contemporary arts and policy in diverse countries of Asia. Dr. Desai is an Advisory Trustee of the Brookings Institution, and a Trustee of the Bertelsmann Foundation, AFS Intercultural Programs. She serves as a member of the International Advisory Committee for the Auroville Foundation, India, as well as on the Corporate Board of Mahindra & Mahindra, one of India’s largest global corporations.