A Note from the Chair… This year the Brandeis-India Initiative has continued efforts to build on our existing student, alumni, and faculty relationships with India. We have forged new institutional connections with President Fred Lawrence’s trip to India this January and are working on an exchange program for science students. Along with the Soli Sorabjee Lecture Series in South Asian Studies, our fundraising has allowed us to offer two adjunct courses this year: IGS/SAS 160b “The Rise of India,” and REL/SAS 162b “Religions in South Asia: India, Pakistan and Beyond.” We are also continuing to offer the Brandeis-India Fellowships to undergraduate and graduate students for study, research, internships, and volunteer work in India. And we have been able to offer three other public lectures in conjunction with South Asia related classes. This is an exciting time for the Brandeis-India Initiative as our community in India continues to grow, as does the academic and cultural South Asian presence on campus. I look forward to working with everyone to ensure that the coming academic year is equally vibrant.
Spring 2013 Newsletter
Contents Soli Sorabjee Lectures
2, 7 Brandeis-India Fellows
5-6 Upcoming Events
8 Alumni Feature
- Professor Harleen Singh
President Lawrence Makes Second Trip to India Brandeis President Fred Lawrence has visited India for the second time in 11 months, meeting with alumni, students, prospective students and friends as the University strengthens relationships and furthers partnerships with the people and institutions of the world’s largest democracy through the BrandeisIndia Initiative.
Accompanied by his wife, Dr. Kathy Lawrence, and Prof. Harleen Singh, the Helaine and Alvin Allen Assistant Professor of Literature and co-chair of the South Asia Studies Program, the president met with dozens of members of the Brandeis family in India at receptions in Delhi and Mumbai in early January. Continued on page 2
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President Lawrence Visits India (continued) Lawrence also met with secondary education leaders who are helping Brandeis recruit top-quality students from India. The Indian system of higher education features general degree programs in arts, commerce and science and professional degree programs in engineering, law and medicine, but there are limited opportunities for students interested in the liberal arts (literature, languages, philosophy and history). “Our model of education – an intimate, student-centered liberal arts college as part of a global university – is not widely available in India,” Lawrence said. “Something such as a double major, which we take as a
given, is a huge opportunity for Indian students with varied interests.” “India is a natural partner for Brandeis as we seek to establish relationships with institutions around the world as a global liberal arts university,” Lawrence said. “The opportunities for collaboration in India are numerous, particularly in areas such as scientific research, student and faculty exchanges and social justice.”
About 60 students from India are currently part of the Brandeis undergraduate student body. Dozens of Indian graduate students attend the
Brandeis International Business School and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, and more than 200 Brandeis alumni live in India. Lawrence made his first trip to India as Brandeis’ president in February 2012. With India’s everincreasing importance in global affairs, Brandeis hopes to continue building relationships that will extend the university’s research, education opportunities, and teaching mission with regard to the world's largest democracy. “We enjoyed our trip and look forward to continuing to broaden and deepen our relationships through the Brandeis-India Initiative,” Lawrence said.
The Soli Sorabjee Lectures in South Asian Studies Dr. Inderpal Grewal Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Yale University
Dr. Grewal giving the 9th semiannual Soli Sorabjee Lecture 2
Our Spring 2013 lecture on "Bureaucracy and Masculinity in India after Independence" was held in the Shapiro Admissions Center and widely attended by undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and South Asian scholars and Women’s and Gender studies scholars from the Boston area. Professor Inderpal Grewal gave the ninth lecture in the Soli Sorabjee lecture series in South Asian Studies. A pioneer in the field of transnational feminism, Prof. Grewal has served as Chair of the Women’s Studies Programs at San Francisco State University, at the University of California, Irvine, and at Yale University. She is the author of Home and Harem: Nation, Gender, Empire and the Culture of Travel (1997) and Continued on page 7
Our Brandeis-India Fellows: Strengthening Ties with India In January, four Brandeis students began their journey to India as Brandeis-India Initiative Fellows. Following in the footsteps of President Lawrence’s recent trip to Delhi and Mumbai, these fellows are serving as student ‘ambassadors’ for the BrandeisIndia Initiative, an ongoing effort to build the university’s strategic ties to India through strengthening relationships with parents, alumni, educational institutions, and organizations. Since 2011, 15 fellows have traveled to India. Currently, Hannah Diamond ’14 and Jeremy Goodman ’14 are participating in the SIT India study abroad program in Delhi on “Health & Human Rights,” Ellie Kaufman ’14 is also in Delhi on the IES Semester Abroad, and Marlee Rosenthal ’14 is participating in the The Alliance for Global Education’s program “Contemporary India: Development, Environment, and Public Health” in Pune. The Fellows Program, which is supported by Indian parents and friends of the university, matches Brandeis students’ passion for social justice with the interests and needs of Indian sponsors and
partners. For example, the projects completed by four fellows (Aneil Tripathy ’12, Dina Kapengut ’14, Tanvi Bahuguna ’14, and Xiaoyu Liu ’14) earlier this academic year cover a broad range of topics, including: prenatal healthcare, sanitation, youth education in poor and underserved communities, and Tibetan refugee experiences. Brandeis is also steadily working to build its collaborations with Indian institutions in scientific research. One 2012-2013 fellow, Tanvi Bahuguna ’14, also used her fellowship time to work at the TATA Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) on cell behavior research. After fellows return from their time abroad, they continue to serve as a bridge between Brandeis and India by sharing their projects with the Brandeis community, teaching other students about their experiences, and maintaining ties with friends, families, organizations, and programs across India. Continued on page 4
The goal of the fellowship is best echoed in a recent post by Jeremy, one of our current fellows: “At this time I end most of my observations, conversations, and discourse with ‘it is just different.’ I hope that with more time spent here I will get a better grasp of India and be able to make some accurate interpretations, search for explanations, and reach some understanding.” Such understanding is crucial for the strengthening of Brandeis’s ties with Indian alumni, partners, and organizations. Read more direct accounts from our fellows on the India Fellows Blog: http://blogs.brandeis.edu/indiainitiative/
Apply for a Fellowship! The Brandeis-India Initiative will be funding a new round of fellows for the 2013-14 academic year. Fellowships range from $500-2000. The deadline is March 22, 2013. Application packet and additional information can be found on the Initiative website.
Having a Good Head on Your Shoulders: A Reflection from an India Fellow
“You want me to balance this large jug of water…on my head?” I envision this scenario going one of two ways - I either balance this jug on my head long enough to get my picture taken, or a large quantity of water will spill on me. Either way, a picture will be taken. I await my turn to balance the jug at a rural village’s well in Durshet, India during my first week of orientation for my study abroad program. I close my eyes as an orientation guide places a rag on my head to keep the jug in place. My hands immediately clasp both sides of the metal. I let go for a few seconds - oops! Hands fly right back into holding position. How do these village women do this and make it look so easy? Gita, a young village girl, giggles as each program student attempts the balancing act. I smile at her in agreement and wish I could say to her in Marathi, “Don’t worry, I am well aware of how silly we all look.” I got my “Look at me! I am balancing a jug of water on my head and smiling!” picture to share with family and friends, and I also got a new perspective for how I will navigate through India for the next four months. When you are thousands of miles from home, far removed from your comfort zone, the last thing you want to do is to take yourself so seriously. Assimilating to cultural norms and traditions in India is like balancing water on your head - you have to humor yourself when things feel shaky and unfamiliar. I did not balance the jug on my head for more than two seconds, nor was I able to balance and walk from point A to point B, but the experience was so meaningful and important to me because I tried something new. Whether you’re in India or Waltham, MA, challenge yourself to something unfamiliar. Even if you mess up, it’s just water… Marlee Rosenthal is a junior at Brandeis and currently studying abroad in Pune, India through the Alliance for Global Education. She is a Psychology and Education Studies double major with minors in South Asian Studies and Preschool Education. As a Brandeis-India Initiative Fellow, Marlee looks forward to interning at Ekalavya Nyasa, an NGO that provides education to underprivileged children.
Faculty Updates Prof. Jonathan Anjaria’s article, "Is there a Culture of the Indian Street?" appeared in Seminar in August and was reprinted in the Austrian journal Dérive: Zeitschrift für Stadtforschung in January. He also co-wrote an article with Ulka Anjaria entitled "Slumdog Millionaire and Epistemologies of the City," which appeared in the edited volume The Slumdog Phenomenon: A Critical Anthology, edited by Ajaya Gehlawat (Anthem). Prof. Anjaria will also be giving a talk on “Environmentalizing the Megacity: Flexible Urbanism, Sustainability and Street Economies in Mumbai” at LUMS, in Lahore, Pakistan this April.
March 2013 economic and political modernity. Taking advantage of newly available archival materials in Moscow, Berlin, Washington, and New Delhi, it examines Soviet and American aid to India to show the interconnections between Indian development and Cold War conflict. Dr. Engerman spent December – January in India working on this project.
Prof. Ulka Anjaria’s book, Realism in the Twentieth-Century Indian Novel: Colonial Difference and Literary Form, was published this past fall by Cambridge University Press (see sidebar). In March 2013, Dr. Anjaria was invited to give a talk at the South Asia Program at Cornell University, titled “Realist Hieroglyphics: Aravind Adiga and the New Social Novel in India.”
While on sabbatical this semester, Prof. Sarah Lamb spent much of February and March conducting fieldwork in West Bengal, India, investigating the lives of women living outside of marriage, including never-married, separated, divorced and widowed women residing in working women’s hostels and old-age homes. Dr. Lamb also took the opportunity to extend her longtime research on aging, this time focusing on how those among the urban cosmopolitan elite are taking up, refashioning and critiquing globally-circulating Active Aging and Successful Aging trends. An Indian edition of Lamb’s Aging and the Indian Diaspora appeared in 2012, published by Orient BlackSwan Press.
Prof. David Engerman has been working on a project entitled “Planning for Progress: The Economic Cold War in India.” This research traces India’s efforts, under leaders from Jawaharlal Nehru to Indira Gandhi, to navigate between divergent Cold War visions in pursuit of Indian dreams of
Prof. Harleen Singh’s book The Public Life of Rani Lakshmi Bai: Gender, Nation, History, and Fable is forthcoming this year from Cambridge University Press. She also presented three lectures at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston last year: “Indian Cinema: The Musical Melodrama of the Nation,”
NeW Publication Realism in the TwentiethCentury Indian Novel: Colonial Difference and Literary Form
Ulka Anjaria Published October 2012 “Early twentieth-century Indian novels often depict the harsh material conditions of life under British colonial rule. Even so, these "realist" novels are profoundly imaginative. In this study, Ulka Anjaria challenges the distinction between early twentieth-century social realism and modern-day magical realism, arguing that realism in the colony functioned as a mode of experimentation and aesthetic innovation – not merely as mimesis of the "real world." By examining novels from the 1930s across several Indian languages, Anjaria reveals how Indian authors used realist techniques to imagine alternate worlds, to invent new subjectivities and relationships with the Indian nation, and to question some of the most entrenched values of modernity.” Continue reading online description.
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Brandeis-India Initiative “Telling the Indian Tale in English,” and “Who is English? Colonial Subjects, Postcolonial Immigrants, and Literature.” Prof. Govind Sreenivasan will be teaching a brand new course next year entitled “History of South Asia (2500 BCE – 1971).” This course provides an introduction to South Asian history from the earliest civilizations to the independence of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh – thus filling a major gap in the History and South Asian Studies Departments’ course offerings. In addition, the class will survey the formation of religious traditions, the establishment of kingdoms and empires, colonialism and its consequences, and postIndependence political and economic development.
Adjunct Faculty Dr. Harpreet Singh is currently teaching a course on Religions of South Asia at Brandeis. He is a postdoctoral fellow and a member of the faculty in the Department of South Asian Studies at Harvard University. His dissertation traced the interactions among Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus and the role of religious identity in the articulation of Panjabi literary traditions. His research interests also include the development of religious and ethnic nationalisms in modern South Asia. Before his PhD, Harpreet was a technologist on
March 2013 Wall Street with training in computer and systems engineering. He left his corporate career to co-found the Sikh Coalition – the largest Sikh civil rights organization in North America – in the wake of hate crimes against Sikhs in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 attacks.
Advanced Studies Institute in India
The South Asian Studies Department has the honor of hosting the next Madeleine Haas Russell Visiting Professor during the academic year 2013-14. After an extensive search, the committee selected Dr. Ali Nobil Ahmad, Assistant Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at LUMS (Lahore, Pakistan). His research interests include: migration; transnationalism; human smuggling; the labour process; and gender and working-class subjectivities. Dr. Ahmad will be teaching two South Asian Studies courses in Spring 2014.
Four faculty members from Physics have obtained a National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant to organize an Advanced Studies Institute (ASI) on the topic of "Thermalization: From Glasses to Black Holes" in Bangalore. This institute is the first of its kind in India. The ASI will be held within the auspices of the International Center for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS) in India, and is being jointly sponsored by ICTS and NSF. The two-week school is geared towards advanced graduate students, postdoctoral associates and junior faculty. A primary aim of the ASI is to build stronger connections between Indian and US scientists, and there will be equal participation from India and US. There are plans to follow this Institute with a workshop at Brandeis in 2014/2015, which will further cement the connections between Indian and US scientists.
In September 2012, Keely Swan began working as the coordinator for both the BrandeisIndia Initiative and the South Asian Studies Department. She will be graduating from Brandeis in May with a joint MA in Anthropology and Women’s & Gender Studies. In 2007-08, Keely studied at the Tata Institute for Social Sciences (Mumbai) while on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship.
Brandeis was awarded an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) award by NSF. This grant covers interdisciplinary theoretical/mathematical research, stretching from string theory to neuroscience to international finance. The grant has an explicit component to generate contacts with the Indian science community, through an internship program at the International Center for the Theoretical Sciences (ICTS) in Bangalore.
MHR Visiting Professor
The Soli Sorabjee Lectures in South Asian Studies Transnational America: Feminisms, Diasporas, Neoliberalisms (2005). Professor Grewal began her lecture with an introduction to the construct of “civil services” during the colonial period in India, and then followed the mutation of British governance into postcolonial politics with a focus on the Indian Administrative Services. In her new project, from which this talk was derived, she reads the memoirs of men who served in the British (ICS) and then the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) as a masculine narrative of the nation. In her talk, she drew upon memoirs as well as archival photographs to tackle the difficult question of postcolonial assertion and colonial mimicry. Watch the full lecture online.
Mohsin Hamid, Author On October 17, 2012, over 70 students, staff, faculty, and community members attended Mr. Mohsin Hamid's talk, the eighth lecture in the Soli Sorabjee Lecture Series. Mr. Hamid shared insights from his books, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007), and the forthcoming How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013). He wove a narrative about the space that novels provide for readers to use their imagination, the ways that nostalgia is used in "political sales pitches" to
create fear of hybrid identities, and the myriad ramifications of current political situation within Pakistan. Known as one of Pakistan’s foremost novelists in English, Mohsin Hamid offered an insightful commentary on the role of the writer in times of conflict. He spoke on his transition from working in corporate America to writing in England, and to his resettling in Lahore, Pakistan, with his family. Mr. Hamid read a small excerpt from his book, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, to illustrate his point about the difficulty of communicating across cultural, religious, racial, and national lines. The lecture was delivered in a conversational style that made it very easy to comprehend for people from all walks of life. In fact, the front row of the audience was occupied by a local book club. Watch the full lecture online.
Dr. Bina Agarwal Our Spring 2012 lecture featured prize-winning economist Bina Agarwal, Director and Professor of Economics at the Institute of Economic Growth (University of Delhi). Drawing upon her most recent book, Gender and Green Governance, Prof. Agarwal gave an inspiring lecture in Rapaporte Treasure Hall. She spoke of the historical absence of women from forest governance and in particular the impact of women's presence in making a significant change in environmental preservation. In her lecture, she drew upon her field research in India and Nepal to talk not only about green governance, but also about women’s exclusion from public institutions. She spoke at length about addressing poor rural women's needs, such as for clean domestic fuel and access to common land. President Fred Lawrence also attended the lecture and introduced Dr. Agarwal. Continue reading online.
UPCOMING FALL 2013 LECTURE Ingesting Culture: Cooking, Colonialism, and the Construction of Indian-ness Speaker: Aruna D’Souza (Art Dept, Smith College)
Upcoming Events… “Dhan Te Nan! Onomatopoeia and Other Deployments of Film Sound in Contemporary Multiplex Cinema” Monday, April 22nd at 5:00pm Mandel Center for the Humanities, G03 Speaker: Dr. Sudhir Mahadevan (University of Washington) Vishal Bharadwaj's Kaminey (Rascals, 2009) is only one among numerous recent films that integrate popular and well-known Hindi film songs from earlier decades into their soundtracks. Bharadwaj invokes the textures of film sound from an earlier era: the film's most popular song Dhan Te Nan invokes onomatopoeically, the soundtrack of a 1960s or 70s Hindi film action sequence. The aim of this presentation is to offer a survey of the formal functions of film sound in contemporary multiplex cinema. This event is associated with Eng20a "Bollywood: Popular Film, Genre & Society." "Soldiering Sustainability: Urban Ecologies and Political Imaginaries in Kathmandu and Mumbai" Monday, April 29th - 3:30-4:50pm Mandel Center for the Humanities, G12 Speaker: Dr. Anne Rademacher (NYU) In this talk, Dr. Rademacher will draw from long-term ethnographic engagement with the biophysical, cultural, and political dynamics of urban river degradation in Nepal’s capital city. She will show how discussions of urban ecology in Kathmandu are at the center of competing political imaginaries. She will then draw from more recent work among green design practitioners in Mumbai to consider how an emergent form of sustainability expertise, in this case environmental architecture, served as a critical arena within which new urban histories, and future sociopolitical imaginaries, were not only forged, but imbued with the highest of stakes. This is an open lecture to Anth151 "Nature, Culture, Power: Anthropology of the Environment." Co-sponsored with the Anthropology Department. "Unfriendly Bodies, Hostile Cities: Reflections on Loitering in Urban India" Wednesday, May 1st at 5:00pm Heller School, Altman Amphitheater (G1) Speaker: Dr. Shilpa Phadke (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India) Dr. Phadke will be discussing her research on gender and public space in relation to the recent nation-wide debates around sexual violence in India. Her research interests include: gender and the politics of space; the middle classes; sexuality and the body; feminist politics among young women; reproductive subjectivities; and pedagogic practices. Her previous publications include the co-authored book Why Loiter: Women and Risk on Mumbai Streets, and numerous articles, such as "The Gendered Usage of Public Space," "Re-mapping the Public: Gendered Spaces in Mumbai," and "If Women Could Risk Pleasure: Reinterpreting Violence in Public Space."
Alumni Feature: Sriya Srikrishnan ‘12, AIF Fellow As a graduating senior at Brandeis with a major in Health: Science, Society and Policy and a firm believer in experiential learning I felt like I needed to be on the ground doing hands-on work in Public Health. It is with this intent that I applied to the American India Foundation’s William J. Clinton Fellowship Service for Service. I am grateful for being accepted into this fellowship for the year 2012-2013 and being placed with Calcutta Kids, Howrah, West Bengal. Calcutta Kids (CK) is a phenomenal work force that is working in the Fakir Bagan community of Howrah on Maternal and Child Health Initiatives. With CK I have the opportunity to work with the management on creating training programs and curriculums for our health workers on Behavior Change and Communication Strategies (BCC) while also being able to see the health workers put these public health theories into action on a daily basis. It has been a stimulating experience so far to work amongst the health workers as well as my mentors Noah Levinson, Founder and Director of CK and Danya Sarkar, Program Manager at CK. The adorable babies of our community keep me motivated to work everyday. My co- fellow at Calcutta Kids along with 3 other AIF Fellows working at various organizations (such as Anudip Foundation, iMerit Technology Services and Onergy) have grown to become my supportive family in Kolkata. Living in Kolkata has been an interesting experience of being able to reconnect with my Indian roots while also discovering new things about this country everyday. Maneuvering the streets of Kolkata on public buses and the overcrowded metro, understanding the Bengali culture through its people, food and festivals and exploring the many sights Kolkata has to offer have all been important aspects of this 10month journey. Overall this fellowship provides you with a great understanding of the development sector by placing you on a platform where you face the underpinnings of social change while simultaneously interacting with pioneers in the field. I encourage anyone with curiosity about India or the development sector to apply to such an opportunity to gain practical experience. Above all grab this chance to reflect on what service means to you, something that we Brandesians with our passion for social justice strive to find! - Sriya Srikrishnan ’12 (email@example.com) Read more about the AIF Fellows: http://www.aifclintonfellowship.org/blog/
Alumni Feature: Siddharth Joshi ‘11 Alumnus Siddharth Joshi ’11 recently assisted the IGS 10a course “Introduction to International and Global Studies” with a creative project on the Global Media business. As part of their coursework on globalization, culture, and media, students of IGS10a put together nine proposals for new media ventures and submitted them to Joshi, who works for Chernin Asia Media. Joshi, a former IGS UDR, provided feedback on the proposals and shared some of his insights via a Skype conference with the class. Read more about the project on the IGS Blog.
Read about more opportunities for Brandeis students and Alumni in India on the South Asian Studies website. Interested in connecting with Brandeis Alumni & Friends networks in India? See page 10!
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New Exchange Program Announced with IISc (Bangalore) Brandeis’s Study Abroad Office, along with the Division of Science, is pleased to announce a new exchange program with the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India. This program is geared towards undergraduates interested in studying biology, chemistry, physics, math, and computer
science. Considering the dearth of study abroad opportunities for Science majors, Brandeis is incredibly pleased to partner with this premier institution in India. In addition to taking classes taught in English by Indian faculty, students will have the opportunity to collaborate on research projects in one of the many labs on campus. Following the semester program, select students from the IISc will come to Brandeis to participate in summer research projects with Brandeis faculty. The program will be open to Brandeis undergraduates
Stay Connected! Brandeis-India Initiative / South Asian Studies Department MS 092 415 South Street Waltham, MA 02453 [USA] Phone: +1 (781) 736-5240 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
President Frederick M. Lawrence on his 2012 visit to Bangalore. beginning spring 2014. The application deadline is in May 2013. Please contact the Office of Study Abroad for more information.
Alumni & Friends Networks in India During the recent Presidential visit to India, a number of individuals noted a desire to organize stronger Brandeis Alumni & Friends networks in India. If you are an alum, parent, or current student interested in participating in a group, please contact the following individuals: Delhi Contact: Nikhil Bapna (MAief ’07) email@example.com / +91 99102 77891 Mumbai Contacts: Vikas Gupta (MBA ’11) firstname.lastname@example.org / +91 98208 757 30
Brandeis-India Fellows Blog: http://blogs.brandeis.edu/indiainitiative/
Giving: If you'd like to make a contribution to support the Brandeis-India Initiative, please contact Gayle Gordon '08 at 781-736-4060 or visit our secure giving website.
Chiara Bercu ’11 email@example.com / +91 9833341299 Not in one of these cities? Still want to connect? Contact Karen Rogol (Director, Alumni and University Relations) at firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/BrandeisIndia/
This newsletter includes updates about the Brandeis India Initiative's activities throughout the year.