CENTER FOR SOUTH ASIA HIGHLIGHTS 2012– 2013
ABOUT THE CENTER FOR SOUTH ASIA AT STANFORD UNIVERSITY
The Center for South Asia (CSA), part of Stanford’s Division of International Comparative and Area Studies (ICA), aims to promote the study of South Asia in a manner that reflects the position of the region in the world today. Our focus is on the colonial-modern and contemporary postcolonial South Asia. South Asia today is an intimate and instantaneous part of our everyday global reality and cannot be studied as a self-contained area. South Asia is of critical importance in the world economy, as South Asian communities and professionals are a significant presence in many parts of the world, and South Asian cultural production and aesthetics are firmly embedded in the global imagination and in the global marketplace. The long-term ambition of the Center for South Asia is to give Stanford students and faculty access to world-class resources, cutting-edge research and a broad range of teaching on South Asia.
Our main intellectual ambition is to ensure that South Asia is a place from where modernity can be conceptualized in all its historical complexity. We want to ensure that debates and reflections on central categories of modern thought – capitalism, liberal democracy, the reflexive subject, jurisprudence and law, popular mass culture and its institutions, aesthetic cultures, the state, the public life of religion – include South Asia as a self-evident ground rather than merely a special case. We want to ensure that the vast storehouse of South Asia material, concerns, problems, and history become integral parts of the curriculum and research profiles of as many departments and programs as possible at Stanford. Put simply, our task is to overcome the ‘methodological nationalism’ implicit in the area studies model while retaining the respect for specificity and depth of South Asian history and cultural complexity.
SOUTH ASIA AFFILIATES AT STANFORD UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR SOUTH ASIA THOMAS BLOM HANSEN
FREEMAN SPOGLI INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
THOMAS BLOM HANSEN
SAUMITRA JHA Associate Professor Assistant Professor PRIYA SATIA
THINKING MATTERS Graduate Student PARNA SENGUPTA DOLLY KIKON
SCHOOL OF LAW
MODERN THOUGHT & LITERATURE
SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
Senior Lecturer Assistant Professor BULBUL TIWARI Lecturer MARK MANCALL Professor Emeritus
Program Manager, Program on Liberation Technology
Lecturer PETER SAMUELS Graduate Student
SUDDHASEEL SEN Assistant Professor Graduate Student KRISH SEETAH
Graduate Student STANFORD HUMANITIES CENTER
ANNA SCHULTZ PADMA RANGARAJAN Assistant Professor Graduate Student External Faculty Fellow ASHVEER SINGH
Acting Assistant Professor DRAMA
STANFORD INSTITUTE FOR
RACHEL BRULE ECONOMIC POLICY RESEARCH
ANJINI KOCHAR JAMES FEARON
Department Chair, Professor
Senior Research Scholar
JISHA MENON DAVID LAITIN STANFORD LANGUAGE CENTER
Assistant Professor ENGLISH SAIKAT MAJUMDAR
BRAJESH SAMARTH ALEX LEE Lecturer
Graduate Student SCOTT SAGAN Professor
SELECTED SOUTH ASIA COURSES FOR THE 2012-2013 ACADEMIC YEAR
FALL ◊ Ethnicity and Violence: Anthropological Perspectives
Political Economy of Development in Rural India
Secularism and Its Critics
Health, Illness, and Healing in South Asia
Technology and Religion in South Asia
Capital and Empire
The Indian Ocean World: Winds, Merchants & Empires
Religion and Music in South Asia
Behind the Headlines: An Introduction to Contemporary South Asia
International Security in South Asia: Pakistan, India and the United States
Caste, Religion, and Dalit Liberation in India
SOUTH ASIAN LANGUAGE COURSES ◊ Beginning Sanskrit and Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Hindi are offered throughout the year.
WINTER ◊ South Asia: History, People, Politics ◊
Down and Out: Marginal Lives and Institutional Technologies
Modern Indian Literature
Worlds of Gandhi: Global Experiments in Religion, War, and Empire
Crow Eaters & Fire Worshipers: Exploring Contemporary Zoroastrianism through Reading Parsi Literature
A Stranger in a Strange Land: Jewish Musics in Translation
BING OVERSEAS SEMINARS New Delhi & Mumbai, India Minority as Cultural Form in South Asia â€¨ Study in India with Thomas Hansen and Sangeeta Mediratta Summer 2013
Indiaâ€™s enormous diversity of languages, religions and caste communities makes it a subcontinent of minorities â€“ overlapping, crosscutting, some locked in conflicts others coexisting indifferently. With modern literacy, administration, and political representation the question of what constituted a minority, how it should be known to itself, and represented in the wider public culture became a key concern across the subcontinent, troubling the colonial government, dividing the nationalist movement, and generating multiple conflicts and political energies in the independent, subcontinental nation states. This overseas seminar focused on the importance of minority South Asia, both historically and in the present, highlighting the concept of minority in its wider sense as configured along lines of gender, sexuality, class, race, religion, and caste.
This seminar takes students to Delhi and Bombay/ Mumbai, India. While New Delhi has long been the administrative capital of India, Mumbai is unanimously regarded as its financial hub. Saying this is to merely begin to scratch the surface of two teeming megalopolises that offer critical vantage points from which to negotiate and analyze minority cultural and political formations in India. Topics of special interest during the course are the following: colonialism, nationalism, partition, the Emergency, the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, the rise of Hindu nationalism, the status of Muslim minorities, gender reform, anti-caste radicalism, labor movements, and LGBT agitations. In 2012, this seminar was taught by Thomas Blom Hansen, Sharika Thiranagama, and Sangeeta Mediratta.
CENTER FOR SOUTH ASIA FELLOWSHIP RECIPIENTS SUMMER 2012
In June 2012, the Center for South Asia granted several fellowships for expenses related to summer research in South Asia. The awards were open to all Stanford University doctoral students and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral fellows who could show a distinct rationale and need for extra funding. Our fellows are: RACHEL BRULÉ, GRADUATE STUDENT DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
Rachel is a doctoral student in Stanford University’s political science department. She specializes in comparative politics and institutions, with a focus on the political economy of development and gender. Her dissertation studies the scope and determinants of legal impact on individual welfare in a particularly challenging case: Indian law that equalizes women’s property inheritance rights. Her dissertation draws upon nationally representative panel data from 17 Indian states comprising over 100,000 individuals (NCAER’s Rural Economic and Demographic Survey), nearly 900 interviews conducted in rural Andhra Pradesh, district court data from 20 years of property rights cases. Her research finds that parents respond to gender-equalizing property reform in radical, unintended ways. In regions with histories of women’s property inheritance, parents safeguard son’s inheritance rights –and their own old-age security – by increasing female infanticide. In contrast, parents do not change their behavior in regions where the law is not credible, i.e. regions where women’s property inheritance is extremely rare.
SUKANYA CHAKRABARTI, GRADUATE STUDENT DRAMA DEPARTMENT
This summer, Sukanya’s project focused on her previous volunteering activities with Child Relief and You (CRY), a non-profit organization, which works with and for underprivileged children in Kolkata. She worked with children from their organization, and will be conducting various performance workshops for them. These workshops took place in the form of games and exercises, loosely based on Viewpoints by Anne Bogart and Tina Landau. The final aim of the project was to give children the tools to express themselves so they could create their own original work. Each child had an opportunity to tell a story – with voice, touch, body movements, verbal telling or visual representation. The focus of her project was twofold. It aimed to give these children a medium and platform to express themselves, while it also created an awareness in the community about their stories, dreams, aspirations and needs. The project manifested as a final performance by these children, open to the general public.
ROSS FEEHAN, UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT
DOLLY KIKON, GRADUATE STUDENT
EARTH SYSTEMS PROGRAM
DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY
Under the auspices of the Institute of Dialogue with Cultures and Religions (IDCR), Ross developed, implemented, and monitored an interfaith dialogue program in Chennai, India. The program brought together a small group of college students from diverse religious, spiritual, and secular backgrounds with the goals of fostering interpersonal understanding and motivating peacebuilding action. Participants learned about faith traditions and contemporary religious affairs, while participants shared their beliefs, opinions, and curiosities with one another within a safe and open environment. The program encouraged students to transform their interfaith insights into community engagement. Ross is an Earth Systems undergraduate student who is interested in India’s religious pluralism. Ross enjoys learning from all spiritual traditions through interfaith dialogue, reading, and worship. As someone who sees the need for peace in religiously diverse societies, Ross looks forward to engaging students in Chennai who are currently enrolled in a peace studies fellowship.
As a recipient of the Center for South Asia’s 2012 Community Service Fellowship, Dolly Kikon’s project was to popularize the concept of community radio stations in Northeast India. In 2002, India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting announced that non-profit organizations, academic institutions and community-based organizations (CBOs) were eligible to apply for licenses to set up community radio stations throughout the country. However, local communities in the mountainous regions on Northeast India have not received the required information and technical training about the government of India’s initiative on community radio. As a Community Service Fellow she worked towards promoting the concept of community radio stations by imparting training and working on capacity building with local communities, especially in the states of Assam, Manipur, and Nagaland in Northeast India. ALEXANDER LEE, GRADUATE STUDENT DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
Alexander Lee is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of political science. His dissertation examines the changing political role of caste identities in India over the past two centuries, and the consequences that these identities have had on the performance of the political system. This trip to India will be used to gather supplementary archival material for the dissertation at the National Archives of India, and supplementary fieldwork among politicians in Bihar.
JOCELYN MARROW, POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW
SUDDHASEEL SEN, GRADUATE STUDENT
DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY
DEPARTMENT OF MUSIC
Jocelyn’s project studied how persons suffering schizophrenia in North India experience their symptoms (hallucinations, delusions, disorganized behavior, cognitive impairments, etc.) and how symptoms are shaped by cultural contexts. An epidemiological study by the World Health Organization (WHO) has found that the course of schizophrenia is milder and the outcomes better in the developing world, especially India, than in the US, UK or Western Europe. This project took a step in the direction toward understanding the reasons for these differences. This research is part of a three-site comparative study of psychosis.
In his dissertation project, Suddhaseel is creating an interdisciplinary model based on musicology, translation theories, and adaptation studies, for analyzing and revaluating the hithertoneglected history of interaction between Indian and Western musicians from the late-nineteenth century onwards to the present, departing from the view currently held by most musicologists that such intercultural projects are merely examples of Western appropriation of non-Western cultures. Suddhaseel has interviewed Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his collaborator, David Murphy, regarding the composition of the sarod concerto ,Samaagam, (Confluence, 2008), and shall conduct archival research on the British composer John Foulds and on the development of Bengali song in the early twentieth century.
PETER SAMUELS, GRADUATE MODERN THOUGHT AND LITERATURE
Peter’s summer research project devoted additional research to one of his dissertation chapters with a view to turning it into a publishable article. It deals with the acquisition of land by the British for railway lines which ran through the Indian princely states in the second half of the nineteenth century. The intended article, which will be the outcome of this research, is provisionally titled, “The Antinomies of Sovereignty: Railways, Land Expropriation, and Compensation in the Indian Princely States, 18501900.”
ANTHROPOLOGY STUDENT AWARDED FIRST WISCH GRADUATE FELLOWSHIP Nethra Samarawickrema, a first-year student in Anthropology, has been awarded the first Wisch Graduate Fellowship. She is interested in urban issues that connect port-cities across South Asia and the Indian Ocean region. “I also explore how postcolonial port cities incorporate their colonial heritage into local urban life,” she says. Nethra comes to Stanford with an M.A. in Anthropology from Dalhousie University. Her thesis at Dalhousie investigated postcolonial spatial formations, heritage practices, and gentrification in Galle Fort, a former colonial city in Sri Lanka. The graduate fellowship is a gift of Steven (’83) and Debra Wisch. Steven Wisch is very familiar with South Asia and has lived and worked extensively in India. He is a co-Founder and Managing Partner of an Indian private equity fund, and the Co-Founder and Managing Director of an Indian real estate development fund. “In speaking with Dean Saller, we immediately felt a connection with what the Center for South Asia is offering and saw that a gift of a graduate fellowship would positively impact scholarship in India and other South Asian countries,” says Wisch. “We are pleased that this fellowship will facilitate the research of Nethra and other graduate students at Stanford for many years to come.”
KEY THEMES FOR THE 2012-2013 ACADEMIC YEAR:
VISUAL CULTURE IN SOUTH ASIA
The visual plays a central role in South Asian culture: high and low, modern and traditional. In the Hindu tradition, beholding the image of the deity (darshan) for long periods of time is one of the established paths to focus the mind and open the soul to the force of the divine. Historically, the visual was assumed to be as important to the world of the gods as it was to humans. Utmost care is still devoted to the crafting and sculpting of images of gods, temple architecture, and sites of worship in order to attract the attention of the gods and to harness their powers and benevolence.
URBAN SOUTH ASIA
One of the largest and most dramatic social transformations taking place in the world today is the rapid urbanization in large parts of Asia and Africa. South Asia is a relative latecomer to this process, with urbanization accelerating only in the past two decades. While the overall urbanization rate is comparatively low in South Asia, with a rate under 40%, some Indian states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat have urbanization rates of 50%. More than 50 cities in India have more than a million people, and there are hundreds of smaller cities around 300,000 to half a million people. The other nations in the subcontinent have experienced less explosive growth, but urban centers like Dhaka, Kathmandu, Karachi and Colombo are now at the heart of very large conurbations with populations well above ten million people.
TECHNOLOGY, DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL HOPE IN SOUTH ASIA
New technology has been hailed as the great midwife of the rapid economic transformation of India. The prevalence of English and a range of relatively good educational institutions had created a large pool of qualified and inexpensive labor that was perfectly suited for a wide range of outsourced industries. This model of growth, based on highly skilled labor, created a powerful model of social aspiration for millions of people in the region. Today, the combination of higher education and command of some aspects of information technology is the dominant form of social hope and aspiration across South Asia. Education has today emerged as the most decisive marker of social class and social capital, the
crucial component that can enable a gradual movement into the expanding middle classes across the region. India, particularly, finds itself in a virtual explosion of educational institutions, some public and many more private or semi-private, but all riddled by massive problems of uneven quality of instruction, questionable learning outcomes, corruption and mismanagement. Many institutions are embattled by conflicts over castebased reservation quotas as upwardly mobile lower caste communities demand their rightful share of the opportunities higher education seems to promise.
MINORITIES AND THE QUEST FOR RECOGNITION
Are minority experiences exceptional within South Asia or are they central to understanding the contours of political and social life in the region? In an effort to move away from the dominant academic portrayal of minorities as marginalized, invisible, and geographically and politically peripheral to national life, we will focus the transformation of the region from the perspective of minorities themselves. We are particularly interested to engage with questions of the ways in which certain groups come to identify themselves and mobilize as minority groups. These groups include: geographically-defined communities, such as those of Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracks, Northeastern Sri Lanka, Pakistan’s northern regions, Northeast India, and Nepal’s Tarai plains; ethnic and racial groups; caste categories; gender and sexual groups.
At a time when increasing numbers of groups are identifying and mobilizing as minorities, we enquire how we might understand the logic of minoritization. How is it that groups claiming to represent numerically large communities on the basis of religion and ethnicity come to embrace the idea of being minorities in order to create new solidarities around this logic? What are the everyday interactions of various minority groups within the region? What does it mean, day to day, to be a member of a group seen as marginal within a minority community?
WE LOVE BOOKS!: Discussion and Reception Honoring Recent Publications on South Asia by Stanford Faculty FEBRUARY 14, 2012
contemporary Sufism requires a sophisticated analysis of these formative years. Moving beyond a straight account of leaders and movements, Shahzad Bashir weaves a rich history around the depiction of bodily actions by The Center for South Asia was honored to have four of Sufi masters and disciples, primarily in Sufi literature and Persian miniature paintings of the period. its faculty affiliates release new publications in 2011 and Bashir’s novel perspective illuminates complex 2012. In honor of their publications, the Center hosted a relationships between body and soul, body and gender, reception for those authors. Listed below are the authors body and society, and body and cosmos. It highlights love and synopses of their books. as an overarching, powerful emotion in the making of Sufi SHAHZAD BASHIR communities and situates the body as a critical concern in Sufi Bodies: Religion and Society in Medieval Islam Sufi thought and practice. Bashir’s work ultimately offers Columbia University Press (August 9, 2011) a new methodology for extracting historical information Between 1300 and 1500 C.E. a new form of Sufi from religious narratives, especially those depicting Islam took hold among central Islamic peoples, joining extraordinary and miraculous events. individuals through widespread networks resembling More information available at http://cup.columbia. today’s prominent paths and orders. Understanding edu/book/978-0-231-14490-2/sufi-bodies.
THOMAS BLOM HANSEN Melancholia of Freedom: Social Life of an Indian Township in South Africa Princeton University Press (July 22, 2012) The end of apartheid in 1994 signaled a moment of freedom and a promise of a nonracial future. With this promise came an injunction: define yourself as you truly are, as an individual, and as a community. Almost two decades later it is clear that it was less the prospect of that future than the habits and horizons of anxious life in racially defined enclaves that determined postapartheid freedom. In this book, Thomas Blom Hansen offers an in-depth analysis of the uncertainties, dreams, and anxieties that have accompanied postapartheid freedoms in Chatsworth, a formerly Indian township in Durban. Exploring five decades of township life, Hansen tells the stories of ordinary Indians whose lives were racialized and framed by the township, and how these residents domesticated and inhabited this urban space and its institutions, during apartheid and after. This new book charts some of these social processes from the perspective of a particular township created outside of Durban in the 1950s and defined as Indian until 1994.
colonial India. Debates over the mundane aspects of schooling, rather than debates between religious leaders, transformed the everyday definitions of what it meant to be a Christian, Hindu, or Muslim. Speaking to our own time, Sengupta concludes that today’s Qur’an schools are not, as has been argued, throwbacks to a premodern era. She argues instead that Qur’an schools share a pedagogical frame with today’s Christian and Muslim schools, a connection that plays out the long history of this colonial encounter. SHARIKA THIRANGAMA In My Mother’s House: Civil War in Sri Lanka University of Pennsylvania Press (September 21, 2011)
In May 2009, the Sri Lankan army overwhelmed the last stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam— better known as the Tamil Tigers—officially bringing an end to nearly three decades of civil war. Although the war has ended, the place of minorities in Sri Lanka remains uncertain, not least because the lengthy conflict drove entire populations from their homes. The figures are jarring. For example, all of the roughly 80,000 Muslims in northern Sri Lanka were expelled from the Tamil Tigercontrolled north, and nearly half of all Sri Lankan Tamils were displaced during the course of the civil war. PARNA SENGUPTA In My Mother’s House revolves around three major Pedagogy for Religion: Missionary Education and the themes: ideas of home in the midst of profound Fashioning of Hindus and Muslims in Bengal displacement; transformations of familial experience; and University of California Press (August 13, 2011) the impact of the political violence—carried out by both the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan state—on ordinary Offering a new approach to the study of religion and empire, this innovative book challenges a widespread myth lives and public speech. Her rare focus on the effects and responses to LTTE political regulation and violence of modernity—that Western rule has had a secularizing effect on the non-West—by looking closely at missionary demonstrates that envisioning a peaceful future for post-conflict Sri Lanka requires taking stock of the new schools in Bengal. Parna Sengupta examines the period Tamil and Muslim identities forged by the civil war. These from the 1850s to the 1930s and finds that modern identities cannot simply be cast away with the end of the education effectively reinforced the place of religion in war but must be negotiated anew. SOUTHASIA.STANFORD.EDU
TECHNIQUES OF THE CITY: GRIDS, INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE MATERIALITY OF URBAN LIFE MARCH 1-2, 2012 To share space and amenities with strangers is a defining feature of urban life. But public space is not merely a question of social practice. Its form and dynamics are fundamentally shaped by technical interventions by planners, engineers and security officials that shape roads, suburban train lines, building density, layout of parks and commercial areas and much more. The physicality and design of cities are akin to huge machines that channel and give specific form to urban life. The character of a city, its ‘vibe’, its symbolic sites, its historicity and its rhythms have material and tangible form. This accumulated materiality is a form of living memory, physical shapes, grids and invisible systems that embody the city’s past but also structures its future as powerfully, or even more powerfully, than any political institution or social force. While the study of architecture, planning and urban design had been an integral part of urban studies in many parts of the world for a long time,
these themes had only recently emerged as objects of systematic study in South Asia. This seminar had a double purpose: firstly, to bring together scholars who work on historical and contemporary aspects of urban design and planning in various parts of South Asia; and, secondly, to make an effort to bring crucial insights from science and technology studies to bear on the urban experience in South Asia. Considering the long history of urban planning in the region—from colonial statecraft to the contemporary attempts to address urban problems through purely technical solutions—there was a very rich potential for a creative dialogue between this body of theory and South Asian realities. Co-Sponsored by the Stanford Humanities Center.
DR. S.V. MAHADEVAN
Development of India’s First 9-1-1 System: Stanford’s Role and Hope for Other Nations March 13, 2012 In August 2005, the Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) launched emergency medical services in Andhra Pradesh, India. The subsequent success of this service led to rapid expansion across India, making it the largest single provider of prehospital care in the world. Stanford Emergency Medicine International (Stanford School of Medicine) has played an integral role in the EMRI’s growth and maturation. Dr. Mahadevan shared his experiences working in India and described the rise of this prehospital service from obscurity, its development of India’s first international paramedic institute, their inaugural research findings and implications, and future directions. Dr. Mahadevan is Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine/Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine and directs Stanford Emergency Medicine International (SEMI). He has taught, practiced or developed emergency medicine in Gambia, Egypt, China, Thailand, Jamaica, Nepal, Ethiopia, Jordan, Iraq, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and India. He was instrumental in setting up India’s first paramedic training institute (2007) and prehospital research center (2009), and Nepal’s first EMT training program (2010) and EMS system (2011). More information about these programs at Stanford can be found at: http://emed.stanford.edu/education/ international/projects.html.
SOUTH ASIA BY THE BAY: GRADUATE STUDENT CONFERENCE
MAY 9-11, 2012 As South Asia experiences rapid and unprecedented transformation, both scholarly and public interest in the region has grown dramatically in recent years. A large new generation of graduate students working on South Asia in the humanities and social sciences is in the process of rethinking approaches to the study of South Asian culture, society, politics, economics, law, history, literature, and the arts. Started in 2012, South Asia by the Bay is a brand new initiative based in the San Francisco Bay Area. It aims to establish an annual forum where graduate students from across disciplines and institutions in North America, who work on South Asia, can meet to discuss their work with each other and South Asia-affiliated faculty from the
organizing institutions (Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz). At the first South Asia by the Bay, plenary addresses were given by Kamran Ali from the University of Texas, Austin, Priti Ramamurthy from the University of Washington, and Marc Galanter from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Additionally, there was an interactive session with faculty on the international job market in South Asian studies, art exhibitions, film screening and discussion with Mumbai-based filmmaker Surabhi Sharma, and social events for conference participants.
BAATCHEET AROUND THE BAY MAY 11, 2012 Baatcheet Around the Bay was a year-long collaborative program with the Asian Art Museum San Francisco, San Jose Museum of Art, Berkeley Art Museum, and UC Berkeley designed to increase public understanding in the Bay Area about South Asian art and visual culture by bringing scholars, curators, students, visual and performance artists, collectors, art enthusiasts, and members of the Bay Area community together for a series of multimedia conversations over the course of one year.
SURABHI SHARMA Bidesia in Bambai Bidesia in Bambai is a story of music, migration and mobile phones. Migration is the predominant theme in the music, and the phone is a recurring motif. Mobile phones are also used to circulate local music, apart from being the only way to stay connected to mothers and wives back home in the village. This film follows two singers in Mumbai who occupy extreme ends of the migrant worker’s vibrant music scene: a taxi driver chasing his first record deal and the star of the industry, Kalpana. It will be featured in Sharma’s upcoming project. Surabhi Sharma is a graduate of St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, and is a filmmaker and founder of SurFilms. ANNA SCHULTZ The Aesthetics of Suffering in Indo-Caribbean YouTube Indenture Videos. This presentation addresses how music in YouTube videos transforms indenture images from suffering to “heritage.” Schultz argues that music is key to the politics of visibility on the Internet, guiding the attachment of viewer/listeners’ subjectivities and rendering some images more visible than others. Anna Schultz is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at Stanford. She received her Ph.D. in Music from the University of Illinois in 2004. Her book, Singing a Hindu Nation, is soon to be published by Oxford University Press.
ALEX PINTO Hybrid Music: Forging Sonic Bonds between Hindustani Music and Modern Jazz This presentation is a discussion and demonstration of Pinto’s efforts to blend traditions of Hindustani classical music with modern jazz. Alex Pinto is an award-winning guitarist and composer who introduced himself on the global stage with the release of his debut album, Inner State, in 2011. Pinto’s work has been profiled in Downbeat and Guitar Player magazine. He currently resides in San Francisco where he has an active performance schedule and will soon be launching the SF Offside Festival, a festival dedicated to the creativity and diversity of the Bay Area jazz scene, at the end of May. ASHVEER SINGH Resurrecting Bhangra by the Bay: Bhangra History and Performance in Northern California One of the most recognizable South Asian contributions toi world music and performance is the Punjabi folk dance bhangra. What began as an amalgamation of folk dances from the Punjab has transformed into a global phenomena with dancers and musicians around the world contributing to the genre. Northern California is home to a vibrant bhangra community and is known globally as a center of innovation for bhangra. In this presentation Singh will contextualize Northern California’s bhangra scene and discuss the ways in which bhangra by the Bay has been instrumental in creating a cohesive global bhangra imaginary. Ashveer Singh is a graduate student in Anthropology at Stanford University.
PRACTICE MEETS RESEARCH: WORKSHOP ON TECHNOLOGY AND DEMOCRACY IN SOUTH ASIA
May 24, 2012 Over the past decade, information technology has become a powerful factor in shaping, translating, and evaluating democracy across South Asia, from the local to the transnational level. Ambitious government projects such as the Aadhar project to create comprehensive biometric identities, online surveillance systems to monitor citizens’ and politicians’ behavior, as well as initiatives to provide unprecedented electronic transparency are just a few examples of technology’s influence in shaping government-citizen engagement. At the same time, individuals are using information technology to reinvent ways of understanding, enacting, and critiquing democracy in their daily lives.
The Center for South Asia hosted a one-day workshop comprising practitioners and researchers working on these issues on May 24, 2012. The workshop sought to foster a dialogue among people who are engaged in this issue either as creators of technology projects or as academic researchers in a rapidly evolving field. A follow-up workshop to be held in India is being planned for 2013.
9:00 AM REGISTRATION & COFFEE
12:30 PM - 2:00 PM LUNCH BREAK
9:30 AM Thomas Blom HANSEN WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
2:00 PM - 3:45 PM Rupa VISWANATH University of Goettingen, Center for Modern Indian Studies Translating the Apocalypse: Polyglot Pentecostalism and Interlinguistic Intimacy in Dharavi, Mumbai
9:45 AM - 12:30 PM Laura BEAR London School of Economics This Body Is Our Body: Viswakarma Puja, the Social Debts of Kinship, Megan MOODIE and Theologies of Maternity in a Neo-Liberal UC Santa Cruz Shipyard Religion and the Subaltern Civil Servant: Scheduled Tribe Followers of Rahasoami in Jaipur Naveeda KHAN John Hopkins University 3:45 PM - 4:15 PM The City as the Sacred Within One: COFFEE Reading Shahabnama 4:15 PM - 6:00 PM Radhika GUPTA William ELISON Max Planck Institute for the Dartmouth College Study of Religious and Ethnic The Prayer-o-Mat Project: Identity Towards and Retheorization of Urban Darshan Fixed, Fluid and Invisible: Twelver Shiâ€™ite Religiosity in Contemporary Madhura LOHOKARE Mumbai Syracuse University Boyz II Men: Ganesh Mandals in Pune as a Site of Masculine Identity
THE SACRED AND THE CITY: RELIGIOUS IMAGINATION AND EVERYDAY ENCHANTMENTS IN THE SOUTH ASIAN CITY OCTOBER 4, 2012
Generations of social scientists have assumed that the modern city was the primary locus of secularization of social life. In the city, “all that is solid melts into air,” Marx asserted. Traditional beliefs and ties were irrevocably changed by the exposure to capitalism, commodities, and new social hierarchies defined by class and property. The conspicuous presence of public religion in South Asian cities have always pushed against such assumptions: religious processions, shrines, temples, and mosques were from the outset defining features of the urban landscape; religious community was one of the strongest and most distinct features that defined spatial limits of neighborhoods, structured the labor force, and defined urban conflicts. It was the urban environment that saw the articulation of longstanding and bloody communal conflicts in South Asia from the late nineteenth century to the present. Here, communities divided by caste, custom, and language were forged into aggregated communities of “Hindus”, “Muslims”, “Sikhs” and other groupings,
clashing in the streets during tense times of larger political and cultural conflicts. Religious life manifests itself in many other and more mundane ways in South Asian cities: the roadside shrines for local deities and saints, makeshift temples in slums, shining new temples marking the prosperity of upmarket neighborhoods, conflicts over building, removal or renovation of older religious structures, emergence of housing colonies defined as “vegetarian” and Hindu. Examples abound. Yet, the idea of urban space as potentially sacred space rarely makes an appearances in urban studies in South Asia, or elsewhere. This seminar aims to (1) explore how ideas of the sacred, religious practices, and religious boundarymaking has continuously structured social life in South Asian cities, as well as (2) explore how these dynamics may be incorporated into how space and social practices can be theoretically framed and understood.
UPCOMING PROGRAMS 2012-2013
Center for South Asia Fall 2012 Events October 4, 9am-6pm, Conference
The Sacred and the City: Religious Imagination and Everyday Enchantments in the City Cisac Conference Room, Encina Hall Central
October 19, 10am-5.30pm, Workshop Bethany Lacina, University of Rochester Book Manuscript Workshop
Forced Ruling: Violence, Language, and Federalism in the Governing of India, 1950–2009 Wallenberg Hall, Room 321 *Must register in advance
November 1, 5 pm, Film Screening Jai Bhim Comrade
Screening and Discussion with Filmmaker Anand Patwardhan Annenberg Auditorium
November 2, 12 pm, Panel Discussion
“Caste and the Meaning of Freedom” Panel Discussion featuring Anand Patwardhan, Gopal Guru, and Aishwary Kumar Anthropology Colloquium Room
November 8, 4.30 pm, Panel Discussion
Co-Sponsored Events September 26, 12 pm, Panel Discussion “Is the Party Over? Reform, Planning and Growth in India” Koret-Taube Conference Room Sponsored by Stanford Center for International Development * Only open to Stanford Affiliates. Must register in advance
September 27 & 28, Conference Annual Conference on India: The Twelfth Plan
Koret-Taube Conference Room Sponsored by Stanford Center for International Development * Only open to Stanford Affiliates. Must register in advance
October 1, 3.15 pm, Lecture
Laura Bear, London School of Economics “Making a River of Gold: Publicity, Friendship and Public-Private Partnerships on the Hooghly” Building 50, Room 51A Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology
October 5, 12.15 pm, Lecture
Rupa Viswanath, University of Gottingen “Questioning Conversion: Authenticity and the Legacies of Unfreedom in Modern India” Building 70, Room 72A1 Sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies
Writing Under Siege
Featuring Basharat Peer, Sugi Ganeshananthan, Tsering Wangmo, and Pireeni Sundaralingam Lucas Conference Center
November 9, 9am-5pm, Conference Sri Lanka: Intersections
2012 Sri Lanka Graduate Student Conference Lucas Conference Center
Center for South Asia
417 Galvez Mall, Encina Hall West, Room 104-5, Stanford, CA 94305 Division of International, Comparative, and Area Studies SOUTHASIA.STANFORD.EDU
CSA Annual Lecture and Reception November 27, 4 pm Gopal Guru, Jawaharlal Nehru University “An Anthropology of Social Thought: Understanding Ambedkar” Stanford Humanities Center
VERNACULAR URBANISM AND THE PROVINCIAL CITY IN SOUTH ASIA 4TH URBAN SOUTH ASIA SEMINAR AT CENTER FOR SOUTH ASIA AT STANFORD JANUARY 24-25, 2013
The four major metropolitan cities in India, Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta and Chennai, have a paradigmatic place in the literature on urban life in the entire region. Large cities like Bangalore and Ahmedabad are rarely studied as urban spaces, and less so are Lahore, Karachi and Kathmandu. Other major urban spaces, such as Dhaka, Colombo, Lucknow and Kanpur, are hardly studied in their contemporary form. However, the biggest absence in the scholarly understanding of urban South Asia is the massive landscape of hundreds of provincial cities, many of them exceeding 500,000 people. Most of these cities have emerged in the past few decades from being minor towns, local railway hubs or minor industrial centers. This seminar will be devoted to exploring two larger questions: (1) what spatial, political and cultural imaginings
and designs define the public life of provincial cities? Do the metropolitan areas in the region provide hegemonic models or do we see attempts to define aesthetics, symbols and urban institutions that reflect specific regional histories? (2) As urban centers grow and diversify in terms of communities of caste, language and religion what are the relations between “community” as an ethical and practical structure, and the commercialization of public life, which are increasingly mediated by access to capital, land and private sector jobs? Is the older proverbial contradiction between capital and community giving way to a new (and yet old) “caste capitalism”, where caste and community are the most important forces shaping and enabling mobility and accumulation of wealth in urban spaces across South Asia?
SIKHOLARS FEBRUARY 16-17, 2013
FAR FROM THE NATION, CLOSE TO THE STATE: NORTHEAST INDIA WORKSHOP, MARCH 14-15 2013
The Sikholars conference has attracted young scholars from over three continents and 25 universities. This conference will cover a range of topics: Khalistan to Unix Coding, sex-selective abortion, diasporic literature, Nihangs in the court of Ranjit Singh, the North American bhangra circuit, Sikh sculpture and architecture, and representations of masculinity in Punjabi films.
Northeast India has been a central location for the two main ways in which the Indian state has grappled with cultural and social minorities for decades. On the one hand, there have been several successful ethnic mobilizations in separate states and autonomous zones. On the other hand, there has been a growing tendency to “incorporate” communities into the larger national community by according them Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste status, allowing these groups access to educational opportunities and reservations accompanying such status. This status presupposes that a community can prove that it has been the victim of social discrimination and/or cultural and geographical remoteness from an imputed “mainstream” national culture and polity. This is the first in a series of workshops that will help situate Northeast India where one can rethink the existing understandings of human rights, citizenship, resource politics, and identity movements in contemporary India. SOUTHASIA.STANFORD.EDU
SOUTH ASIA BY THE BAY MAY 18-19, 2013 We are excited to again be hosting the South Asia by the Bay conference, now in its second year. As South Asia experiences rapid and unprecedented transformation, both scholarly and public interest in the region has grown dramatically in recent years. A large new generation of graduate students working on South Asia in the humanities and social sciences is in the process of rethinking approaches to the study of South Asian culture, society, politics, economics, law, history, literature, and the arts. This conference aims to establish an annual forum where graduate students from across disciplines and institutions in North America can meet to discuss their work with each other, and with South Asia-affiliated faculty from the organizing institutions (Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Davis, and University of California, Santa Cruz).
UPCOMING PROGRAMS 2013-2014
MAOISM IN TRANSLATION FALL 2013 In 2006, India’s Home Minister Chidambaram declared that the ongoing insurgency in India’s “red belt”, stretching from Nepal in the north to the jungles of Telangana in the south, was considered the most serious internal threat to India’s security. Since then, thousands of police officers and paramilitaries, along with hastily armed civil patrols and vigilantes in the affected areas, have been engaged in quelling a revolt led by Maoist guerillas who declared war on the Indian state, the protector of a highly unequal social order. This complex history begs many questions that can only be answered by a comparative perspective on the dynamics of what one can call “vernacular Maoism.” This conference aims to bring together scholars from across area specializations and disciplines at Stanford along with a range of invited speakers.
URBAN REMAINS: UNAUTHORIZED STRUCTURES, DEBRIS AND ANACHRONISTIC FORMS OF LIFE IN THE MODERN SOUTH ASIAN CITY 2013-14
It is an old truism that in South Asian cities nothing ever disappears. The new is always superimposed but never entirely displaces that which came before. Decades of gradual and often haphazard urban growth across the subcontinent bore this out in multiple ways: slum colonies hang on to steep slopes and patches of land; temples and dargahs remain in the middle of busy roads; crumbling buildings are stubbornly occupied by tenants clinging to their rights as much as their homes. Today, the entire region faces new and much more determined and systematic efforts at making over cities, waterfronts, traffic systems and the housing market than ever seen before. Urban growth is also accelerating, and the old centers and colonial layouts of cities seem ever more obsolete and irrelevant. However, a closer look reveals that older material grids and neighborhoods remain sites of an irreducible multiplicity, often inhabited by religious, social and cultural minorities connected to older, often informal but very vibrant forms of economy and exchange. This seminar seeks to explore changing notions of history and memory and how cultural and religious difference today is increasingly mapped onto the urban landscapes at a temporal distance. The modern middle classes define the new and burgeoning cityscape while a range of minorities and impoverished populations, now rapidly displaced and marginalized, remain embedded in older parts of the city, which are turned into zones of non-respectability and danger but also sites of desire and nostalgia. This seminar will contribute to a rethinking of how the South Asian city actually works without relying on the plannerâ€™s point of view or assumptions derived from European/American urban theory.
THE SAHMAT COLLECTIVE: ART AND ACTIVISM IN INDIA SINCE 1989 CANTOR ARTS CENTER, 2014 Since its founding in 1989, the influential Delhi-based artists’ organization, Sahmat, has offered a platform for artists, writers, poets, musicians, and actors to create and present works of art that promote artistic freedom and secular, egalitarian values. Co-curated by the Smart Museum’s Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Jessica Moss, and Delhi-based curator and artist, Ram Rahman, The Sahmat Collective: Art and Activism in India since 1989 will provide fresh insight into two timely subjects: contemporary visual art from India, and art as a force for political activism and social change. The Sahmat Collective will present a survey of artworks and ephemera from this unique—and at times controversial—collective in an exhibition that uniquely situates two decades of contemporary Indian art within the political sphere, its import within contemporary art, and its continuing relevance to larger conversations about art’s many roles in the world. Informed by the expertise of the University of Chicago’s renowned South and Southeast Asian studies faculty, the themes of The Sahmat Collective will be supported by a substantial publication and new Threshold series commission.
GLOBAL SUFISM: LECTURE AND CONCERT SERIES 2013-14
LITERATURE AND MEDICINE SERIES 2013-14 This brand-new series will be kicked off by a large keynote lecture by Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of the well-known biography of cancer The Emperor of Maladies. This event will also mark CSA’s commitment to building networks within Stanford and in our community as we will work together with Palo Alto Medical Foundation and possibly the Stanford Medical School for this event. Dr. Mukherjee will inaugurate the Bay Area’s newest and largest cancer facility at PAMF as part of his stay in the Bay Area. Next in the series is another Stanford Alumnus, Dr. Atul Gawande, author of The Checklist Manifesto and Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science, who will present a lecture on the intersection of writing and medicine. Finally, we will feature Stanford Medical School’s very own Dr. Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone. It is a possibility that Sharmeen Obaid, also a Stanford alumnus, will be presenting as part of this series on her Oscar-winning film Saving Face.
Since the ninth century, the influence of Sufi shrines and philosophies have been impossible to confine to a geographical area. Over time, this influence has spread beyond the Islamic world to the entire globe. This lecture and concert series will inquire into the spread of Sufism and showcase its multiple and regional forms. The Center for South Asia will be first highlighting Global Sufism at our 2012 Annual Lecture and Reception with Nile Green and his talk “From Religious Establishment to Reformation: Sufi Islam in South Asia and the World.”
EVENTS 2012-13 Fall OCTOBER 4, 9 AM-6 PM, Cisac Conference Room, Encina Hall Central The Sacred and the City: Religious Imagination and Everyday Enchantments in the City OCTOBER 19, 10 AM-5.30 PM, Wallenberg Hall, Room 321 Bethany Lacina (University of Rochester) Book Manuscript Workshop Forced Ruling: Violence, Language, and Federalism in the Governing of India, 1950–2009 * Must register in advance NOVEMBER 1, 5 PM, Annenberg Auditorium Screening and Discussion with filmmaker Anand Patwardhan Jai Bhim Comrade NOVEMBER 2, 12 PM, Anthropology Colloquium Room Panel Discussion with Aishwary Kumar, Linda Hess, and Thomas Blom Hansen (Stanford University) Caste and the Meaning of Freedom
Winter JANUARY 22-23 (Venue TBA) 3rd Urban South Asia Workshop FEBRUARY 13, Lecture Mounis Faruqui (University of California, Berkely) FEBRUARY 15-16 (Venue TBA) Sikholars: Sikh Studies Conference FEBRUARY 28, Public Lecture Katherine Boo Poverty In The Context Of Plenty: Life, Death And Hope In A Mumbai Undercity
NOVEMBER 8, 4.30 PM, Lucas Conference Center Panel Discussion with Basharat Peer, Sugi Ganeshananthan, Tsering Wangmo, and Pireeni Sundaralingam Writing Under Siege
MARCH 5, Book Workshop Saikat Majumdar (Stanford University, Department of English)
CSA ANNUAL LECTURE AND RECEPTION
MARCH 14-15, Northeast India Workshop Far From the Nation, Close to the State: Hazy Sovereignty and Anxious Citizenship in India’s Northeast
NOVEMBER 29, 4 PM, Stanford Humanities Center Nile Green
Co-Sponsored Events SEPTEMBER 26, 12 PM, Koret-Taube Conference Room “Is the Party Over? Reform, Planning and Growth in India” Sponsored by Stanford Center for International Development * Only open to Stanford Affiliates. Must register in advance SEPTEMBER 27 & 28, Koret-Taube Conference Room Annual Conference on India: The Twelfth Plan Sponsored by Stanford Center for International Development * Only open to Stanford Affiliates. Must register in advance OCTOBER 1, 3.15 PM, Building 50, Room 51A Laura Bear (London School of Economics) “Making a River of Gold: Publicity, Friendship and Public-Private Partnerships on the Hooghly” Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology
OCTOBER 5, 12.15 PM, Building 70, Room 72A1 Rupa Viswanath (University of Gottingen) “Questioning Conversion: Authenticity and the Legacies of Unfreedom in Modern India” Sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies
APRIL 9, Lecture Sharique Hassan (Stanford University)
APRIL 16, Panel Discussion Faisal Devji (University of Oxford) Shruti Kapila (University of Cambridge)
MAY 7, Lecture Anjali Arondekar
MAY 18-19, Graduate Student Conference South Asia by the Bay
PLANNED UNDERGRADUATE OUTREACH ACTIVITIES During the 2012-2013 school year, the Center for South Asia is hoping to start a number of outreach initiatives targeted primarily at Stanford undergraduates: HINDI MEZ: Hindi is the main South Asian language offered at Stanford, and there are a number of native speakers in the Stanford community. This will be a weekly meeting, designed for all levels of Hindi to engage in conversations in Hindi around a range of topics. SOUTH ASIAN FILM SCREENINGS: South Asia has a rich film culture that highlights various aspects of the culture, history and social milieu of the region. A short discussion or lecture program will accompany film screenings.
COMMUNITY SERVICE IN THE BAY AREA: One of the major goals of the Center this year is to better connect students with the South Asian community in the Bay Area. CSA will interface with the Haas Community Service Center and the Community Writing Project to identify opportunities for students to volunteer in the community. CSA will also work with a number of South Asian organizations that are service-oriented to find ways for students to be involved and volunteer with these organizations. SOUTH ASIAN READING GROUP: The reading group will focus on reading and discussing one book a month. The books would include novels and literature from South Asia as well as books that investigate current issues in South Asia.
K-12 OUTREACH: Faculty and graduate students
affiliated with the Center for South Asia could be available to present on topics of interest such as: geography, food and dress, family life, language, technology and development, folk arts and oral narrative traditions, history, religious practice, the environment, historical and contemporary political systems, the growth of India as an economic power, and migration within and from South Asia. In addition to classroom visits, we can work with teachers to design or revise lesson plans. We are particularly interested in working in schools whose students may have limited experiences with South Asian cultures.
SOUTH ASIAN CURRENT AFFAIRS SEMINAR COURSE:
This course would likely be in conjunction with the reading group. This course would serve as a primer for undergraduate students to gain knowledge of key issues in South Asia and an understanding of some of the major scholarly work taking place in the region.
ART/PHOTOGRAPHY/FILM CONTEST: One of the major
themes of the Center for South Asia this year is Visual Culture in South Asia. In keeping with that theme, the Center will host a visual contest for student art and photography featuring South Asia.
CENTER FOR SOUTH ASIA 417 GALVEZ MALL ENCINA HALL WEST, ROOM 104 STANFORD, CA 94305 southasia.stanford.edu