During the academic year the Center for South Asian Studies (CSAS) presents a variety of lectures. Audio and/or video recordings will be posted to this site shortly after the events occur. Please check back regularly for our latest talks.
Some CSAS lectures are also available as podcasts on University of Michigan iTunes U.
Dilip Menon studied in Delhi, Oxford (Balliol) and Cambridge (Trinity) and was a Fellow of Magdalene College Cambridge before returning to India to take up teaching posts and fellowships in Trivandrum, Hyderabad and Delhi. He has held postdoctoral and teaching positions at Cambridge, Yale, Zentrum fur Moderner Orient (Berlin)and Maison des Science de les Hommes (Paris) and has published three books and several articles on caste, socialism and modernity in India. Menon is currently working on a book project on the historical imagination in South India between 1860 and 1960 to be titled "Thinking History in Colonial Times." He is currently the Mellon Chair in Indian Studies, and Director Centre for Indian Studies in Africa at the University of Witwatersrand.
October 9 - 2015 Summer in South Asia Fellowship Symposium
Six undergraduate students were selected to be Summer in South Asia Fellows during the 2014-15 academic year. Each fellow designed, implemented, and enacted their own proposals for their summers in India. At the symposium, students present their research and findings.
April 17 - Daniel Herwitz (Frederick G.L. Huetwell Professor, University of Michigan) Secularized Heritage and Fundamentalist India: The Case of M.F. Husain
Herwitz is the author of The Star as Icon, Columbia Press, October, 2008, Key Concepts in Aesthetics, Continuum Press, 2008, Race and Reconciliation, University of Minnesota Press, 2003, Making Theory/Constructing Art: On the Authority of the Avant-Garde, University of Chicago Press, 1993, and Husain, Tata Press in India, 1987. He has also published Midnight’s Diaspora: Critical Encounters with Salman Rushdie, a book of essays co-edited with Ashutosh Varshney of the University of Michigan for UM Press, November 2008, Action, Art, History: Critical Engagements with Arthur Danto, Columbia University Press, March 2007, edited with Michael Kelly, and The Don Giovanni Moment, Columbia University Press, edited with Lydia Goehr, Columbia University Press, 2006.
February 13 - Allison Busch (Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, Columbia University) History as Elegy: The Poetics of Commemoration in Early Modern Hindi
Allison Busch's research centers on early modern Hindi literature and cultural history, with a special interest in courtly India. She is the author of Poetry of Kings (Oxford, 2011), a book about Mughal-period literary culture. She has published numerous articles on the literary and intellectual life of seventeenth-century sub-imperial courts. Culture and Circulation, an edited volume (with Dr. Thomas de Bruijn of Leiden, the Netherlands) that explores literary history from a multilingual point of view, has recently come out from Brill. Her current research is on local histories from the Mughal-period that were recorded in classical Hindi dialects such as Brajbhasha and Rajasthani. She is also the recent recipient of an ACLS collaborative grant and is co-authoring a book on aesthetic worlds of the Indian heroine with art historian Molly Aitken.
January 30 - Ritesh Mistry (School of Public Health, University of Michigan) Youth Tobacco Control in India
Dr. Mistry received his Ph.D. from the UCLA School of Public Health and completed his post-doctoral training at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is currently an Assistant Professor in The University of Michigan, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education. He has conducted studies in the U.S. and internationally in areas of tobacco use, physical activity, food choice, and health care utilization. He was a recipient of the Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholar Award to study the implementation of India's tobacco control policy and adolescent tobacco use. He has been Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator on studies funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the California Tobacco Related Disease Research Program. His research has received news media attention from local, national and international agencies such as CNN, Reuters, Times of India and others.
December 5 - Tarfia Faizullah (Helen Zell Writers’ Program, University of Michigan) The Syntax of Witness: A Reading and Discussion
Born in Brooklyn and raised in west Texas, Tarfia Faizullah is the Pushcart Prize winning author of Seam (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), and winner of the 2012 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Her poems appear in American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Missouri Review, The Southern Review, Massachusetts Review, Ninth Letter, New England Review, Washington Square, and anthologized in Poems of Devotion, Excuse This Poem, The Book of Scented Things, and Best New Poets 2014.
October 3 - Arvind Rajagopal (Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University) Cold War Communication and the Cold War: An Indian History of a Global Form
Arvind Rajagopal's scholarly work is at the intersection of sociology, cultural history and media theory, and explores the history of publicity and political aesthetics as seen from the global south.
January 10 - Kathleen Morrison (Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago) Temple Destruction and Historical Construction: Rethinking the 'Fall' of Vijayanagara
The eponymous capital of Vijayanagara was largely abandoned following the defeat of the imperial army at Talikota in 1565. The city was burned and looted and its monumental temple complexes, gateways, and images left in ruins. Despite the massive and pervasive dismantling of architecture at the city, however, the level and focus of destruction is strikingly variable. In this paper, we draw on the material record of late Vijayanagara temple complexes and other sacral forms to examine these patterns of differentially distributed political violence.
December 6 - Summer in South Asia Symposium (Summer in South Asia Fellows)
October 22 - Jeffrey Witsoe (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Union College) Theorizing Lower Caste Politics: A View from Bihar
Bihar, a north Indian state of over a hundred million people, is India’s poorest state known for caste conflict, political violence, and a Maoist insurgency. At the same time, since the early 1990s a dramatic upsurge of lower caste politics swept Bihar and other parts of north India. Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork conducted since 2002, this talk examines why caste remains the most important political identity in Bihar and what this reveals about the dynamics of India’s democracy.
October 4 - Paromitra Vohra (Devi Pictures and Hughes Fellow) CSAS Film Series: 'Partners in Crime' Co-sponsored by the Department of Screen Arts & Cultures.
When more than three-fourths of those with an Internet connection download material for free, are they living out a brand new cultural freedom – or are they criminals? Full of wicked irony, great music, and thorny questions, this 2011 film explores the grey horizons of copyright and culture during a time when technology is changing the contours of the market.
October 2 - D. Damodaran Nampoothiri (Executive Director, Centre for Research and Education for Social Transformation--CREST) Addressing Under-Representation in the Time of Globalization: A Kerala Experience in Affirmative Action Co-sponsored by the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.
Higher education was opened to the poorest communities in Kerala, such as Dalits and Adivasis. However, from the 1950s onward, they experienced very little upward social mobility, largely because these historically ostracized and excluded communities lacked the social, cultural, and symbolic capital which the mainstream communities always held in ample measure.
September 20 - Nusrat Chowdhury (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Amherst College) Revealing Powers: Money, Morality, and Politics in Bangladesh
This discussion focuses on the popular preoccupation with money, in the larger context of national politics documented during Chowdhury's fieldwork in 2007-2008 in Phulbari, Bangladesh. It focuses on money, which, as a medium of political communication, distilled a set of popular discourses about governmental corruption and the unequal exchange relations that underline a global culture of natural resource extraction.
Human Rights and Pakistan Conference
April 5, 2013
After pressing the play button above, you can view all videos in the playlist by clicking this button in the video tool bar.
Co-sponsored by the American Institute of Pakistan Studies; the Center for International and Comparative Law; the Rackham Dean Special Initiative Fund; the Office of Academic and Multicultural Initiatives; Central Student Government; Muslim Law Students Association; Ford School Student Government; Department of Political Science; Department of Asian Languages and Cultures; Islamic Studies Program; the International Policy Center; Rackham Student Government; the Program in International and Comparative Studies; International Institute and the Office of the President.
September 7 - Dilip da Cunha (University of Pennsylvania) "South Asia as a Hydrological Surface." Co-sponsored by Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning and School of Natural Resources & Environment.
September 14 - Anushiya Ramaswamy (Southern Illinois University) "Lost Without Translation: Telling the Stories of a Silenced People." Co-sponsored by Fall 2012 LSA Translation Theme Semester.
September 28 - Mahmood Farooqui (Writer, Actor, Filmmaker) "The Revival of Dastangoi: Urdu Storytelling in History and Practice." Co-sponsored by the Islamic Studies Program.
October 19 - Nicholas Pilarski, Marisa Perera, Eric Raynal, Carolyn Yarina, Rabia Mahmood, Tessa Adzemovic, Bradley Iott (Student speakers) "Summer in South Asia Fellowship Colloquium."
November 2 - Raman Sukumar (Ecological Sciences, IIS, Bangalore) "Gajatame and Ganesha: The Sacred Elephant of Ancient India"
November 16 - J. Mark Baker & K. Kannan "The Trehan Initiative: "The Environment of India" Conference - Part II" Conference and Q&A
November 30 - Varuni Bhatia (Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Michigan) "Chaitanya and the Politics of Recovery in Colonial Bengal"
January 18 - Karuna Mantena (Yale University) "Gandhi and the Hazards of Action:
The Lessons of Chauri Chaura" Co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science
February 1 - YaliniDream (Movement Artist) "Dissenting Diaspora"
February 8 - Harris Solomon (Duke University) "Epidemic Proportions: "Globesity" and the Accumulative Body in India" Co-Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology
February 15 - Sumathy Sivamohan (University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka) "The Practice of Translation: Academic Exercises and Activist Stances" Co-sponsored by the Center for World Performance Studies and the MFA Program, Department of English
February 18 - Naiza Khan (Visual Studies Department, Karachi University) "The Streets are Rising"
February 22 - Radhika Parameswaran (Indiana University) "Exfoliating Colorism: Contestations, Comedy, and Critique in India's Transnational Media Field"
March 29 - Firdous Azim (Professor, BRAC University, Bangladesh) "Women Writing in Early Twentieth Century Bengal: Contesting the Formation of a New National Identity"
April 12 - Manan Ahmed (Columbia University) "Self-Publishing Prophecies: Apocalypse and Media from Shah Waliullah to Zaid Hamid"
April 19 - Ashish Rajadhyaksha (Center for the Study of Culture and Society, Banglalore, India) "The Digital Ecosystem of Governance in India after 'Aadhaar'"
Dalit Memoirs: Re-Scripting the Subaltern Body
Gyanendra Pandey, Emory University
All Tigers are Tamil, but not all Tamils are Tigers
Sharika Thiranagama, The New School
Summer in South Asia Undergraduate Fellowship Colloquium
Martha Johnson, Sonya Usman, Nader Hakim, Alexandria Passarelli, and Julia Field
The Fire Eaters: Law and Faith in Colonial Public Sphere Debates on Widow Immolation
Tanika Sarkar, Professor of Modern History at the Centre for Historical Studies
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
The Third Trehan Year Conference :"The Environment of India"
Mahesh Rangarajan, Director, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi
Ashwini Chhatre, Department of Geography, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Indenture, Abolition, and the Nation-State Form
Mrinalini Sinha, Professor of History, University of Michigan
The Persistence of the Elephants
Thomas R Trautmann, Professor Emeritus of History and Anthropology
Presented on 4/13/2012
Film Discussion: "The House on Gulmohar Avenue"
Samina Mishra, Film Director; Aswin Punathambekar, Professor of Communications, U-M
Presented: 10/08/10 video
Summer in South Asia Undergraduate Fellowship Colloquium
Featuring project presentations by the 2010 CSAS Summer in South Asia fellows Eman Abdelhadi, Melissa Allan, Jordan Eizenga, Minjoo Kim, Rachel Long, and Ksenija Sabic
Presented: 10/01/10 video
2009 Summer in South Asia Undergraduate Symposium
Rory Crook, Department of Kinesiology audio | video
Project: Addressing the physiological difficulties of a sample of school children with polio and
congenital birth defects by incorporating physical activities with simple exercise equipment.
Caleb Heyman, Department of History and English audio | video
Project: Analysis of how two NGOs in Kolkata interact with the city-space, their structures
and problems as they work to give relief to the city's homeless children.
Old City, New City: Locating the Past in Urban India
An Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference
See the conference program
Keynote Address by Ravi Sundaram, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
Presented: 9/25/09 - 9/13/09 audio | video
Muslim Voices: Traditions and Contexts
A Conference in Honor of Barbara Daly Metcalf
Presented: 9/11/09 - 9/13/09
Will Glover, University of Michigan audio
Francis Robinson, University of London audio
Keynote Address: Strategies of Authority in Muslim South Asia in the Nineteenth
and Twentieth Centuries
Panel I: Islamic Revival in British India
Qasim Zaman, Princeton University audio
Socio-Economic Justice in Deobandi Thought and Action
Usha Sanyal, Queen’s University of Charlotte audio
The Sunni Bihishti Zewar—A Barelwi/Ahl-e Sunnat Guide for Women
Fareeha Khan, Willamette University audio
Interrogating "Reform" and the Concept of "Rights" in Contemporary
Western and Islamic Discourses
Akbar Zaidi, Independent Scholar, Karachi, Pakistan audio
Writing Partial Truths: Orality, Print, Myth and Identities
Panel II: Narrating Lives
David Lelyveld, William Paterson University audio
Young Man Syed: The Early Life of Sayyid Ahmad Khan
Khalid Masud, Council of Islamic Ideology, Islamabad audio
Sayyid Sulayman Nadwi's (d. 1953) Yad-i Raftagan: Narrating Belief, Memory
and Visions of the Future
Lisa Pollard, University of North Carolina at Wilmington audio
Making the Sudanese Mahdi "Arab"
Panel III: Making Muslim Space
Faisal Devji, Oxford University audio
The End of Muslim Universality
Azfar Moin, University of Michigan audio
Painted Rituals: Space and Symbol in Jahangiri Art
Cows, Cars and Cycle-Rickshaws: The Politics of Nature on the Streets of Delhi, India
Amita Baviskar, Delhi University
Presented: 3/27/09 audio
Free to Wander: Some Questions, Predicaments, and Possibilities about Family Histories and Domestic Archives
Sanjay Joshi, Northern Arizona University
Presented: 3/20/09 audio
Swati Chattopadhyay, University of California, Santa Barbara
Presented: 3/13/09 audio
Caste, Gender and the Body Politic: Bengaluru's Experiments with Democracy
Janaki Nair, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta
Presented: 2/16/09 audio
State, Space and Citizenship: Indian Cities in the Global Era
Solomon Benjamin, University of Toronto
Paromita Vohra, Independent Filmmaker, Mumbai
Ravi Sundaram, CSDS, Delhi
Presented 12/23/2009 audio
Calcutta Coefficients: Styles of State-Building, Styles of Computations
Arindam Dutta, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Presented 11/7/2008 audio
Nature, Nationalism, and Public Intellectualism in India
K. (Shivi) Sivaramakrishnan, Yale University
Presented 10/31/2008 audio
The Unwieldy Fetish: Desire and Disavowal of Indianness in South Africa
Thomas Blom Hansen, University of Amsterdam
Presented 10/24/2008 audio
CSAS 2008 Summer in South Asia Undergraduate Symposium
Presented 10/3/2008 audio
Contemporary Indian Art and the War in Iraq: On Vivan Sundaram’s Engine Oil Work
Saloni Mathur, University of California, Los Angeles
Presented 9/26/2008 audio
Religious Conflict and Syncretistic Culture in Peero's "160 Kafis"
Anshu Malhotra, University of Delhi
Presented 9/12/2008 audio