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CSAS Endowed Lectures

Kavita Datla Memorial Lectures

Kavita Datla

Kavita Datla received her bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Michigan in 1997, then pursued her master’s degree at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi and completed her doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley. Unfortunately, Datla passed away in July 2017 after a hard-fought battle with a rare form of cancer. She was an associate professor at Mount Holyoke College at the time of her death and was promoted to full professor posthumously.

In her honor, the University of Michigan Center for South Asian Studies (CSAS) hosts an annual lecture series to honor Kavita’s work and her passion for research in India, enabled by a generous donation from the Datla family and friends.

October 2023 - Urdu's Intoxicated Mirror: Maharaja Kishan Parshad and Indian History

Syed Akbar Hyder, Associate Professor, Department of Asian Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Story recapping the lecture.

October 2022 - The Law That Refuses to Die: Preventive Detention in Early Colonial India

Bhavani Raman, University of Toronto

Story recapping the lecture.

April 2022 - Political Futures and the Ends of Empire: Self-Determination and Federation in Twentieth-century South India

Rama Mantena, Department of History, University of Illinois Chicago

April 2021 - Muslim Religious Ideas and Identities in Mughal North India

Muzaffar Alam, George V. Bobrinskoy Professor of South Asian Languages, University of Chicago


November 2018 - Dark Genealogies: Ambedkar's Struggles with History

Sudipta Kaviraj, Professor of Indian Politics and Intellectual History, Columbia University

Story recapping the lecture.

Thomas Trautmann Honorary Lectures

Tom Trautmann

This annual lecture series honors Thomas Roger Trautmann, an American historian, cultural anthropologist, and U-M Professor Emeritus of History and Anthropology. He is a leading expert on the Arthashastra, the ancient Hindu text on statecraft, economic policy, and military strategy. Trautmann has mentored many students during his tenure at U-M, and his studies focus on ancient India, the history of anthropology, and other related subjects. 

The generosity of individuals and institutions has made the endowment that supports this series possible. CSAS would like to recognize Martha and Inderpal Bhatia, in particular. 

March 2024 - The Exemption that Proves the Rule: Reading Law Between the Lines of South Asian Foundation Charters

Timothy Lubin, Jessie Ball duPont Professor of Religion, Adjunct Professor of Law, and Head of the Law, Justice and Society Program at Washington and Lee University

Story recapping the lecture.

April 2023 - Bhoja Among the Gonds: Place, Memory and the Afterlives of Kingship in Medieval India

Daud Ali, University of Pennsylvania

Story recapping the lecture.

February 2021 - Time, Memory, Oblivion: Social Frames and the Production of Collective Pasts

Sumit Guha, Professor, Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professorship in History, University of Texas at Austin

Podcast about the lecture.

December 2021 - (Indian) Animals Are Good to Think With

Stephanie Jamison, Department of Asian Languages & Cultures, UCLA


September 2019 - Early Readers and Early Readings of the Mahābhārata

Christopher Minkowski, Boden Professor of Sanskrit at the University of Oxford

October 2018 - Conflict, Violence and Resistance in Ancient India

Upinder Singh, Professor of History, Ashoka University (Sonepat)