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South Asia Matters

 
This new initiative launched in 2014 by Smriti Srinivas (Professor of Anthropology), focuses attention on the 
historical and contemporary significance of South Asia as a whole including the countries of 
Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Burma, Maldives, and Bhutan. 
 
It also locates South Asia in dialogue with other world areas and places South Asia 
within comparative perspectives. Through workshops, symposia, guest lectures, 
student conferences, film screenings and other events, it engages with key issues 
and debates around science and technology, urbanization, religion, performance traditions,
politics, language policies, cinema, post-colonialism, gender, youth cultures,
and other themes.    

 

Recent Events:

 

South Asia by the Bay Graduate Student Conference at University of California, Davis

 April 22 and 23, 2016

The emergence of Indian Ocean studies as a critical interdisciplinary field in the last decade and a half has offered thoughtful approaches for dismantling boundaries between specific area studies as well as a way of thinking about maps, globality, relationality, pre-colonial and colonial worlds, and transregional movements. Much of the work has been historical with an emphasis on trade, migrations, diasporas, religious networks, and mobilities across the region. The geographical limits of the ocean have provided the contours for analysis resulting in an emphasis on ports, coastal sites, and islands.  Work on the contemporary period has been uneven with some examination of literary practices but dominated by macro-policy issues, concerns with cross-border violence, security, refugees, or transnational economic investments.

South Asia by the Bay invites graduate student contributions that extend existing frameworks for thinking about the Indian Ocean and South Asia studies. We encourage submissions on the following themes: the relationship of present Indian Ocean sites and networks to the past; place- and map-making; relationalities within the region; new methodologies for analyzing the Indian Ocean; and the role of ritual, mnemonic, urban, architectural or other practices. We are particularly interested in papers that focus on contemporary Indian Ocean sites, topographies, and social practices.

This South Asia by the Bay graduate student conference is the fifth in the series and emerges from the collaboration between Stanford, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley and UC Davis. This year it is hosted by the Middle East/South Asia Studies Program at UC Davis and held in conjunction with a “Reimagining Indian Ocean Worlds Mellon Research Initiative” of UC Davis faculty and graduate students (2015-2018). Although the conference is open to the public, our aim is to provide a focused platform where graduate students can meet with each other and faculty from the organizing institutions and beyond to discuss their work. 

 

 Highlights: 

 
  • Public lecture by Nikhil Anand, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, May 16, 2016, UC Davis; co-sponsored by Dept. of Anthropology, Middle East/South Asia Studies Program, South Asia Matters.
  • Public lecture by Sunil Amrith,  Professor of History, Harvard University,April 22, 2016, UC Davis; co-sponsored by Dept. of Anthropology, Middle East/South Asia Studies Program, African American and African Studies, UCD Mellon Research Initiative in Reimagining Indian Ocean Worlds, South Asia Matters.
  • Public lecture by Veena Das, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University, March 7, 2016, UC Davis; co-sponsored by UC Davis Humanities Institute, Dept. of Anthropology, Middle East/South Asia Studies Program, STS Program, Institute for Social Sciences, South Asia Matters.
  • Public lecture by Talinn Grigor, Professor of Art History, UC Davis, February 29, 2016; co-sponsored by Dept. of Anthropology and Middle East/South Asia Studies Program.
  • Public lecture by Edward Alpers,  Research Professor of History, UCLA, February 22, 2016, UC Davis; co-sponsored by Dept. of Anthropology, Middle East/South Asia Studies Program, African American and African Studies, UCD Mellon Research Initiative in Reimagining Indian Ocean Worlds, South Asia Matters.

 

The background for this initiative emerges from previous programming efforts and collaborations by South Asia Matters faculty over the last 10 years at UC Davis that focused attention on South Asia through speakers, film screenings, and symposia in ME/SA and beyond. Highlights include:

  • Public lecture by Neelima Jeychandran, Nov. 23, 2015, "Remembering Marginalized Histories: Shrines for Africans in Coastal Kerala." Cosponsored by Anthropology, David Humanities Institute, African and African American Studies, Mellon Research Initiative in Indian Ocean Worlds, ME/SA, South Asia Matters.
  • International symposium on “Indian Ocean Imaginaries,” October 16, 2015; Sponsored by Mellon Research Initiative in "Reimagining Indian Ocean Worlds," UC Davis Humanities Institute, Dean of Social Sciences, Middle East/ South Asia Studies Program, African American & African Studies, South Asia Matters (UC Davis).
  •  Public lecture by Sharika Thiranagama, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, Stanford University, April 6, 2015; co-sponsored by Dept. of Anthropology and Middle East/South Asia Studies Program.
  • Public lecture by Joseph Alter, Professor of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh on May 11, 2015; co-sponsored by Davis Humanities Institute, Dept. of Anthropology, Middle East/South Asia Studies Program, STS Program, Graduate Group in Religion, and South Asia Matters.
  • A South Asia Roundtable on “Religion and its Discontents” (May 1, 2014, UC Davis) that brought together national and international scholars.
  • UC-wide symposium on “Spirited Topographies: Urban Refabulations, Underscapes, and Mobilities”  (May 9, 2014, UC Davis) that looked at cities and urban landscapes in South Asia and other world areas including Hyderabad’s Cyberabad and Shirdi in Maharashtra.
  • Davis Humanities Institute funds UCD Research Cluster on "Indian Ocean Imaginaries: Place-Making, Practices, and Networks"  for 2014-2015 (Faculty coordinators: Prof. Smriti Srinivas [Anthropology] and Prof. Bettina Ng'weno [African American and African Studies])
  • Public lecture by Prof. Thomas Hansen, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the South Asia Center at Stanford University, October  15, 2013         
  • 2011-present ME/SA faculty participation in “South Asia by the Bay,” graduate Student conference on South Asia.
  • Film screening of “The Bond (Naata)” directed by K.P. Jayashankar and Anjali Monteiro, in 2007.
  • Public lecture by Prof. J.P.S. Uberoi, Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, on October 10, 2005
  • “Shades of Culture: A South Asian Perspective," 3rd Annual South Asian Awareness Week (SAAW), April 26, 2005, University of Califbyornia, Davis.
  • Public lecture by Prof. Richard Eaton, Department of History, University of Arizona on January 27, 2005. The event was co-sponsored by Middle East/South Asia program, Center for History, Society and Culture, Religious Studies, Anthropology, History, and Medieval Studies.
  • Public lecture by the historian, Prof. B.D. Chattopadhyaya, Jawaharlal Nehru University on June 1, 2004. The event was co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, the Center for History, Society, and Culture, Religious Studies, the Middle East/South Asia Program, the Department of History, and the Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  • Symposium on Traversing Boundaries: Comparative Perspectives on South Asia and the Middle East, University of California, Davis, April 16, 2003.
  • “Gandhi’s Way. “ Campus Community Book Project 2003, University Of California, Davis.
  • Public lecture by the anthropologist and human rights researcher, Shiv Visvanathan, Visiting Professor, Stanford University, on June 6, 2003; the event was co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and the Center for History, Society, and Culture.
  • Film screenings of “Pather Chujaeri / The Play is On” and “Mat/The Vote” directed by Pankaj Rishi Kumar, October 13, 2003
  • “Conversations,” the Sociocultural Anthropology Discussion Series, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Davis, 2003-2005.
 


 
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