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Madness as Auguring Extinction

Monday, September 26 at 12:15p.m. in Uris Hall, G-08.

In this SAP Seminar lecture, Naveeda Khan explores how the language of loss and damage allows us to speak of the damage wrought by the social as much as by the environmental, embodied in the figures of the traumatized, the mad or the psychically afflicted. These figures, explored more specifically on silt islands in Bangladesh, provide a vantage to a consideration of extinction as not only the sudden vanishing of species, as it is represented in extinction studies, but also as modes of self-extinguishing. This presentation is co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology.

The Afterlife of Islamic Architecture: Ethics, Ecology, and Other Times in the Medieval Ruins of Delhi

Monday, September 19 at 12:15p.m. in Uris Hall G-08.

In this SAP seminar, Anand V. Taneja of Vanderbilt University analyzes modes of multiple temporality and the persistent connection of Islam to the pre-colonial elsewhen in the dreamscapes and landscapes of contemporary north India. In each of these modes, ruins hold open ethical potential, the possibility of transformation of current states of affairs for both individuals and communities. This presentation is co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology.

Subaltern Speak: An Indian Soldier's 'Travelogue' of China, 1900-1901

Monday, September 12 at 12:15p.m. in Uris Hall, G-08

Anand Yang of the University of Washington will offer a close reading of Gadadhar Singh's 1902 Hindi account of his thirteen months in China as a member of the British Indian force that was part of an eight-nations International Expedition mobilized to lift the siege of the Foreign Legations in Beijing. It examines his text to highlight his extraordinary "inter-Asian" perspective on a China seemingly on the verge of foreign takeover and his role as a subaltern in a colonial army ostensibly on a civilizing mission in a “barbaric" land. Singh's story of China is also about India and the ties that bound the two countries and civilizations together.

First South Asia Program Seminar: "Cosmic Correspondences: Astral Piety and Painting at the Mughal Court" by Yael Rice

Tuesday, August 30 at 12:15p.m. in Uris Hall, G-08

South Asia Program (SAP) Seminar Series--Yael Rice, will speak about the Mughal emperor Akbar, long celebrated by scholars for his “secular” outlook, was deeply invested in the efficacy of astrological events. This talk will consider the place of astral piety at Akbar’s court, focusing on a little-studied manuscript that contains instructions for harnessing the forces of the zodiac. Of particular interest are the manuscript’s many illustrations of the astrological degrees, which are here considered integral, rather than supplementary, to the processes of astral invocation.

Biography: Yael Rice is Assistant Professor of the History of Art & Asian Languages and Civilizations at Amherst College. She specializes in the manuscript and other portable arts of early modern Iran and South Asia.

“The Soloist Performs with an Orchestra of Events,” The 2016 Rabindranath Tagore Modern Indian Literature Lecture, by Ranjit Hoskote

Friday, September 23, 2016, Guerlac Room, A.D. White House, Cornell University Central Campus at 4:30p.m.

In this year’s Tagore Modern Indian Literature Lecture, Hoskote will address the relationship between contemporary poetic utterance in India and the cultural and political circumstances in which it is articulated. He will discuss some of the contexts in which his own poetry is written: these include internal diaspora, multilingualism, translation, ecological crisis, transcultural encounter, and the gradual transition from a liberal public sphere to one marked by illiberal demagoguery. Hoskote will read from his recent poems, which engage with the historic relationship between humankind and the ocean, under the sign of the Anthropocene.

Cornell-Syracuse 2016 Symposium -- Gujarat / Guatemala: Marketing Care and Speculating Life

Friday, May 6 at 1:30 p.m. & Saturday, May 7 at 9:30a.m., ILR Conference Center, Room 423.

The Cornell-Syracuse South Asia Consortium 2016 Symposium features: Gladys Tzul Tzul, visual artist/public intellectual/activist; Karen Smith Rotabi, United Arab Emirates University; Kaushik Sunder Rajan, University of Chicago; Sherryl Vint, University of California at Riverside; Ranjana Kumari, Center for Social Research.

By bringing the discourses of academia and activism together around the same table, our symposium seeks to put back gendered, racialized bodies, which routinely disappear in analyses of present and future biomarkets, at the center of the global economy of care. This objective is correspondingly encoded in the geographic specificity of the event’s title. Instead of taking the widely acknowledged deterritorialization of both bodies and bodies-in-the-making as our point of departure, we center our discussions on the interface between two hard locations, Gujarat and Guatemala, in order to negotiate the symbolic and material aspects of the symposium’s subject.

South Asia Development Forum, Spring 2016: "India's Barefoot College: Women and Community Solar Energy Development"

Tuesday, April 19 at 4:30 p.m., G-10 Biotechnology Building.

This South Asia Program (SAP) event is a public lecture by Sanjit “Bunker” Roy, Founder of internationally acclaimed Barefoot College of India and CEO of Barefoot College International, Meagan Fallone. The only college built by and for the rural poor with a focus on decentralising and demystifying technology, placing it in the hands of those most in need. Its "Barefoot Approach” to empowering communities towards self-sufficiency is grounded on the lifestyle and work style of Mahatma Gandhi. They will speak about the “barefoot solutions” that have transformed rural people—especially women—into powerful agents of change in their communities. From solar energy, water, education, and health care to rural handicrafts, the “solutions” are unique and exemplified by the award-winning architecture of the College itself—designed and built by villagers for villagers. Barefoot College has also successfully trained grandmothers from throughout the developing world to be solar engineers so that they can bring electricity to their remote villages. The organization has created through its social justice approach, a highly innovative ecosystem where rural poor people have a voice in the design and innovation of their own technologies.

Co-Sponsored with funding from: Atkinson Center; AWARE (Advancing Women in Agriculture through Research and Education); International Programs/CALS; South Asia Program TFI Funds; and the Tata-Cornell Initiative.

SAP Seminar Series -- Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity and Modernism in India, 1930-1990 by Sonal Khullar

Monday, April 11 at 12:15 p.m., G-08 Uris Hall.

South Asia Program (SAP) guest Sonal Khullar will discuss her newly published book, Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity and Modernism in India, 1930-1990, in the context of new global histories of modernism and recent exhibitions of contemporary art from India. Drawing on Edward Said’s notion of affiliation as a critical and cultural imperative against empire and nation-state, this book traces the emergence of a national art world in twentieth-century India and emphasizes its cosmopolitan ambitions and orientations. It focuses on four major Indian artists –Amrita Sher-Gil, Maqbool Fida Husain, K. G. Subramanyan, and Bhupen Khakhar—whose careers reveal a distinctive trajectory of modernism in the visual arts in India that is foundational to the representational practices of the present. Khullar analyzes the shifting terms of Indian artists’ engagement with the West –an urgent yet fraught project in the wake of British colonialism—and to a lesser extent with African and Latin American cultural movements like Négritude and Mexican muralism. Such cross-cultural negotiations were by no means exclusive to the artists of this study, but were the structural conditions for modernism in twentieth-century India.

SAP Seminar Series -- Talent, Technique, Transformation: Musical Training and the Possibilities of the Self in Liberalizing India by Anaar Desai-Stephens

Happy Monday, April 4 at 12:15 p.m., G-08 Uris Hall.

The South Asia Program (SAP) Seminar Series speaker on April 4th, 2016, Anaar Desai-Stephens, will discuss the aspirational striving that permeates contemporary India centers on a fundamental question: How much can a person transform? More specifically, how much, and in what ways, must one transform in order to transcend the habitus of class and caste given to them at birth? This paper offers a musically grounded examination of this question through sites of popular music pedagogy and practice. Drawing on her research on the television show Indian Idol and fieldwork in Mumbai music schools, she examines discourses of musical talent and technique alongside practices of vocal improvement undertaken by aspiring singers. She situates these discourses and practices within a broader aspirational economy that promotes individual self-betterment and transformation in line with larger neoliberal and meritocratic ideologies emerging in India today. Beyond simply yielding insight into conceptions of musical potential, She argues that talent, technique, and vocal change illuminate tensions regarding the possibilities and limits of self-transformation in liberalizing India.