November 3: 1st Annual Rustgi Undergraduate Conference on South Asia at the University at Buffalo, featuring a keynote by Sujatha Gidla

Rustgi Conference Logo

Origins of the Contemporary​

November 3rd 8:30 am to 6 pm

Capen 107, University at Buffalo, North Campus

Free and open to the public

(registration required http://bit.ly/rustgiregistration2018)

 

Gidla headshot

Please join fellow scholars and faculty for the first annual Rustgi Undergraduate Conference on South Asia at the University at Buffalo. The conference will feature a keynote lecture by Sujatha Gidla, acclaimed author of Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017). Undergraduate presenters from institutions located throughout the United States will share their current research on South Asia. Undergraduate scholars based in South Asia will be joining us via Skype.

Gidla book cover

The first annual Rustgi South Asian Undergraduate Research Conference is made possible by a generous gift from Dr. Vinod Rustgi and his family. The University at Buffalo Asian Studies Program, Department of Anthropology, Department of English, Department of History, Department of Linguistics, Honors College, Office of International Education, and Humanities Institute have provided additional support and funding.

For more information, please contact rustgiconference@gmail.com

Program

Opening Remarks (8:30 am)​

Panel 1 (8:45-9:45 am) Social and Political Currents

Chair: Dr. Shaanta Murshid (University at Buffalo, SUNY)

Abhishek Shah (Northwestern University), “Approaches to News Production on and from Kashmir”

Sadique PK (English & Foreign Language University, Hyderabad), “Post-Left Islam: Citizenship Politics and Emerging Muslim Youth Activism in South India”

Panel 2 (9:45-11:00 am) Literature and Media: Classical and Contemporary Perspectives

Chair: Dr. Natalie Sarrazin (SUNY Brockport)

Brigette Meskell (SUNY Brockport), “Escaping the Fire: The Construction of Female Same-Sex Desire and Identity in Hindi Cinema”

Fatima Afzal (Lahore University of Management Sciences), “Prime Time ‘Akhlaq’: Selling Ethics in the Subcontinent”

James Batten (University of Colorado Boulder), “National Pride, Nukes, and the Meaning of the Mahābhārata”

Coffee Break (11:00 – 11:15 am)

Panel 3 (11:15 am-12:15 pm) Health, Medicine, and Policy

Chair: Dr. Claude Welch (University at Buffalo, SUNY)

Sailakshmi Senthil Kumar (University of California Berkeley), “Lingual Choices”

Madison Weisend (Marymount Manhattan College), “Exploring Water Scarcity Through the Dynamics of Social Power: The Case of the Thar Desert”

Lunch (12:15-1:30pm) Free for those who register by October 31, 2018

Panel 4 (1:30 – 2:45 pm) Religions, Theory, and Practice

Chair: Dr. Mark Nathan (University at Buffalo, SUNY)

Emily Sadler (University of Colorado Boulder), “Queer Hindu Theology and Philosophy and their Social Applications”

Sharmain Siddiqui (Northwestern University), “Unani Tibb as Resistance: Bodily Practice at the Intersection of Colonial and Postcolonial Systems of Power”

Ethan Seeley (University at Buffalo, SUNY), “The Strange Case of Bhagat Singh Thind: Citizenship and Spirituality”

Panel 5 (2:45 – 3:45 pm) Art and Diaspora

Chair: Dr. Christopher Lee (Canisius College)

Sarah Robinson (Vanderbilt University), “Anarcho-Sufism in America: A Musical Analysis of Omar Waqar”

Courtney Johnson (The Ohio State University), “The Bifurcated Bride: Gender, Nationalism, and Identity in Amrita Sher-Gil’s The Bride’s Toilet

Coffee Break (3:45 – 4:00 pm)

Keynote: Sujatha Gidla (4 pm)

Book Signing (until 6pm)

November 3, 2018: Rustgi Undergraduate Conference on South Asia, University at Buffalo (deadline August 1)

2018 Rustgi Undergraduate Conference on South Asia

Origins of the Contemporary

​November 3, 2018
​University at Buffalo, SUNY​

We inaugurate the first annual Rustgi Undergraduate Conference on South Asia by reflecting upon the great body of historical work done in this field and bringing historical analysis and context to the study of contemporary issues. We invite papers on the theme of “Origins of the Contemporary.” We may think of these origins as fixed dates or as strands of ideas and events buried in the colonial and pre-colonial past. The conference will feature a keynote lecture by Sujatha Gidla, acclaimed author of Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017).

By opening up the conference to both historical and contemporary analyses, we invite undergraduate ​participants from all disciplines, working on any topic. These topics include but are in no way limited to:

  • Modern political movements including Hindutva and New Right in India, ethnic and caste-based parties, leftist and Maoist movements.
  • Independence movements and postcolonial trends in present-day Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
  • New religious movements as well as reform movements and fundamentalisms within Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism.
  • Trends in domestic and international law, including NGO and INGO work.
  • Social issues, human rights issues, LGBTQ issues, gender and caste concerns.
  • Wars, genocides, ethnic or political violence, and refugee issues (in recent or long-standing conflicts).
  • Human migration, population shifts, and environmental issues.
  • Literary genres, artistic movements, new and old technologies, trends in South Asian cinema and pop culture.

While this list of suggestions is by no means exhaustive, we encourage papers that address less commonly researched sociopolitical issues, communities, or theories. We hope to organize panels with presenters addressing similar issues from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.Please visit http://bit.ly/rustgiconferencesubmissions to submit proposals.

Accepted applicants who submit complete proposals by August 1, 2018 may be eligible for a travel subvention of up to $200. Applicants should also seek funding from their home institutions. The conference organizers will assist participants in seeking affordable accommodations in Buffalo.

Format

The conference will be held on Saturday, November 3, 2018 at the University at Buffalo, SUNY​. Students presenters should plan for 15-minute presentations. Each panel will include 30 minutes for discussion.

Deadline

Proposals, including 250-word abstracts and the contact information of a faculty supervisor, must be submitted via the online submissions portal (http://bit.ly/rustgiconferencesubmissions). Those seeking travel subventions must submit their complete application (including a brief justification of expenses and efforts to seek supplemental funding) no later than August 1, 2018. Submissions will be accepted after this date on a rolling basis, space permitting, until September 7, 2018. Applicants will be notified about the status of their submissions and the  availability of travel subventions beginning in late August 2018.

​Inquiries​

Please contact rustgiconference@gmail.com ​with questions or ​for more information about the conference.

The first annual Rustgi South Asian Undergraduate Research Conference is made possible by a generous gift from Dr. Vinod Rustgi and his family.

October 27: In Silence the Secrets Speak – Lecture and Workshop on Gold-Leaf Painting by Seema Kohli

Seema Kohli

Visiting artist from India

Hosted by the Asian Studies Program & Art Department, UB with Triveni Collaboration

The lecture traces the influence of ancient and modern Indian traditions (legends & myths) to Seema’s own spiritual quest and expression in her art.

The workshop is on Gold-Leaf Painting – an ancient, traditional Indian art form. Workshop is limited to 20 participants. To register, please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/seema-kohli-workshop-tickets-37811777043?aff=es2

  •        Friday, 27 Oct. 2017
  •        Lecture          12:30 PM – Screening Room, Center for the Arts, UB
  •        Workshop     2:30 to 5:00 PM – Art Studio, Center for the Arts, UB

Visiting artist Seema Kohli (India) has offered a rare opportunity for the UB and Buffalo area community to join her in a gold-leaf painting workshop. The gold-leaf painting workshop focuses on an ancient, traditional Indian art form.

The workshop is limited to 20 participants, and a ticket is required (register here). The workshop runs from 2:30pm to 5pm on Friday, October 27, 2017. The workshop is free, but is limited to 20 participants. All materials will be provided.

The workshop is directly after Seema Kohli’s 12:30pm public lecture “In Silence the Secrets Speak” (CFA Screening Room, UB North). The lecture traces the influence of ancient and modern Indian traditions (legends & myths) to Seema’s own spiritual quest and expression in her art. Registration for the 12:30pm lecture is NOT required.

Seema Kohli poster

Rustgi South Asian Language Awards for summer 2018 (deadline January 5, 2018)

Current UB undergraduate and graduate students are invited to apply for funding to attend intensive summer language programs offered by the American Institute of Indian Studies. Applications for funding will be evaluated by UB Asian Studies Program faculty and staff. Rustgi South Asian Language Awards support the full cost of tuition and roundtrip airfare to India. An additional subvention for living expenses may also be available based on funding levels. We anticipate awarding two student awards for summer 2018.

About the Language Program

Participants are expected to devote their energies to activities that will increase their proficiency in all skills—speaking, listening, reading, and writing. For eight weeks at each AIIS language center, there will be at least four hours a day of classroom instruction and individual tutorials with regular out-of-class assignments requiring interaction with community members. Attendance is mandatory in class as well as at other activities such as cultural visits, films, and plays. There is special emphasis on connecting with the local speech community and self-management of learning. Participants are encouraged to identify and prioritize their language learning needs and keep track of their language development. Students are encouraged to stay with host families. Note that this is not a research program. Participants are expected to devote all their energies to learning the target language. For more information, please visit the AIIS Language Programs website.

 

Eligibility

  • Full-time enrollment as an undergraduate or graduate student at the University of Buffalo in good academic standing at the time of application
  • Those applying for Bangla, Hindi, Tamil, and Urdu must have completed at least one year of language study before attending the program. Two years of prior language study are required for Sanskrit. Applicants for Gujarati, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Telugu, and Kannada may apply at all levels, including beginning. Applications for other South Asian languages (Pali/Prakrit and Mughal Persian) will also be considered.
  • At the time of application for this award, applicants must have already applied to an AIIS summer language program. The deadline for submitting materials to AIIS is December 31, 2017.

Criteria for Selection

  • Awards will be based on academic merit and seriousness of purpose
  • The applicant agrees to be an ambassador for Asian Studies at UB by sending occasional posts and photos of their experiences while in-country for use on the Asian Studies Program’s social media and website. The applicant must also be willing to talk with other students about their study abroad experience upon returning to UB.
  • The applicant’s plans to enroll in additional South Asia-related courses including a required 1-credit South Asia seminar in the fall semester following their return from India.
  • Preference will be given to students seeking to learn “critical need” languages (Bangla, Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu).
  • Preference will be given to students who can demonstrate that they have also applied for the Critical Language Scholarship(deadline November 15, 2017) and/or Boren Awards (UB internal deadline November 15, 2017)

Required Application Materials

1)     Completed AIIS Language Application in a single PDF file including

  1. Application form (available as both a word and pdf document on the AIIS web site);
  2. One-page (less than 500-word) statement of purpose describing your academic reasons for selecting a particular program, detailing how the study abroad program will fit into your overall academic program and goals, and how the program benefits your personal, academic, and professional development. This may be the same statement prepared for the AIIS application.
  3. Evaluator Worksheet (available on the AIIS web site)
  4. Transcripts: Applicants should scan their undergraduate and graduate transcripts (from U.S. or Canadian universities only) and include them in the single pdf file.
  5. Confirmation (email or scanned document) from AIIS indicating receipt of complete AIIS summer language program application

2)     Recommended: documentation confirming submission of completed applications for the Critical Language Scholarship and/or Boren Scholarship

3)     Applicants should also submit two (2) letters of recommendation emailed as an attachment directly from their professor or instructor. Instructors may also mail their recommendations in a sealed envelope signed by the professor to Asian Studies Program, 412 Clemens Hall, Buffalo NY 14260.

Deadline

4 pm Friday, January 5, 2018. 

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials must be emailed to Asian-Studies@buffalo.edu

Please contact the Asian Studies Program at Asian-Studies@buffalo.edu or 716-645-3474 if you have any questions.

Dauji Gupta Flyer

September 15 Asia@Noon: Roundtable with Dauji Gupta

Lucknow: A Historic Indian City in the Twenty-first Century

A Roundtable Asia@Noon presentation featuring:

  • Dr. Dauji Gupta, Former Mayor of Lucknow
  • Dr. Walter Hakala, UB Department of English and Asian Studies Program
  • Dr. Ashima Krishna, UB Department of Urban and Regional Planning
  • Ms. Kayleigh Reed, UB Asian Studies Program, Boren SAFLI Fellow in Lucknow
September 15, 12 pm in 280 Park Hall, UB North Campus

All are welcome.

Dr. Dauji Gupta is a former mayor of Lucknow, served as a State Senator, and is an author, poet, and linguist. His PhD is from the University of Lucknow, and he also has studied in Lucknow Christian College and the University of Vermont. In addition to his work as a politician and a scholar, Dr. Gupta led and was a member of movement for the emancipation of Dalits and the abolition of the caste system in India. Dr. Gupta was born in Lucknow, grew up there, and is deeply influenced by the cultural traditions of the city.

Dauji Gupta Flyer

Mitra Sharafi, “Corruption and Forensic Experts in British India,” Baldy Center Distinguished Speaker (March 3, 2017)

Photo of Prof. Mitra Sharafi

“Corruption and Forensic Experts in British India”

March 3, 2017, 12:30 pm. Lunch served at 12:00 pm.

509 O’Brian Hall, University at Buffalo North Campus

Mitra Sharafi

Associate Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin, Law School

 

About the speaker: Mitra Sharafi is a legal historian of South Asia. She holds law degrees from Cambridge and Oxford (the UK equivalent of a JD and LLM) and a doctorate in history from Princeton. Sharafi’s book, Law and Identity in Colonial South Asia: Parsi Legal Culture, 1772-1947 (Cambridge University Press, 2014) won the Law and Society Association’s J. Willard Hurst Prize for socio-legal history in 2015. The book explores the legal culture of the Parsis or Zoroastrians of British India, an ethno-religious minority that was unusually invested in colonial law. Her research interests include South Asian legal history; the history of the legal profession; the history of colonialism; the history of contract law; law and society; law and religion; law and minorities; legal consciousness; legal pluralism; and the history of science and medicine. Sharafi is a regular contributor to the Legal History Blog. Since 2010, her South Asian Legal History Resources website has shared research guides and other tools for the historical study of law in South Asia. Follow her blogposts and follow her on Twitter @mjsharafi  Read more.
DOWNLOAD PAPER: “Corruption and Forensic Experts in Colonial India” (573 KB)

Daniel Majchrowicz (Northwestern University), “The Case of the Vanishing Maharaja: Urdu Travel Literature and Princely Politics in South Asia” (March 10, 2017)

Asia@Noon

Daniel Majchrowicz (Northwestern University)

The Case of the Vanishing Maharaja

Urdu Travel Literature and Princely Politics in South Asia

Friday, March 10, 2017

12 to 1 pm

280 Park Hall

Holkar In 1851, the young Tukoji Holkar, Maharaja of Indore, went missing under suspicious circumstances. Some said his regent wanted him out of the picture. Others speculated that he’d been kidnapped and taken to Calcutta by nefarious colonial agents. In truth, he’d  skipped town to make a clandestine tour of of North India. After his return, Holkar did something that was doubly unprecedented for a Persian-speaking court of his time: he wrote a travelogue, and he wrote it in Urdu. Following his lead, other princes across the region began to write their own, increasingly elaborate travel accounts. By the end of the 19th century, writing about travel have become a well established expression of princely praxis. Focusing on two narratives in Urdu from 1851, this talk will argue that the decision to write a travel account – and to do so in Urdu – reflected Holkar’s, and the princely states’, desire to use travel literature to stabilize their legitimacy at a time when colonial predations had rendered it increasingly precarious.

Daniel Majchrowicz

Daniel Majchrowicz is an Assistant Professor of South Asian Literature and Culture at Northwestern University. He received his PhD from Harvard University in 2015. He is currently working on two manuscripts. The first is a study of Urdu travel writing from 1830-1950, tentatively titled “Travel and the Means to Victory: Travel and Travel Writing in Modern South Asia.” The second is a collaborative project aimed at producing a scholarly anthology of Muslim women’s travel writing from across the world, entitled “Veiled Voyagers.”

Supported by the UB Honors College and Asian Studies Program.

Global to Local Luncheon: Shree Siwakoti, Vice President of the Bhutanese-Nepali Community of Buffalo, Inc. (November 7, 12:30 pm)

Global to Local Luncheon, Nov. 7

Please join us for our November Global to Local luncheon on Monday, November 7th from 12:30-1:30 in 684 Baldy Hall

The Bhutanese-Nepali Community of Buffalo and their History with presenter Shree Siwakoti, Vice President of the Bhutanese-Nepali Community of Buffalo, Inc.

Mr. Siwakoti will discuss: Reasons for fleeing Bhutan, challenges faced in refugee camps, third country resettlement, and information on the Bhutanese-Nepali Community of Buffalo, Inc.

Lunch will be provided. Contact: Shannon Linehan <sdlinha@buffalo.edu> 

Arthur Dudney, “Literary Decadence and Writing the History of Political Decline,” University at Buffalo (November 16, 3:30 pm)

Literary Decadence and Writing the History of Political Decline
A Public Lecture by
Arthur Dudney (Cambridge University)
Wednesday November 16, 2016 at 3:30 pm
306 Clemens Hall, University at Buffalo (Amherst Campus) 
 

Historians have always been interested in describing the trajectories of empires. The metaphor used for political development has often been that of a human life, from birth through to adolescence, maturity, senescence, and finally death. The topic of this lecture is the senescent phase of empires, more specifically the outmoded but still surprisingly prevalent assumption on the part of historians that whatever other factors have caused an empire to decline, an aesthetic or intellectual failure must also be identified. The
supposed decline in the quality of a late empire’s literary output, or “decadence” to use the term most commonly applied, is however poorly theorized both by historians and literary scholars. There is often a circular logic in the academic division of labor: Historians use the decontextualized insights of literary scholars to argue that literature decreased in quality in an empire’s last phase while literary scholars use historians’ work to read societal decline into literary works. Ultimately this reflects more of our own preconceptions than the thought of the society being studied. This lecture will draw on two very different historiographical case studies, namely the Roman Empire and the Mughal Empire, which ruled much of the Indian subcontinent from the sixteenth century to the nineteenth century. Our understanding of the fall of Rome has become much more sophisticated in recent decades but in the case of India the colonial historiography (itself built upon some long-outdated ideas about the late Roman Empire) is still in need of being reconsidered.

 
Dr. Arthur Dudney is Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Cambridge University and scholar of Indo-Persian literature. He is the author of Delhi: Pages from a Forgotten History (Hay House, 2015) and has published work in The Journal of the Royal Asiatic SocietyJournal of Persianate StudiesEncyclopedia of Indian Religions, and Indian Linguistics. Dudney recently discussed his book and current projects for New Books in South Asian Studies.
 
Arthur Dudney’s talk is generously supported with funding from the UB Honors College, Department of History, and Department of Linguistics