Call for Proposals: 2023 Rustgi Undergraduate Conference on South Asia

Identity and Cultural Dissonance 

March 31 and April 1, 2023

University at Buffalo, SUNY

The University at Buffalo, SUNY, is proud to hold its fifth annual Rustgi Undergraduate Conference on South Asia. We invite papers on the theme of “Identity and Cultural Dissonance,” which may be interpreted broadly in its social or political sense. The quintessential struggle with identity that the South Asian diaspora experience correlates to the importance of seeking out and understanding one’s origins. The 2023 Rustgi conference will feature a keynote lecture from New York City Council Member of District 39 Shahana Hanif, representing the divisions of Kensington, Borough Park, Windsor Terrace, and more. Her work in the community extends beyond her career as a Council Member: she has contributed to Participatory Budgeting and served as a tenants’ rights organizer and advocate for gender justice. 

Reused temple pillar, Qutbuddin Mubarak Khilji's Jama` masjid (since 1948, a Bharat Mata Mandir), 1318, Daulatabad fort
Reused temple pillar, Jamaʿ Masjid/Bharat Mata Mandir, Daulatabad fort (credit: Walter Hakala)

We welcome undergraduate participants studying South Asia from all disciplines to submit proposals, preferably but not necessarily working on any topic relating to the theme. Possible topics of discussion include: 

  • Identities in the diaspora
  • Identity in religion
  • Gender and identity
  • Fashion in identity
  • Identity and public health
  • Identity and politics
  • Online and offline identities
  • Names and identity
  • Burdens of representation 
  • Appropriation
  • Intersectionality 

This list of suggestions is by no means exhaustive. We encourage papers that explore sociopolitical issues, communities, or theories stemming from under-represented perspectives. We shall organize panels around presentations addressing similar issues that draw from various disciplinary perspectives, including the social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, management, humanities, fine arts, and others. 

Please visit https://bit.ly/rustgisubmissions2023 to submit proposals.

Format

The conference will be held on Friday, March 31st and Saturday, April 1st 2023. Student presenters should plan for 15-minute presentations. Each panel will include 30 minutes for discussion. Though the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may require the conference organizers to shift the conference online, we have every hope of holding the event in person.  

Deadline

Proposals, including 250-word abstracts and the contact information of a faculty supervisor, must be submitted via the online submissions portal (https://bit.ly/rustgisubmissions2023) by Sunday, January 8, 2023.

When submitting abstracts, applicants must affirm that they will be enrolled as undergraduate students at the time of the conference. Those in graduate programs or not currently enrolled in an undergraduate program will not be permitted to present. The organizers reserve the right to confirm student status with their advisor and home institution.

Funding and Accommodations

We are able to provide a limited number of presenters with a travel subvention of up to US$300. Accepted participants who attend in person will also be provided with individual hotel accommodations. The University at Buffalo cannot provide any additional assistance or guidance to international applicants seeking entry into the United States. 

Inquiries

Please contact southasiaundergradconf@gmail.com for more information about the conference.

To view past conference programs, please visit 

The fourth annual Rustgi South Asian Undergraduate Research Conference is made possible by a generous gift from the families of Dr. Vinod Rustgi and Dr. Anil Rustgi as well as funding from the University at Buffalo Office of International Education

Jennifer Dubrow (U Washington): “Characters to Resist Modernity in the Short Stories of Saadat Hasan Manto” [2-3:30 pm EDT, Monday, May 9, 2022]

The University at Buffalo Humanities Institute Research Workshop on Translation will host Dr. Jennifer Dubrow (University of Washington-Seattle) for an online public lecture, “Characters to Resist Modernity in the Short Stories of Saadat Hasan Manto.” The event will take place on Zoom 2 – 3:30 pm EDT Monday, May 9, 2022. 

To register for this talk and download three brief English translations of short stories by Manto, please visit https://bit.ly/dubrowtranslationzone

This talk introduces the work of Saadat Hasan Manto (1912-1955), whom Salman Rushdie called “the undisputed master of the modern Indian short story.” Now known for his radical stories of prostitutes and Partition, Manto penned indelible characters who refused South Asian modernity’s categories of Hindu/Muslim, pimp/prostitute, and man/woman. Through a reading of some of Manto’s most well-known and controversial stories, this talk reveals how Manto used a character-driven style to critique colonial modernity, and then fragmented this style to interrogate sexuality after Partition.

Jennifer Dubrow is Associate Professor of Urdu at the University of Washington-Seattle. She is the author of Cosmopolitan Dreams: The Making of Modern Urdu Literary Culture in Colonial South Asia, published by the University of Hawai’i Press in 2018 and Permanent Black in 2019. She is currently writing a book on Urdu modernism in South Asia from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Padma Rangarajan: “The Infernal Machine: A History of Terrorism in Three Parts” [May 3, 2022 – 4 pm]

UC Riverside Department of English Associate Professor Padma Rangarajan will present “The Infernal Machine: A History of Terrorism in Three Parts” on Tuesday, May 3 at 4:00pm as part of the UB Department of English Juxtapositions Lecture Series. This virtual event will take place on Zoom. To join, please visit http://bit.ly/rangarajan

Padma Rangarajan is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside, where she specializes in nineteenth-century British literature. She is the author of Imperial Babel: Translation, Exoticism, and the Long Nineteenth Century (Fordham 2014). Her current project, Thug Life: The British Empire and the Birth of Terrorism interrogates discourses of modern terrorism through an examination of the legal and cultural legacy of nineteenth-century British imperialism. She has published articles in English Literary History, Studies in Scottish LiteratureThe Keats-Shelley Journal, Nineteenth Century Studies, and Nineteenth-Century Literature and is editing a special issue of Romantic Circles on “Contingent Romanticism.” 

April 30: 4th Annual Rustgi Undergraduate Conference on South Asia

    (MIS)INFORMATION 

2022 RUSTGI UNDERGRADUATE CONFERENCE ON SOUTH ASIA

Saturday, April 30, 2022

In-Person (509 O’Brian Hall) + Zoom (register for link)

Saturday, April 30th at 4 PM EST
Dr. Michael Muhammad Knight Keynote Speaker
Trouble Among the Righteous: The FBI and American Islam

Dr. Michael Muhammad Knight is the author of 17 books, including not only scholarship but also works of fiction and creative nonfiction. His forthcoming works include Sufi Deleuze, an exploration of Islam through a Deleuzian lens, and a monograph on the Nation of Islam’s Supreme Wisdom Lessons. He is an assistant professor of religion and cultural studies at the University of Central Florida.

Featuring Student Speakers & Panelists 

Join student speakers, both domestic and international, as well as panel chairs from the University at Buffalo as they speak about some of the most important issues in South Asia. We will cover a diverse range of topics, discussing political, social, health, and environmental issues.    

This hybrid event is free, but registration is required. To register visit https://bit.ly/rustgiregistration2022 For more information, please contact rustgiconference@buffalo.edu

Program Schedule

Saturday, April 30th

Panel 1: Governments’ Role in the Spread of Disinformation & How it Affects Marginalized Groups

8:45 am – 10:30am

Panel Chair: Dr. Naila Sahar, University at Buffalo & Forman Christian College (Pakistan)

Prerna Vij, Ashoka University   “The Conspiratorial Road to the North East Delhi Pogrom”

Samana Butul, Syeda Dua, Zehra Zaidi, Habib University “Sociopolitical Discourse of Balochistan versus Censored Media”

Manaam, University of Delhi “Islamartization: Role of Art in Combating Religious Polarization” 

Syeda Zarah Batool, Habib University “Menstruating while Student: Coming Back To Campus after Lockdown in Pakistan”

Panel 2: The Role of Social Media & Technology in the Spread of Disinformation & Prejudice

10:45am – 12:30pm

Panel Chair: Anupriya Pandey, University at Buffalo

Ananya Pujary, Flame University   “The Effect of Climate Change Fake News on Emotions across Generations”

Rukhshan Haroon, Ayesha Naeem, Uswah Fatima, Lahore University “Sociopolitical Discourse of Balochistan versus Censored Media”

Manum Shahid, McGill University “Dalit Muslims in the Face of Hindu Supremacy”

Sudarshan Pujari, Jadavpur University “Are ‘Voluntary’ Religious Associations Laboratories for State-Politics? The Case of ‘Deras’ in the Politics of North-Western India

Lunch Break 12:30pm – 1:00pm

Panel 3: Power Structures of Regimes & How They Affect Ethnicities, Genders, and Religious Groups

1:00pm- 2:15pm

Panel Chair: Dr. Christopher Lee, Canisius College

Samia Noor, University at Buffalo “The Blossoming of the Narcissus in Urdu Poetry”

Eric Cortes-Kopp, Hamilton College                         “A Threat to Order: Colonial, Nationalist, and Contemporary Approaches To Gender Making”

Nisha Arya, University of Rochester “COVID-19 in India: A Long History of Untouchability”

Panel 4: The Impact of Gendered Relations and Foreign Policy on the South Asian Subcontinent 

2:30pm – 3:45pm

Panel Chair: Dr. Shaanta Murshid, University at Buffalo

Imaan Khasru, Princeton University “Invisible Rebellions: The Indian Colonial Woman and Social Restriction”

Anastasiya Rudenko, University at Buffalo “How have U.S. Actions in Afghanistan been Covered by Soviet Russian Media?”

Brooklynn Mainard, University of Kansas “From the Top: Profiling Iran’s Post-Revolution Political Elite

Keynote Speaker 4:00pm – 5:30pm

Introductory Remarks: Dr. Marla Segol, University at Buffalo

Dr. Michael Muhammad Knight

“Trouble Among the Righteous: The FBI and American Islam”

Thank you to our event sponsors!


The fourth annual Rustgi South Asian Undergraduate Research Conference is made possible by a generous gift from the families of Dr. Vinod Rustgi and Dr. Anil Rustgi as well as funding from the University at Buffalo Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, UB Community for Global Health Equity, UB Humanities Institute, and UB Office of International Education

April 29: Medha Bhattacharyya on “Rethinking Bollywood Women in the Twenty-First Century”

Please join us at 12 pm on Friday, April 29 an Asia at Noon Lecture featuring Dr. Medha Bhattacharyya, Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at Bridgewater State University. Dr. Bhattacharyya will give a virtual presentation on “Rethinking Bollywood Women in the Twenty-First Century.” To attend this online event, please visit http://bit.ly/bhattacharyya

CfP: 2022 Rustgi Undergraduate Conference on South Asia (deadline Feb. 20, 2022)

(Mis)Information 

April 29 and 30, 2022

University at Buffalo, SUNY

Man seated at table in Barton Library (Bhavnagar, Gujarat)
Barton Library (Bhavnagar, Gujarat) Photo Credit: Walter Hakala

The University at Buffalo, SUNY, is proud to hold its fourth annual Rustgi Undergraduate Conference on South Asia. We invite papers on the theme of “(Mis)information,” which may be interpreted broadly in its social or political sense. The echoes of misinformation ring in all our ears today as we interact with information endlessly. Regardless of whether it is inadvertent or purposeful, the spread of misinformation has affected how we communicate and process “truths” in our world. The 2021 Rustgi conference will feature a keynote lecture from novelist, essayist, and journalist Dr. Michael Muhammad Knight, Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Central Florida. As a scholar, Knight has explored misinformation by contending with prominent descriptions of Islam in media, dissecting concepts of religious othering both within and outside the Muslim community. His works include The Taqwacores, Why I Am a Five Percenter, and Magic in Islam.

We welcome undergraduate participants studying South Asia from all disciplines to submit proposals, preferably but not necessarily working on any topic relating to the theme. Possible topics of discussion include: 

  • Censorship (of journalism and activist voices)
  • Role of information in religious conflicts
  • Disinformation 
  • Digital literacy 
  • Institutions that diffuse information 
  • Determinants of beliefs arising from information 
  • Future of misinformation
  • Ethics of information dissemination

This list of suggestions is by no means exhaustive. We encourage papers that explore sociopolitical issues, communities, or theories stemming from under-represented perspectives. We shall organize panels around presentations addressing similar issues that draw from various disciplinary perspectives, including the social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, management, humanities, fine arts, and others. 

Please visit https://bit.ly/rustgisubmissions2022 to submit proposals.

Format

The conference will be held on Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30, 2022. Student presenters should plan for 15-minute presentations. Each panel will include 30 minutes for discussion. Though the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may require the conference organizers to shift the conference online, we have every hope of holding the event in person.  

Deadline

Proposals, including 250-word abstracts and the contact information of a faculty supervisor, must be submitted via the online submissions portal (https://bit.ly/rustgisubmissions2022) by Sunday, February 20, 2022.

When submitting abstracts, applicants must affirm that they will be enrolled as undergraduate students at the time of the conference. Those in graduate programs or not currently enrolled in an undergraduate program will not be permitted to present. The organizers reserve the right to confirm student status with their advisor and home institution.

Funding and Accommodations

We are able to provide a limited number of presenters with a travel subvention of up to US$200. Accepted participants who attend in person will also be provided with shared hotel accommodations. The University at Buffalo cannot provide any additional assistance or guidance to international applicants seeking entry into the United States. 

Inquiries

Please contact rustgiconference@buffalo.edu for more information about the conference.

To view past conference programs, please visit 

The fourth annual Rustgi South Asian Undergraduate Research Conference is made possible by a generous gift from the families of Dr. Vinod Rustgi and Dr. Anil Rustgi as well as funding from the University at Buffalo Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, UB Community for Global Health Equity, UB Humanities Institute, and UB Office of International Education

12 pm March 19 | Jamal J. Elias (U Penn) “Troubling Translations and the Elusive Original”

Jamal J. Elias
“Troubling Translations and the Elusive Original: Translating More than Text”
12 pm March 19, 2021     

Please see the poster below for the Zoom link

Professor Jamal J. Elias is Walter H. Annenberg Professor of the Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He specializes in Islamic thought, literature, and history in Western, Central, and South Asia, with a focus on Sufism and Visual Culture. His most recent books are On Wings of Diesel: Trucks, Identity and Culture in Pakistan (Oxford 2011), Aisha’s Cushion: Religious Art, Perception and Practice in Islam (Cambridge, MA, 2012), and Alef is for Allah: Childhood, Emotion and Visual Culture in Islamic Societies (Berkeley, 2018).

Organized by the University at Buffalo Asian Studies Program and Translation Zone Humanities Institute Research Workshop

Rustgi Undergraduate Conference on South Asia (Feb 26 & 27, 2021)

Isolation and Its Discontents

February 26 and 27, 2021, via Zoom

University at Buffalo, SUNY


Featuring

Saturday, Feb 27 at 3 PM EST

Dr. Aniruddha Dutta, Keynote Speaker 

“Isolation to Responsibilization: Contradictions of Trans Activism in India during COVID-19”

Dutta Pic.jpg
Dr. Aniruddha Dutta

The COVID-19 pandemic and the Indian state’s high-handed response in the form of severe lockdowns without adequate notice or welfare measures had profoundly debilitating effects on socially vulnerable groups, including trans and gender-diverse people. As many have documented, these impacts, including livelihood loss and psychosocial isolation, prompted a flurry of mobilization and fundraising by trans and kothi-hijra (transfeminine spectrum) activists and organizations for not just their own communities but also other marginalized social groups. This burgeoning sphere of COVID-related activism helped mitigate the intensified social and structural isolation of trans and other vulnerable groups during the pandemic, but evidences several contradictions. Since the immediate need for relief took precedence over challenging state policies, trans activism helped fill in for token welfare measures meted out to these communities, which intensified the process of neoliberal responsibilization wherein individuals and the “civil society” take up responsibility to make up for declining state infrastructure and social security. Further, this activism was characterized by profound inequalities in recognition and funding among activists based on class, caste and geographic location, and the state’s utilization of the pandemic period to institute undemocratic bodies for trans welfare, in which elite trans activists were complicit. Based on ethnography and collaborative activism in eastern India, this lecture will explore the conundrums and potentials of Indian trans activism during an unprecedented crisis.

Pandemic food distribution

Dr. Dutta is Associate Professor in the departments of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies and Asian and Slavic Languages and Literature at the University of Iowa. Their work has appeared in journals such as Transgender Studies QuarterlyQED: A Journal in GLBTQ WorldmakingInternational Feminist Journal of PoliticsGender, and History, and South Asian History and Culture.

and

Friday, Feb 26 at 9 PM EST

Paul Livingstone & SANGAM, Guest Performers

Sangam - Livingston.jpg
Peter Jacobson (l) and Paul Livingstone (r) of SANGAM

Sangam is the chamber music duo of sitarist Paul Livingstone and cellist Peter Jacobson. They have been featured on three Grammy Award-winning records artists with Ozomatli, Quetzal & Rickey Kej.

Conference Programhttps://bit.ly/rustgiprogram2021 (subject to change)

Program Schedule

Friday, February 26th

Panel 1: Contextualizing Gender Violence                               7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Syeda M. Bokhari (American University): “Object or Subjects: Women and Violence During the 1947 Partition”

Hannarose Manning (SUNY Geneseo): “Prostitution in Times of Rebellion: Examining the Roles Prostitutes Played in the 1857 Rebellion and the Legacy They Left Behind”

Olivia Frison De Angelis (The College of Wooster): “Criminals and Comic Relief: Hijra Misrepresentation in South Asian Films”

Mridula Sharma (University of Delhi ): “Escaping Isolation(s): (Re)Constructing the Kashmiri Woman in Popular Imagination”

               Performance: Paul Livingstone & SANGAM 9:00 pm

Saturday, February 27th

Panel 2: Mediated Spaces 9:00 am – 10:30 am

Amna Ejaz (Lahore University of Management Sciences): “Netflix in Pakistan: Navigating Evolving Screen Modalities among Young Adults”

Nimra Tariq (Lahore University of Management Sciences): “Blood, Guns, and Words: Response to violence in Palestinian and Kashmiri rap music”

Uswah e Fatima (Lahore University of Management Sciences): “A Shared Past & An Ambivalent Future: The Dynamics Between the Pakistani and Indian Film Industries”

               Panel 3: Reclamation of Identity 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Sukanya Maity (Jadavpur University): “Fleeing from the Nations of Pandemics and Epidemics: Walls, Isolation”

Wajeeha Amir (Lahore University of Management Sciences): “Ajab Khan Afridi in Pashto Cinema: Changing Representations and Shifting Identities”

               Panel 4: Isolation, Religion, and Othering 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Upasana Rajagopalan (Ashoka University): “Caught in the web of inequalities: The Devadasis’ Isolation”

Nicholas Hom (Elon University): “A Model of Religious Othering for Medieval Tamil Literature”

Lucas J Brenner (SUNY Geneseo): “Wahhabism and the Isolation of Indian Muslims After the 1857 Rebellion”

Keynote Speaker 3:00 pm

Dr. Aniruddha Dutta, “Isolation to Responsibilization: Contradictions of Trans Activism in India during COVID-19”

This online event is free but registration is required. To register, please visit https://bit.ly/rustgiregistration2021 Further details will be provided before the event to those who register.

Inquiries
Please contact rustgiconference@buffalo.edu for more information. 

To view past conference programs, please visit http://bit.ly/rustgi2018 or http://bit.ly/rustgiprogram2019

The third annual Rustgi Undergraduate Conference on South Asia is made possible by a generous gift from Dr. Vinod Rustgi and his family.

Christi Merrill (U Michigan): “the artistry and afterlives of anti-caste activism” (Dec. 4)

Christi Merrill December 4 2020 lecture announcement

The Translation Zone Humanities Institute research workshop is happy to invite you to our end-of-semester talk by Dr. Christi A. Merrill, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, South Asian Literature, and Postcolonial Theory, University of Michigan. The title of her talk is “the artistry and afterlives of anti-caste activism.”

The hour-long event will take place at 4:00 PM on Friday, 4th December, 2020. To join the online event, please visit bit.ly/translationzone

As a noted translator and anti-caste academic, Dr. Merrill will speak to us about translation practices in Dalit literature, her own translation work and publishing ventures, as well as larger questions concerning the identities of the author, the translator, and the publisher. You can find out more about her prolific body of translation work and teaching here

We are very excited to be hosting her as part of our workshop and look forward to having you all join us for this talk! Questions may be directed to Shantam Goyal <shantamg@buffalo.edu>

Abhipsa Chakraborty : “Activism of Intersectionality: Dalit Politics at the Cusp of Caste, Class and Gender in Contemporary India” (3:30 pm Dec. 1)

Poster announcing Chakraborty lecture December 1, 2020 at 3:30 pm

We are very pleased to announce the first talk in the social justice works-in-progress series, which emerged from one of the Department of English affinity groups and is intended to bring academic and activist work into close conjunction:

Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020 3:30 p.m.

Abhipsa Chakraborty, University at Buffalo Department of English

“Activism of Intersectionality: Dalit Politics at the Cusp of Caste, Class and Gender in Contemporary India”

For a Zoom invitation to join, please email Doug Basford <dbasford@buffalo.edu>.

Please make plans to attend and help us spread the word!