Rustgi Undergraduate Conference on South Asia

November 3, 2018 @ 8:30 am – 6:00 pm

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

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). We will be hosting undergraduate presenters from institutions located throughout the country who 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​

Opening Remarks (8:30 am)​
Panel 1 (8:45-9:30 am) Social and Political Currents
Abhishek Shah (Northwestern), “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›-10:45 am) Literature and Media: Classical and Contemporary Perspectives
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 (UC Boulder), “National Pride, Nukes, and the Meaning of the Mahābhārata”​

Coffee Break (10:45-11:15 am)​
Panel 3 (11:15 am-12:15 pm) Health, Medicine, and Policy
Sailakshmi Senthil Kumar (UC Berkeley), “Lingual Choices”

John Haeger (Western Michigan), “The Cost of Life: How Healthcare Has Evolved from Patients to Profits”

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

Lunch (12:15-1:45pm)​
Panel 4 (1:45-2:45 pm) Religions, Theory and Practice
Russell Guilbault (UB), Title TBD

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

Sharmain Siddiqui (Northwestern), “Semiotics, Representation, and Preservation of Indigenous Unani Human Pulse-Reading Knowledge”

Panel 5 (2:45-3:45 pm) Art and Diaspora
Chair: TBD

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

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

​Keynote: Sujatha Gidla (4 pm)​

Book Signing (until 6pm)​
Attendees’ Dinner (7pm)