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Mission

The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University (The Mittal Institute) engages in interdisciplinary research to advance and deepen the understanding of critical issues of South Asia and its relationship to the world. 

 

About The Mittal Institute 

Upcoming Events


Fri, November 16, 2018 from 04:30pm - 06:00pm  /  CGIS South, S153

Transcultural Attractions: American Photographs of an Indian Dancer

AJAY SINHA, Professor of Art History, Mount Holyoke College

Chair: JINAH KIM, Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of History of Art & Architecture and Faculty Director, Arts @ Mittal Institute

 

In the Spring of 1938, an Indian dancer, Ram Gopal, posed in a variety of fantastical costumes for the American photographer, Carl Van Vechten, in New York City. Studying over 100 large-size photographs resulting from the photoshoot, the lecture builds an illustrated story of their mutual fascination and exchange, triggered by the camera. The remarkable images, now part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscripts Library, Yale University, show traces of the myriad, transcultural relations being performed during the photoshoot. They reveal an interplay of differing investments in the image when we ask:  What does the Indian dancer show the camera;  what does the American photographer see through his lens?  Their visual exploration helps us elaborate on an underrepresented history of exchanges between the cultural worlds of India and the U.S. in early-20th century.

START
Fri, Nov 16, 2018 at 04:30pm

END
Fri, Nov 16, 2018 at 06:00pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S153
Harvard University

ADDRESS
1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Mon, November 19, 2018 from 06:00pm - 07:30pm  /  CGIS South, S153

Delhi Modern: Five Short Stories of a City

Mrinalini Rajagopalan, Associate Professor, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh

Chaired by Sai Balakrishnan, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University

How do we tell little histories of grand cities? How do we tell big histories of modest monuments? How can we present alternate histories of a city that has heretofore been told through emperors, colonizers and ambitious architects; monumental mosques, revered tombs, and royal forts; and of extensive urban planning schemes stretching over seven hundred years. What of the poets, travelers, soldiers, refugees, dissidents, archaeologists, and nationalists who lived and worked in Delhi as the city grew around them and sometimes with little regard to them? What can we say about the affective landscape of a city that was the locus of the anger of colonial retribution, the hubris of imperial building, the violence of Partition, the nostalgia of preservation, and the pride of Hindu nationalism? These are the tasks of my presentation, which places subaltern agents and emotional affects as crucial vectors in the building and destruction of Delhi between 1857 and 2000. In doing so, I present alternate urban histories of Delhi that substantially expands the corpus of the city’s makers and their motivations.

START
Mon, Nov 19, 2018 at 06:00pm

END
Mon, Nov 19, 2018 at 07:30pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S153
Harvard University

ADDRESS
1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Tue, November 27, 2018 from 06:00pm - 08:30pm  /  India International Centre  /  Kamala Devi Complex

Meritocracy: Perspectives from China Past and Present

How should societies identify and promote merit?  Enabling all people to fulfill their full potential and ensuring that competent and capable leaders are selected to govern are central challenges for any society. Failure to meet these challenges can have enormous costs, for individuals and for societies as a whole.  The richness of China’s historical experience and its distinctive current practices offer useful tools for reflection and comparative analysis.  Does the case of China offer any lessons – positive or negative – for India to consider?

START
Tue, Nov 27, 2018 at 06:00pm

END
Tue, Nov 27, 2018 at 08:30pm

VENUE
India International Centre

ADDRESS
#40, Max Mueller Marg, Lodhi Estate
Delhi, India


VENUE
Kamala Devi Complex

Sat, December 8, 2018 at 04:00pm

Symposium: Trace: Artisanal Intelligence, Material Agency, and Ritual Technology in South Asian Art

The ‘material turn’ in art history opened new avenues for research with fresh approaches that shift our attention from considering an object as a static thing in an absolute state to putting more emphasis on the process of making and its use and reuse. A chipped area in a miniature painting is no longer an unfortunate loss but a site of excavation for information about material conditions of production and use, while unfinished surface in a stone sculpture provides a laboratory to explore artisans’ hands at work. This symposium brings together scholars whose research embraces methodological interventions and theoretical implications of art history’s material turn in the field of South Asian art and architecture, mostly focusing on the period between 500 CE and 1500CE.  Thematically organized, papers demonstrate how attending to thingness and the process of making helps reveal hitherto invisible connections across time and space.  Going beyond the rubric of material agency, papers also explore the importance of considering somatic intelligence and ritual technology that developed to activate power and sacrality of objects and buildings in Indic religious contexts. Further consideration of ritual knowledge helps situate the trace of time left in matter through artistic mediations in historical and experiential contexts.

Symposium organizer: Jinah Kim, Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of History of Art & Architecture, Harvard University

Keynote Speaker: Vidya Dehejia, Barbara Stoler Miller Professor of Indian and South Asian Art, Columbia University

START
Sat, Dec 8, 2018 at 04:00pm

END
Sat, Dec 8, 2018

News


Trauma and Memory: Healing Through Art

Earlier this month, Kabi Raj Lama spoke at the Lalit Kala Akademi, India’s national academy of arts. His talk, entitled ‘Trauma and Memory: Healing through Art’, retraced his life story; he spoke of art, natural disasters and mental health. The event followed a 3-day workshop on stone lithography with the artist and students at the Akademi. 

New Paper: Look/Act East Policy, Roads and Market Infrastructure in North-East India

The Mittal Institute’s Arvind Raghunathan and Sribala Subramanian South Asia Visiting Fellow for 2017/18, Dr. Raile Rocky Ziipao, has published a new paper in Strategic Analysis Journal, which “argues that the new national road infrastructure bypasses the local economy, and posits the need to link rural infrastructure—especially connectivity and local markets—with regional, national and international markets.”

South Asian Art: Collection and Conservation

Sunil Hirani is a collector of South Asian art, and will soon join The Mittal Institute’s Arts Council. The Indian-American businessman displays works by Tyeb Mehta, FN Souza, MF Husain and others at his home in Connecticut, as well as much older, classical pieces. Here, he discusses the importance of conserving South Asia’s artistic heritage.

Defluoridation of Water: Innovative Tech Solutions for a Spreading Health Crisis

As part of our ongoing India Seminar Series, we put together a panel titled, “Tackling Fluorosis: Innovative Technology as a Solution to the Spreading Health Crisis”. The event was part of a project funded by the Tata Trusts-Mittal Institute initiative called “Multidisciplinary Approaches to Innovative Social Enterprises.” The project looks at scalable and affordable methods of removing fluoride from drinking water in fluoride heavy rural areas, where there is a dearth of access to even the very basic resources like proper nutrition, education, and clean drinking water.