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SAI Event Topic : South Asia Without Borders

Implications: Regional Perspectives on the US Withdrawal from Afghanistan

START
Fri, Sep 10, 2021 at 09:00am

END
Fri, Sep 10, 2021 at 10:30am

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An Asia Beyond the Headlines Seminar Series 

Panelists: 

  • Shirin Jaafari, Reporter, The World, USA  
  • Shubhanga Pandey, Chief Editor, Himal Southasian, Sri Lanka 
  • Nasim Zehra, Author/Columnist; National Security Expert; Senior Anchor/Analyst, Channel 24, Pakistan 

Moderator: 

James Robson, James C. Kralik, and Yunli Lou Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations; Harvard College Professor; Victor and William Fung Director, Asia Center, Harvard University

Biographies:

Shirin Jaafari is a reporter for The World, a public radio program based in the US. Her reporting focuses on the Middle East and Afghanistan. Most recently, she was in Afghanistan to cover the US withdrawal. Shirin has also reported from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. Before joining The World, Shirin worked for the BBC in Washington DC.

Shubhanga Pandey is the chief editor of Himal Southasian, a digital publication of South Asian politics, history, and culture. He has also written for other publications, including The World Politics Review, London Review of Books, Jacobin, and The Caravan.

Nasim Zehra is a national security specialist and a prominent journalist. As a columnist, television host, and teacher, with extensive experience in the development field, she writes and lectures widely on national security and global politics. She is the author of From Kargil to the Coup (2018). Ms. Zehra has been a Fellow and is currently an Associate at the Harvard University Asia Center. She was also a visiting lecturer at the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad; National University of Science and Technology; and at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. Ms. Zehra has served in an honorary capacity in the following committees/positions: the President‘s Advisory Committee on Foreign Affairs and national security (2001), member of Kashmir Committee ( 2002), and Pakistan‘s Special Envoy on UNSC reforms for Canada & Latin America (June 2005). Ms. Zehra holds an MBA from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, and a Master’s degree in Law & Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, USA.

James Robson is the James C. Kralik and Yunli Lou Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and the William Fung Director of the Harvard University Asia Center. He has served as the Chair of the Regional Studies East Asia M.A. program. He teaches East Asian religions, in particular Daoism, Chinese Buddhism, and Zen, as well as the sophomore tutorial for concentrators. Robson received his Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Stanford University in 2002, after spending many years researching in China, Taiwan, and Japan. He specializes in the history of medieval Chinese Buddhism and Daoism and is particularly interested in issues of sacred geography, local religious history, and Chan/Zen Buddhism. He has been engaged in a long-term collaborative research project with the École Française d’Extrême-Orient studying local religious statuary from Hunan province. He is the author of Power of Place: The Religious Landscape of the Southern Sacred Peak [Nanyue 南嶽] in Medieval China (Harvard, 2009), which was awarded the Stanislas Julien Prize for 2010 by the French Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres and the 2010 ToshihideNumata Book Prize in Buddhism. Robson is also the author of “Signs of Power: Talismanic Writings in Chinese Buddhism” (History of Religions 48:2), “Faith in Museums: On the Confluence of Museums and Religious Sites in Asia” (PMLA, 2010), and “A Tang Dynasty Chan Mummy [roushen] and a Modern Case of Furta Sacra? Investigating the Contested Bones of Shitou Xiqian.” His current research includes a long-term project on the history of the confluence of Buddhist monasteries and mental hospitals in East Asia.

Sponsored by the Harvard University Asia Center; Co-sponsored by the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University


Hinduism in Nepal: The Ritual Dimension

START
Thu, May 2, 2019

END
Fri, May 3, 2019

VENUE
Science Center Hall A

ADDRESS
Science Center Hall A
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02138

As part of the Nepal Studies Program, Professor Michael Witzel from Harvard University will lead a conference titled “Hinduism in Nepal: The Ritual Dimension.” Ritual has played a major role in Hindu societies, from the Vedas to modern times, and it has been particularly prominent in Nepalese society. It accompanies individuals from morning until night, from birth to death, and it shapes the customs of society throughout the year. This conference will explore some of the rituals, past and present, that are typical for Nepal. Stress is put on the extensive documentation that has been carried out over the past few decades, with a particular focus on fire rituals.


South Asia Without Borders Seminar: Citizenship of the Outcastes

START
Tue, Apr 3, 2018 at 12:00pm

END
Tue, Apr 3, 2018 at 02:00pm

The panel will discuss conceptions of “citizenship” in India as related to caste and indigeneity. The discussion will be an opportunity to explore the ways that citizenship and belonging have been constructed through exclusion and marginalization based on social, political, and ethnic lines.

Rajyashri Goody, Visiting Artist, The Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute, Harvard University

Suraj Yengde, W.E.B. Du Bois Nonresident fellow, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University; Research Associate, Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

Raile Rocky Ziipao, Arvind Raghunathan and Sribala Subramanian South Asia Visiting Fellow, The Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute, Harvard University

Moderator: Sai Balakrishnan, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Lunch will be provided.

Co-sponsored by the Committee on Ethnicity Migration and Rights (EMR) and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.


South Asia Without Borders Seminar: The Silk Road to South Asia: From Mongolia to Bangladesh

START
Tue, Mar 27, 2018 at 04:00pm

END
Tue, Mar 27, 2018 at 05:30pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S153
Harvard University

ADDRESS
CGIS South, S153
Harvard University
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Ancient records of early Buddhism, recovered from Tibet, identify five great centres of learning a thousand years after the birth of Prince Gautama Buddha. Of the five, two are amongst the four hundred Buddhist sites in Bangladesh; Somapura Mahavihara (Paharpur) and Jaggadala. These centers could not have thrived without patronage and proximity of the Silk Road which brought trade and Buddhism close together. Hasna will discuss a trip she took in 2015 and 2017 to Mongolia in search of a connection between Mongolia and India via Bangladesh. 


South Asia Without Borders Seminar: Divine Kingdoms of the Western Himalaya: From Subjects to Citizens

START
Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 04:00pm

END
Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 05:30pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S250
Harvard University

ADDRESS
CGIS South, S250
Harvard University
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

Professor Sax will discuss the pre-colonial society of the Western Himalayas, which consisted of small territories ruled by local devatas (Hindu deities) through their oracles. He will provide ethnographic details of the system as it still exists, paying special attention to how it has adapted to the modern, secular Indian republic.


Student movements in India and current challenges

START
Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 04:00pm

END
Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 05:30pm

Shehla Rashid Shora has emerged as a prominent face of the student-youth movement in India. She was active in the movement seeking justice for Dalit research scholar, Rohith Vemula, who ended his life after facing prolonged harassment by the University of Hyderabad administration. She also led the movement for the release of JNU students, Kanhaiya, Umar and Anirban who were wrongfully imprisoned following a vicious media trial.


Partition of the Punjab

START
Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 12:00pm

END
Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 02:00pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S030
Harvard University

ADDRESS
CGIS South, S030
Harvard University
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA 02138

In this talk, Ahmed will speak about the communal violence experienced during the transfer of power to Indian and Pakistani governments, specifically examining the situation which prevailed in the Punjab. Ahmed will present an analysis based on empirical evidence and a Theory of Ethnic Cleansing to shed light on how and why the Punjab was bloodied (March 1947), partitioned (End of March to 17 August 1947) and cleansed.


Coins as Historical Puzzles: Examples from Ancient India

START
Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 04:00pm

END
Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 05:30pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S050
Harvard University

ADDRESS
CGIS South, S050
Harvard University
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

Coins are small metallic documents of the past. In the images and legends impressed upon them, they contain clues that can give us insights into the times in which they were created and used. In this talk, examples from ancient India will be used to show how the unpuzzling of these clues can help us bring back forgotten dynasties, recreate historical events and shine a light on political and economic conditions.



Puja and the Space between Devotee and God: An Anthropology of Atmosphere

START
Wed, Oct 5, 2016 at 04:00pm

END
Wed, Oct 5, 2016 at 05:30pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S153
Harvard University

ADDRESS
CGIS South, S153
Harvard University
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

South Asia Without Borders Seminar

Frank Heidemann, Professor, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Chair: Richard Wolf, Professor of Music and South Asian Studies, Harvard University

In puja, a Hindu act of worship, the relationship between devotee and God is transformed and the space between them altered. Using case studies of the Badagas in the Nilgiri hills of South India, this presentation analyzes puja in light of the New Phenomenology and Gernot Böhme’s philosophy of atmosphere.

Atmosphere, according to Böhme, is the quality of a surrounding space, as perceived by all the senses and the felt body (Leib). It is an intersubjective, fluid, dynamic totality: a total social fact. The perceiving persons are co-producers and part of the atmosphere, but they consider it an external, “half thing” (Halbding). Atmospheres create social realities, contextual norms, and have an impact on the emotional state of individuals. Every society has specialists who strategically construct and monitor the process of creating atmospheres. Puja and other activities of priests produce particular religious atmospheres and contribute to a shared emotional state among devotees. In other contexts atmospheres contribute to what Heidemann calls “social proprioception.” He argue for an anthropology of atmosphere that investigates the production and perception of social atmospheres and their ontologies.

Cosponsored with the Department of South Asian Studies


Subalternity and Resistance in India’s Bhil Heartland: Historical Trajectories, Contemporary Scenarios

START
Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 04:00pm

END
Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 05:30pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S354

ADDRESS
CGIS South, S354
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA 02138

South Asia Without Borders Seminar

Alf Nilsen, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Bergen

Chair: Ajantha Subramanian, Professor of Anthropology and South Asian Studies, Harvard University

This paper aims to contribute to discussions of subaltern politics in contemporary India through an investigation of the character and trajectory of democratic mobilisation among Bhil Adivasis in western Madhya Pradesh. Grounded in a critical dialogue with recent Foucauldian approaches to the study of popular politics in India, this paper explores how subalternity is simultaneously constituted and contested in and through state-society relations. The first part of the paper outlines the contours of contemporary Adivasi subalternity in the Bhil heartland of western India, focusing in particular on the “everyday tyranny” of the local state. I then show how the historical origins of Bhil political subalternity can be traced to the restructuring of sovereignty that occurred across the tribal heartland of western India under as a result of colonial state-making projects that unfolded from the end of the Anglo-Maratha wars onwards, and how the power relations that were constituted in this process were reproduced in western Madhya Pradesh after independence. The third and final part of the paper analyzes the ways in which Bhil social movements in the region mobilized to democratize local state-society relations in the 1980s and 1990s. I read this resistance as revolving around forms of legalism from below which produced the rudiments of a civil society and an insurgent form of citizenship centred on collective resource control and self-determination. In conclusion, I reflect on what conceptual lessons the trajectories of these movements hold for the study of subalterity, resistance, and state-society relations in India today.

 

 


New Urbanism and Post-national Modernity: Capital, People and the State in Gurgaon, India

START
Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 04:00pm

END
Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 05:30pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S250
Harvard University

ADDRESS
CGIS South, S250
Harvard University
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

South Asia Without Borders Seminar

Sanjay Srivastava, Professor of Sociology, JNU, Delhi

Chair:  Parimal G. Patil, Professor of Religion and Indian Philosophy, Committee on the Study of Religion, FAS, Chair of the Department of South Asian Studies

This paper focuses upon new urban developments in India and suggests that an ethnographic account of this context provides fruitful insights into contemporary relationships between the state, the ‘people’ and capital. The paper is organized around historical and ethnographic accounts of the privately developed DLF City in the North Indian state of Haryana. DLF City borders Delhi and is part of an area known as the National capital Region (NCR). In principle, a government body known as the National capital Region Planning Board is meant to oversee coordinated infrastructure and other forms of planning processes for the Region. In practice, urban processes within the NCR depend  upon erratic relationships between real estate behemoths, the state and a variety of residents associations. This discussion proceeds through introducing the concepts of ‘post-national modernity’ and ‘moral consumption’. These, I suggest, allow us to explore the relationships noted above, as well as allowing for a tracking of the contours of a state formation that is part of the informality it seeks to banish. The discussion also outlines some of the ways in which new forms of urban citizenship emerge through the changing relationships suggested above, as well those that are submerged.