SAI Event Type : Seminars


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...

The Past, Present and Potential Future of Coal in India

India’s coal industry is highly contested today. Between the immediacy of coal shortages, the transition to renewable energy, and air pollution problems, the long history of the coal industry and India’s deep economic and social dependence on the fuel gets lost in...

Between the Yogi and the Commissar

Between the Yogi and the Commissar
Between the Yogi and the Commissar: Imagining De-Colonial Science in Postcolonial India, c. 1952–1977 Projit Bihari Mukharji, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania Moderated by Victor Seow, Assistant Professor, Department of History of Science, Harvard...

Royal City Invented: Mysore in the 20th Century

Royal City Invented: Mysore in the 20th Century

After the 1880s, Mysore was established as the home of the royal family. Despite its interrupted and uncertain status as a “capital” city, it became the site of an experiment in ornamentalism by the 20th century. It was among the first cities in India to have a City Improvement Trust in 1903, a few years after the Bombay Improvement Trust was set up in 1898. In the Trust’s negotiations with the municipality on the one hand, and the Palace establishment on the other, we see a specific form of material and temporal “ordering” that drew as much on the sovereign power of the monarch — though mediated by an increasingly powerful bureaucracy — as on a creative adaptation of the diverse forces, techniques, and devices more properly associated with “governmentality.” How does the invention of Royal Mysore challenge existing conceptions of the colonial city as a site of modernity?

Speaker:

Janaki Nair, Professor of History, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Delusional States: Feeling Rule and Development in Pakistan’s Northern Frontier

Delusional States: Feeling Rule and Development in Pakistan’s Northern Frontier

Delusional States is the first in-depth study of state-making and social change in Gilgit-Baltistan, a Shia-majority region of Sunni-dominated Pakistan and a contested border area that forms part of disputed Kashmir. Ali will discuss how Gilgit-Baltistan’s image within Pakistan as an idyllic paradise overlooks how the region is governed as a suspect security zone and dispossessed through multiple processes of state-making, including representation, militarization, and sectarianized education.

Speakers:

Nosheen Ali, Karti Dharti, Institute for Ecological Studies, Pakistan

Ali Asani, Harvard University, will moderate the discussion

Raj Rewal: Timeless Rasa & the Spirit of Our Times for Epic Works

Raj Rewal: Timeless Rasa & the Spirit of Our Times for Epic Works

Raj Rewal is internationally recognized for the creation of buildings that respond with sensitivity to the complex demands of rapid urbanization, climate, and culture. Earlier in his career, his focus on low-cost housing led him to design a large number of dwelling units, fragmented into smaller aggregations enclosing a variety of spaces for different building types — an experience that led him to create a series of public projects in a humane manner, for works of epic proportions. Rewal will discuss his past work in public housing, the lessons learned from the cities of Rajasthan, Mediterranean villages, and high-density developments, and how the study of the existing traditional pattern of living can provide cues for place-making that can promote community activities.

Voting for Strongmen: Nationalist and Populist Leadership in Brazil and India

Voting for Strongmen: Nationalist and Populist Leadership in Brazil and India

Around the world, numerous nations have witnessed a resurgence of strongman politics — and with it, many governments are bypassing democratic norms and embracing populist ideals. Focusing on President Bolsonaro of Brazil and Prime Minister Modi of India, the speakers on this panel will discuss what nationalist and populist leadership means for Brazil, India, and the global political system at large.

Speakers:

Rachel Brule, Assistant Professor of Global Development Policy, Boston University
Bruno Carvalho, Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University
Patrick Heller, Professor of Sociology and iNternational and Public Affairs, Brown University

This event is co-sponsored by the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.

Crisis in Kashmir: Current Events Seminar

Crisis in Kashmir: Current Events Seminar

The panel will discuss the recent events in Jammu and Kashmir, including the lead-up to the dissolution of its special autonomous status, the current situation on the ground, and the greater geopolitical implications of the recent change in status. Speakers include:

Salil Shetty, Former Secretary General of Amnesty International and Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School
Ashutosh Varshney, Sol Goldman Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs and Director of the Center for Contemporary South Asia, Brown University
Prerna Singh, Mahatma Gandhi Associate Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs, Brown University
Ashwaq Masoodi, Nieman Fellow, Nieman Foundation for Journalism, Harvard University
Beena Sarwar, Affiliated Faculty, Emerson University; Editor, Aman Ki Asha

The Fears Have Gone Away: Exploring the Roots of Insurgent Citizenship in India’s Bhil Heartland

The Fears Have Gone Away: Exploring the Roots of Insurgent Citizenship in India’s Bhil Heartland

In India, subaltern groups must resort to the universalizing vocabulary of citizenship in order to stake claims for redistribution and recognition. But on what basis do they do this — especially under severe coercion? Alf Nilsen, Professor of Sociology at the University of Pretoria, will explore this question by investigating movement patterns in the Bhil heartland of western India, where Adivasi communities have organized and mobilized against the tyranny of the local state.

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