Past Events at the Centre for South Asian Studies

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October 2019

  • Friday, October 4th The Fear of Being Compared: India, China and the Himalayas

    DateTimeLocation
    Friday, October 4, 20194:00PM - 6:00PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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    Description

    This lecture examines a form of international relations that arises when emerging states share an inhabited borderland: “state-shadowing”. Authority over people is crucial to effective sovereignty, yet international borderlands are often porous and heterogeneous. Borderlanders have the possibility to look across, observe and compare different state-making and nation-building projects. When neighboring states seek to consolidate in such situations, physical closeness can become a contest to prove their superiority over the state next door—which constitutes an always discernible, readily available, and equally viable alternative political project—to local people. This fear of comparison is particularly high in post-colonial polities like China and India, struggling to transform into nations. The triangular relationship between states and non-state actors in borderland situations turn state-making and nation-building into emulative, mirroring, and competitive attempts at self-definition against the other polity. As China and India’s Himalayan encounter in the 20th century attests, this fear of being compared can escalate into a destructive security dilemma. The concept of state-shadowing thus offers a framework to understand how proximity, mobility and governmentality structure the low politics between neighbouring post-colonial states, and potentially contribute to conflict.

    A specialist of modern South Asia and the Indian Ocean, Dr. Guyot-Réchard holds a senior lectureship (associate professorship) in contemporary international history at King’s College London. Her award-winning work focuses on the long-term impact of decolonization, particularly in terms of international politics. She has written extensively on the strategic borderlands between India, China and Burma. More recent work focuses on India’s practice of diplomacy and on South Asia and the international order and on the geopolitics of the Indian Ocean since 1945. She regularly intervenes on South Asia-related issues in international media and policy circles.


    Speakers

    Dr. Bérénice Guyot-Réchard
    Speaker
    King’s College London

    Takashi Fujitani
    Chair
    Director, Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies


    Main Sponsor

    Asian Institute

    Sponsors

    Centre for South Asian Studies

    Co-Sponsors

    Dr. David Chu Program in Asia Pacific Studies


    If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.

    Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at munkschool@utoronto.ca or 416-946-8900.



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  • Thursday, October 10th The dark night of love in the Indian tradition

    DateTimeLocation
    Thursday, October 10, 20194:00PM - 6:00PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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    Series

    India-Canada Association Lecture

    Description

    This talk focuses on the dark nights of desire, on the difficulties and ordeals lovers have to face and overcome in the pursuit of fulfilment, and also on the tricks that their ingenuity manages to invent in order to escape detection, which sometimes can lead to disgrace or even death. Indian literature covers both illicit and marital love with great nuance. It ranges from problems to do with secrecy to problems of marital privacy in a crowded extended family situation. The differences between literary representations and visual representations of love stories will also be dealt with.

    Dr. Fabrizia Baldissera teaches Sanskrit Language and Literature at University of Florence. She lectures abroad extensively. Her interests are kāvya, satire, Goddess worship, dance, Indian alchemy and Arthaśāstra. Her books include The Narmamālā of Kṣemendra; Śāradātilakabhāṇa; L’universo di Kāma; King and Devī and Emotions in Indian Dramas and Dances.


    Speakers

    Christoph Emmrich
    Chair
    Director, Centre for South Asian Studies

    Fabrizia Baldissera
    Speaker
    Sanskrit Language and Literature, University of Florence


    Main Sponsor

    Asian Institute

    Sponsors

    Centre for South Asian Studies

    Co-Sponsors

    Instituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto


    If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.

    Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at munkschool@utoronto.ca or 416-946-8900.



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  • Friday, October 11th Marrying for a Future: Transnational Sri Lankan Tamil Marriages in the Shadow of War

    DateTimeLocation
    Friday, October 11, 20194:00PM - 6:00PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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    Description

    The talk will be based on my newly published book Marrying for a Future: Transnational Sri Lankan Tamil Marriages in the Shadow of War (University of Washington Press). The book examines the life of the Sri Lankan Tamil community in the time of war and migration before the war was ended in 2009. Three decades of war in Sri Lanka ended in 2009, but the prolonged violence during the war devastated the Sri Lankan Tamil community, leading to a serious disruption of ordinary life and mass migrations to escape the violence of the state and of Tamil militants. Jaffna Tamils are now widely dispersed across the world – predominantly in Canada, continental Europe, UK, Australia and India. In the book I have focused on marriage processes (arrangements of transnational marriages), transit places where the actual marriage performance takes place, figures (e.g. marriage brokers, photographers) who facilitate marriages, visual documents (e.g. wedding photos), and laws, in order to understand how Sri Lankan Tamils, who have been dispersed across spaces, rebuilt and shaped their fragmented lives and communities through these documents/figures/ spaces/zones. This study suggests that those fragmented communities were rekindled by ‘in-betweens’ associated with the marriage process, actors like wedding photographers or marriage brokers, legal corpuses, and transit places. The practices, ceremonies, and performances during the marriage process hold an imagined and lived future/s, entangled with past and present. This book deals with temporalities, documents, relatedness and political violence.

    Sidharthan Maunaguru is currently an assistant professor in anthropology at Department of Sociology and South Asian Studies at National University of Singapore. His research interests cover the areas of marriage, migration, religion, diaspora, politics, conscience, ethics, and law. He was awarded a Newton Fellowship by British Academia and Royal Society which was held at University of Edinburgh before he joined NUS. Maunaguru’s work is placed within the South Asian regions and beyond, it often includes multi-site fieldwork and intersects with anthropology, history and philosophy. He has published in Modern Asian Studies, Comparative Studies on Society and History, Religion and Society and Contributions to Indian Sociology. Maunaguru’s book titled Marrying for a Future: Transnational Tamil Marriages in the Shadow of War is published in 2019 with University of Washington Press, and another of his article is forthcoming in Current Anthropology.

    Marrying for a Future: Transnational Tamil Marriages in the Shadow of War will be available for purchase at the venue.


    Speakers

    Sidharthan Maunaguru
    Speaker
    Department of Sociology and South Asian Studies Programme, National University of Singapore

    Francis Cody
    Chair
    Department of Anthropology and Asian Institute


    Main Sponsor

    Asian Institute

    Sponsors

    Centre for South Asian Studies

    Co-Sponsors

    Department of Anthropology

    Tamil Worlds Initiative


    If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.

    Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at munkschool@utoronto.ca or 416-946-8900.



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  • Friday, October 25th Sphere of Knowledge and Experience in Literature: A Case Study of Nepali Literature

    DateTimeLocation
    Friday, October 25, 20194:00PM - 6:00PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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    Description

    This case study of Nepali literature shows how literature can reflect the expanding spheres of knowledge in societies like that of Nepal where multiple cultural modes prevail. I will present a study on the expanding sphere of Nepali literature in areas such as the choice of subject for writing, the growth of ‘print capitalism’ or printing and dissemination from the last decades of the 19th century, the role of literary journals in keeping up the creative and free spirit under the autocratic regimes, and the creation of the reading public. The presentation will show how in the first half of the twentieth century did Nepali poetry use romanticism as the important literary trend, and how the literary writers, critics and academics see and interpret modernism, and people understand it in common parlance. I will mention my own experience as a playwright in the selection of the motifs for the plays and how that reflects the sphere of creative writing, in terms of cultural diversity and plurality of subjects.

    Abhi Subedi (PhD) received his higher education in Nepal and Britain. He is an essayist, literary critic, linguist, playwright, and poet. He has over two-dozen books on different subjects to his credit. Professor Subedi has taught since 1970. He writes on issues of freedom, culture, literature, arts and social transformations.


    Speakers

    Dr. Abhi Subedi
    Professor Emeritus, Tribhuvan University, Nepal


    Main Sponsor

    Asian Institute

    Sponsors

    Centre for South Asian Studies

    Co-Sponsors

    Centre for Comparative Literature


    If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.

    Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at munkschool@utoronto.ca or 416-946-8900.



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November 2019

  • Tuesday, November 12th The Indian Water Crisis: Does Technology Offer a Way Forward?

    DateTimeLocation
    Tuesday, November 12, 20194:00PM - 6:00PM108N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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    Description

    The 2019 Indian water crisis has been termed by researchers, civil society and the national media in that country as being unprecedented in its geographical span and severity. This panel examines some of the policy and technological responses to this multidimensional crisis and argues that current problems, while challenging, have been decades in the making. It also highlights years of missed opportunities towards crafting imaginative solutions to what are primarily issues of unsustainable water use. From the problems of sanitation, the growing disparities in urban water access, and the over extraction of groundwater in many parts of India, the panelists shall also examine the nexus of the water crisis with technological and institutional choices made in the past. In this context, the panelists while maintaining their focus on policy questions shall also map out possible technological solutions and political responses to the present crisis.

    Introductory remarks
    Vladimiros Papangelakis, Director, Institute for Water Innovation, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, University of Toronto

    Bharat Punjabi, Lecturer, Asian Institute, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto
    Understanding recent national policy responses to the water crisis in India. Is governance reform sufficient?

    K J Joy, Founder Member and Senior Fellow, Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management, Pune and Convenor, Forum for Policy Dialogue on Water Conflicts in India
    Responding to the Indian water crisis: Emergent ideas and pathways for restructuring the water sector

    David Taylor, Assistant Professor, Civil and Global Engineering, University of Toronto
    Urban water regimes

    Moderator
    Amy Bilton, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering; Director, Center for Global Engineering, University of Toronto

    Note of thanks: Vladimiros Papangelakis, Institute for Water Innovation


    Speakers

    Amy Bilton
    Moderator
    Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering; Director, Center for Global Engineering, University of Toronto

    Vladimiros Papangelakis
    Opening Remarks
    Director, Institute for Water Innovation, University of Toronto

    Bharat Punjabi
    Panelist
    Lecturer, Asian Institute, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy

    K. J. Joy
    Panelist
    Founder Member and Senior Fellow, Society for Participatory Ecosystem Management, Pune and Convenor, Forum for Policy Dialogue on Water Conflicts in India

    David Taylor
    Panelist
    Assistant Professor, Global Engineering, University of Toronto


    Main Sponsor

    Asian Institute

    Sponsors

    Centre for South Asian Studies

    Institute for Water Innovation, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering


    If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.

    Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at munkschool@utoronto.ca or 416-946-8900.



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  • Thursday, November 14th King Milinda in Independent Burma and the Struggle to Control the Buddhist Canon

    DateTimeLocation
    Thursday, November 14, 201910:00AM - 12:00PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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    Series

    Asian Institute PhD Seminar Series

    Description

    The first independent Burmese administration of U Nu embarked on a national Buddhist revivalist project that included laws regulating Buddhism, sponsorship of lay-centred meditation centres, and the so-called Sixth Buddhist Council. This paper focuses on Burmese monk Mingun Jetavana Sayadaw (1868-1954) and the controversy over his Pali commentary in the early 1950s, the Commentary on the Questions of [King] Milinda (Milindapañha-aṭṭhakathā). Published in 1948 by a pioneer of mass-lay meditation in the most classical commentarial genre, this text sparked protest in the streets and forced U Nu to send police to confiscate almost 400 copies from a monastery in Rangoon at night. Ostensibly the uproar was over reforms the Mingun Jetavana Sayadaw proposed to the monastic code (vinaya), possibly hurrying the enactment of the Monastic Courts Act of 1949 (Ṭhana Vinicchaya). By examining the controversy over this text through newspaper articles, epigraphic evidence and government documents, this paper will explore the intersection between Buddhist statecraft, emerging communities of insight (vipassanā) meditation, and control of the Pali canon in mid-twentieth-century Burma.

    Tony Scott is a PhD Candidate in the Department for the Study of Religion in collaboration with the Centre for South Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. His research interests lie in South and Southeast Asian Pali discourse and its intersection with communities of practice, vernacular language, and twentieth-century statecraft. He currently focuses on the Milindapañha-aṭṭhakathā, a modern Pali commentary on the Questions of King Milinda (circa 1st century B.C.E.) written by a Burmese pioneer of insight (vipassanā) meditation, the Mūla Mingun Jetavan Sayadaw (1868-1954).

    Contact

    Katherine MacIvor
    416-946-8832


    Speakers

    Tony Scott
    PhD Candidate, Department for the Study of Religion and Collaborative Specialization in South Asian Studies



    If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.

    Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at munkschool@utoronto.ca or 416-946-8900.



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  • Friday, November 15th Tagore in China: The Case for Pan-Asian Poetics in the 1920s

    DateTimeLocation
    Friday, November 15, 20195:00PM - 8:00PM202N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
    Friday, November 15, 20195:00PM - 8:00PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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    Series

    The Annual Bengal Studies Lecture

    Description

    Rabindranath Tagore’s 1924 tour in China has attracted numerous critical analyses throughout the years and continues to pique scholars’ curiosity. The literary luminary’s attempt to raise support for his vision of an Asia-wide investment in spirituality in a rapidly materializing world remains a particularly fraught topic. Scholarship on China’s response to the Eastern spirituality ideal has generally focused on Chinese Marxists’ scathing critiques of Tagore’s vision, epitomized in the cold reception his lectures received from their audience. Less attention has been paid to an array of enthusiastic responses that emerged from May 4th poets in the form of journal articles about Tagore and poetry which directly engaged with his ideas. This talk investigates the exchange with Tagore and his work as an event that deeply informed Chinese poetry. As such, I argue, Tagore’s visit enables a new understanding of the Eastern spirituality project not as a failure, but as a vehicle for the Chinese envisioning of Pan-Asian poetics.

    Gal Gvili is an Assistant Professor at the Department of East Asian Studies at McGill University. She studies and teaches modern, and contemporary Chinese literature, literary and cultural theory. Her first book investigates how interactions between Chinese writers and Indian religions and philosophy fashioned a conviction that literature is the ultimate means for transforming the national fate.

    The lecture will be followed by reception, 7-8 PM.

    Main Sponsor

    Asian Institute

    Sponsors

    Centre for South Asian Studies

    Co-Sponsors

    Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies

    Department for the Study of Religion

    Department of English


    If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.

    Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at munkschool@utoronto.ca or 416-946-8900.



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December 2019

  • Friday, December 6th Anatomy of a Protest: The Abolition of Indian Indentured Labor in the British Empire

    DateTimeLocation
    Friday, December 6, 20194:00PM - 6:00PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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    Series

    The B.N. Pandey Memorial Lecture in the History of India

    Description

    Kunti, a dalit (“untouchable” caste) woman, became the poster child for the nation-wide movement in India against the abolition of the system of indentured labor in 1917. The system, managed by the colonial government in India, had supplied approximately 1.3 million workers from India to plantations overseas in the aftermath of the abolition of Atlantic slavery in the 1830s. This paper explores how a woman at the very bottom of the caste hierarchy in India became the face for an empire-wide change. It will argue that Kunti’s role in the movement illustrates an important dimension of the abolitionist movement: the construction of the “people” (or the demos) as the subject of a new kind of politics in late colonial India.

    Mrinalini Sinha is Alice Freeman Palmer Professor in the Department of History and Professor (by courtesy) in the Departments of English Language and Literature and of Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has written on various aspects of the political history of colonial India, with a focus on anti-colonialism, gender, and transregional approaches. She is the author of Colonial Masculinity: The ‘manly Englishman’ and the ‘effeminate Bengali’ in the late nineteenth century (1995) and of Specters of Mother India: The Global Restructuring of an Empire (2006), winner of the Joan Kelley Memorial Prize from the American Historical Association and the Albion Book Prize from the North American Conference of British Studies. She is currently working on a book project with the working title, “Complete Political Independence: The Curious History of a Nationalist Indian Demand,” for which she received the 2012 John Simon Memorial Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Sinha is also a past President of the Association of Asian Studies (2015).


    Speakers

    Mrinalini Sinha
    Speaker
    Alice Freeman Palmer Professor, Department of History; Professor (by courtesy), Departments of English Language and Literature and of Women’s Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

    Bhavani Raman
    Chair
    Associate Professor, Department of Historical and Cultural Studies, University of Toronto


    Main Sponsor

    Asian Institute

    Sponsors

    Centre for South Asian Studies

    Co-Sponsors

    Department of History, University of Toronto


    If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.

    Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at munkschool@utoronto.ca or 416-946-8900.



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