Study in India in Fall, 2016. Applications are now open for Explore India's Himalaya—Yoga, Culture, Politics, Environment
I want to tell you a little about the activities of the South Asia Center and to ask for your support.
Among the many events that we’ve hosted recently, several stand out for engaging students and the larger South Asian community and helping to connect and enrich these two worlds. Following several months after the Voices of Partition event in Spring 2015, in October the Center sponsored a two-day symposium on Human Rights and the Politics of Film Making. The event brought together filmmakers, scholars, students, and community members for vibrant conversations about films and filmmaking in South Asia. In November, the Center hosted a morning of Daastaan-Goi with an artist from New Delhi who demonstrated this beautiful tradition of Urdu story-telling to an absorbed audience of students and community members.
Our new graduate students studying in and affiliated with the South Asia program hail from around the globe, including the US, India, Pakistan, and Hong Kong. In addition to taking classes from our renowned faculty and attending events like those described above, an active colloquium series enables our undergraduate and graduate students to learn from important scholars, activists, and intellectuals of South Asia who visit campus from across the world.
We ask you to help support the educational and outreach activities of the South Asia Center with a tax-deductible gift. A donation to the Friends of South Asia Fund will help us to bring visitors to campus and expand our programming to wider sections of our community. A gift to the South Asia Students Fund or another of our student fellowships will allow us to support our students as they carry out research and prepare themselves to join the next generation of scholars and professionals. We are very grateful for the support you’ve given the […]
Apply now for fellowships for the 2016-2017 Academic Year and for Summer, 2016. Both graduate students and undergraduates are eligible for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships (details) (application); domestic and international graduate students are eligible for the Frank F. Conlon Fellowship (details) (application).
Welcome from the South Asia Center:
As the new Director of the South Asia Center, it’s a pleasure to welcome everyone to the start of a new year at the University of Washington. I’m honored to follow in Anand Yang’s footsteps at the Center and over the next few years I look forward to working closely with students, faculty, and staff to strengthen the study of South Asia at UW. I’m also eager to collaborate with individuals and organizations in Seattle and Washington to share our passion and knowledge about the region with a wider audience.
Last year was a great one for the South Asia Center. The Center advanced its mission to educate and enrich the wider public about South Asia through activities like the Newspapers in Education Series and through events like the Voices of Partition, which provided a space to remember and reflect on the enduring significance of 1947. We are eager to build on these initiatives and launch several new ones.
An accomplished group of students received South Asian Studies master’s degrees in June 2015 and this fall we welcome a new cohort of students. Our language programs continue to provide rigorous training in Hindi, Urdu, Bangla, Persian, Sanskrit, and Pali and many of our students are supported in their language study with fellowships from the Foreign Languages and Area Studies Program from the Department of Education. Students on campus have the opportunity to learn about the most important aspects of South Asia through an extensive roster of classes. One of the highlights of our undergraduate curriculum is our study abroad program in the Indian Himalayan state of Uttarakhand.
During the last few years many of our South Asia […]
A two-day symposium on Human Rights and the Politics of Film Making is being hosted by the UW Jackson School’s South Asia Center in conjunction with Tasveer’s 2015 Seattle South Asian Film Festival feauturing notable film makers from South Asia.
The symposium will examine issues of human rights and film making in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. Presenters include Thenmozhi, Bindu Menon, Shoba Rajagopal, Sanjay Kak, Bidisha Biswas, Deepti Misri, Bruce Kochis, Alka Kurian, Ramya Vijaya, Prasanna Withanage, Hemal Trivedi, Sonora Jha, Rakesh Sharma, Sangita Gopal, Meenakshi Rishi, and Shreerekha Subramanian.
The schedule is available here.
Refugee Families and the Making of Kashmiri Jihadists
Author: Cabeiri Robinson
Publisher: University of California Press
Summary: This book provides a fascinating look at the creation of contemporary Muslim jihadists. Basing the book on her long-term fieldwork in the disputed borderlands between Pakistan and India, Cabeiri deBergh Robinson tells the stories of people whose lives and families have been shaped by a long history of political conflict. Interweaving historical and ethnographic evidence, Robinson explains how refuge-seeking has become a socially and politically debased practice in the Kashmir region and why this devaluation has turned refugee men into potential militants. She reveals the fraught social processes by which individuals and families produce and maintain a modern jihad, and she shows how Muslim refugees have forged an Islamic notion of rights—a hybrid of global political ideals that adopts the language of human rights and humanitarianism as a means to rethink refugees’ positions in transnational communities. Jihad is no longer seen as a collective fight for the sovereignty of the Islamic polity, but instead as a personal struggle to establish the security of Muslim bodies against political violence, torture, and rape. Robinson describes how this new understanding has contributed to the popularization of jihad in the Kashmir region, decentered religious institutions as regulators of jihad in practice, and turned the families of refugee youths into the ultimate mediators of entrance into militant organizations. This provocative book challenges the idea that extremism in modern Muslim societies is the natural by-product of a clash of civilizations, of a universal Islamist ideology, or of fundamentalist conversion.
Selected Faculty Research
Professor Manish Chalana, Assistant Professor in the Urban Design and Planning Department, conducted field work in India through the support of the Senior Research Fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) in 2014 to work on developing a book length manuscript on the history, theory and practice of historic preservation in India from the British Colonial period up to the present. While in India he was affiliated with the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), where he co-taught the advanced thesis studio for the final year Masters in Architectural Conservation Students. Read more about Professor Chalana’s field work here.
Professor and Chair of the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, Priti Ramamurthy is conducting field work in Hyderabad and New Delhi during the 2015-2016 academic year. Professor Ramamurthy, supported by funding from an American Council for Learned Societies Research Collaborative Fellowship (2015-17) and an American Institute of Indian Studies Senior Short Term Fellowships (2016), will be working collaboratively with Vinay Gidwani, associate professor of geography at the University of Minnesota. The research will explore the experiences and social relations of informal sector work, including construction, street vending, petty retail, transportation, waste picking, sex work, and domestic service labor.
In 2015-16, Sunila Kale, Associate Professor in the Jackson School of International Studies and Chair and Director of the South Asia Center and Program, will start a new research project on the politics of extractive industries in eastern India. Her project, which will be supported by a Fulbright-Nehru Research Fellowship, explores the relationship between corporations and Corporate Social […]
Loritta Ying Ping Chan
BA, Economics & South Asian Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Originally from Hong Kong, Loritta will begin at UW in the fall to begin her MA in South Asia Studies, where she plans to study Hindi. Having approached development from an economic perspective as an undergraduate, she wants to dwell deeper into its cultural and societal dimensions. This includes how caste and value systems influence identity formation, and how these shape the notions of development.
Regarding her reasons for pursuing an MA in South Asia Studies she says:
“As I pursue my future aspirations in academia, I hope my research in the ‘softer’ dimensions of development will ultimately complement research institutions and policy-makers in devising more effective, targeted strategies to help those in need – by understanding what it is that guides their actions.”
BA, International Relations, Mount Holyoke College
Mariam is interested in knowledge in nomadic societies including forms of informal knowledge, means of knowledge acquisition, sites of knowledge interchange and formalization of knowledge. A native Urdu speaker, she has also studied Persian, Pashto, and Russian. At UW she hopes to continue studying Persian and to learn to read and write the Devanagari script.
On why she wants to attend UW:
“I am interested in taking an interdisciplinary approach to deepening my knowledge of South Asia at the graduate level. JSIS and UW’s diverse array of language offerings and coursework on themes that relate to my research interests, renowned South Asia faculty, and the flexibility of taking classes across disciplines and regions make it an ideal program.”
She has worked in higher education in Pakistan for the last five years […]
The UW South Asia program graduated nine students in 2015.
Our graduating students have been heavily involved in the university community during their time here. Both Thilini Kahandawaarachchi and Mansi Majithia represented the South Asia program students by serving in the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. Majithia, along with Quinn Clark, Nick Gottschall, and Hannah Haegeland, presented original research at the South Asia Conference of the Pacific Northwest (SACPAN) at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
Four of our graduates this year are headed into selective PhD programs, in which they will continue research and specialties that they developed during their South Asia MA degree. Both Quinn Clark and Keith Cantú will pursue doctorates in Religious Studies, heading to Columbia University and UC Santa Barbara respectively. Fellow 2015 graduate Kelsey Utne recently began her doctoral work in modern South Asian history at Cornell University. And Jessica Bachman will be staying at UW to pursue her PhD in history.
Many South Asia MA students study language in South Asia, either during the summer or sometimes for a full academic year. Through a Boren Fellowship Hannah Haegeland spent last year in Lucknow, India studying advanced Urdu, before coming back this year to finish her research and coursework. After graduation she began working as a Herbert Scoville Peace Fellow at the Stimson Center’s South Asia Program in Washington, D.C.
Placing high value on developing their language skills, during summer terms students from this class of graduates pursued intensive language studies in Sanskrit, Bangla, Hindi, Urdu, and Persian. They studied at domestic locations (Seattle, Washington and Madison, Wisconsin), as well as internationally (Jaipur, Lucknow, and Calcutta, India, and Lahore, Pakistan).
Congratulations to all of our graduates.
Historians have approached the dramatic experience of the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan with different perspectives over the years, struggling to grapple with such a pivotal and traumatic portion of South Asia history. Early works focused on high politics, elite decision makers, and questions of causation. Later, influenced by feminist scholarship, scholarship turned to the lived experiences of individuals through oral histories. More recently academics have sought to explore the ways in which the messiness of Partition was not limited to a few months or even a single year, but rather was a lengthy process which is still not complete.
Unsatisfied with a lack of memorial or monument to something as pivotal as Partition, the global South Asian community has begun to produce an alternative way of remembering and narrating: crowd sourced digital archives. The 1947 Partition Archive, based out of the University of California, Berkeley, endeavors to collect the recollections and stories of as many Partition survivors as possible. Conducting interviews in the United States, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, they are working against the clock as more and more people with memory of the events pass away.
In April, 2015 the UW South Asia Center hosted “Voices of Partition,” a public event in which three Partition survivors living in the Seattle area shared their memories. Complete with chai and samosas, the event filled the Walker Ames Room of Kane Hall with over 80 attendees. Students, faculty, and members of our local community came together to learn more about Partition and contribute their own thoughts and recollections.