Race, Sexuality and Censorship:

Film, Art and Activism in South Asia and Beyond

A one-day symposium and film festival, presented by Tasveer and the South Asia Center, UW.

This is presented in conjunction with the Eleventh Seattle South Asian Film Festival.

Special thanks to the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies for support of Bangladesh related programming at the symposium and the Seattle South Asian Film Festival.

All events will take place in Thomson Hall, UW Seattle Campus.


Part 1 – Film Screening and Panel

11:00 – 1:00: Film Screening: “Cry Out Loud”

At a time when race relations in the US are at an all time low, how do we make sense of this atmosphere of suspicion, hostility, and fear? What are the parallels between racism in the US and communalism in India that discriminate against Black and Brown people? Might we be complicit in perpetuating these biases? Is the situation irredeemable?

cry out loud screening

Screening of “Cry Out Loud” in New Delhi, 2014

Through the screening of the film “Cry Out Loud”, a powerful examination of the deeply ambivalent relationship between Indians and African migrants living in India, we attempt to seek ways to answer the above questions imagine a positive change through multi-racial organizing and building bridges across communities of color, breaking down racial hierarchies, challenging the model minority myth, and collaborating with protest movements such as Black Lives Matter, Dream Defenders, A Million Hoodies.

Scholars, filmmakers, and members of the Seattle South Asians for Black Lives will lead the discussions.

Panel: Radhika Govindarajan (moderator), Aretha Basu, S. Charusheela

Location: Thomson Hall 317, UW Campus, Seattle

2:00 – 4:00: Panel: Censorship in Film and Art in South Asia

Despite constitutional guarantees, freedom of speech and press has long been under attack in South Asia. Examples range from banning or indicting films for their political, sexual, or cultural content (The Final Solution, Fire, Udta Punjab in India), charging artists with sedition or immorality (Assem Trivedi, M. F. Hussain in India), socially sanctioning writers for realism (Perumal Murigan in India), and murdering singers for blasphemy or honor (Amjad Sabri, Quandil Baloch in Pakistan), bloggers and public intellectuals for promoting secularism (Oyasiqur Rehman, Sabina Mahmud, M M Kalburgi in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India), or journalists for telling the truth (Syed Saleem Shahzad in Pakistan). Through the use of historical, archival and filmic material, a panel of scholars and filmmakers will interrogate the rise of cultural and intellectual intolerance in South Asia by looking at the role played both by state and non-state actors in controlling and erasing ideas, creativity, and human lives.

Panel: Keith Snodgrass (Moderator), Alka Kurian, Shailaja Padindala, Mostofa Farooki, Shaunak Sen, Andy Schocken, Varun Tandon

Location: Thomson Hall 317, UW Campus, Seattle


Part 2 – LGBT program

4:30 – 6:30

  • Screening of film “My Child is Gay and I Am Happy”
  • Screening of “Dancing Queens: It’s All About Family”
  • Paper Presentation by Lyle Pearson

Panel: Chandan Reddy (Moderator), Lyle Pearson, Trikone Northwest

Location: Thomson Hall 101, UW Campus, Seattle


Part 3 – Film Screening

7:00 Film Screening: ” (Oggatonama) The Unnamed”

Many Bangladeshi laborers are exported to the Middle East, the Far East, Europe and North America. Many are subject to identity theft and worse abuses, sometimes resulting in death. Their remittances to Bangladesh are low. This film looks at the challenges faced by this population.

Tickets: $12 General; $10 for students and seniors

Q&A: Moderator – Tamina Watson

Location: Thomson Hall 101, UW Campus, Seattle