Participants > Re-Orientations @ Univ of Chicago



South Asian Languages and Civilizations
University of Chicago
Feburary 26, 200

Keynote Address

  • Trautmann, Thomas R., Marshall D. Sahlins Collegiate Professor of History and Anthropology, University of Michigan
    Tom Trautmann has been working for the past several years on the "languages and nations project", which examines how the twinning of languages and nations in European thought interacted with the Indian tradition of linguistic analysis during the colonial period. This has resulted in a book, Aryans and British India (California 1997), and a number of articles, including "Hulabaloo about Telugu" (South Asia research 1999) and "Dr Johnson and the Pandits" (Indian Economic and Social History review 2001). Another book will appear this year: Languages and nations: the Dravidian proof in Colonial Madras (California). Also to appear this year is a reader on The Aryan Debate (OUP India) for use in universities, on the question of whether the Aryans were immigrants or indigenous. He is Marshall D. Sahlins Collegiate Professor of History and Anthropology at the University of Michigan, teaching courses on ancient Indian history, kinship, and the "languages and history" complex, and is editor of the journal, Comparative studies in society and history.

Faculty Discussants

  • Pollock, Sheldon, George Bobrinskoy Professor of Sanskrit and Indic Studies in South Asian Languages & Civilizations, University of Chicago.
    Sheldon Pollock is the George V. Bobrinskoy Professor of Sanskrit and Indic Studies in the Department of South Asian Languages & Civilizations and the College at the University of Chicago. His work focuses on the intellectual and cultural history of premodern South Asia, Sanskrit literary and intellectual traditions, as well as old Kannada. His most recent publications include the forthcoming The Ends of Man at the End of Premodernity; The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture and Power in Premodern India; and Power in Premodern India, all due out later this year. He edited Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia (2003). He was the Gonda Memorial Lecturer at the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences in 2004, and will be a visiting professor at the Collège de France in 2005. He currently directs the international collaborative research project "Indian Knowledge-Systems on the Eve of Colonialism" with major support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and from the National Science Foundation.
  • Mir, Farina, Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Michigan.
    Farina Mir is a historian of modern South Asia, with particular interest in India's colonial history. Her research focuses on the intersections of history, language, and literature in late-nineteenth-century north India. She is currently writing a book on the conceptions of religious community, regional affinity, and gender relations that emerge from Punjabi popular oral and written narratives; and on how these literary representations inform our understanding of north India's late colonial history.
  • Tavakoli-Targhi, Mohamad, Professor of History & Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto.

Panel Participants

  • Ahmed, Manan: Manan Ahmed is currently a doctoral candidate in South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. His dissertation project is about the role of memory and history in the construction of the social identity of a "Muslim" in India. Within the intellectual world of Orientalism he focuses on the interactions between 19th c. Orientalists and their "native informants".
  • Anjum, Ovamir: Ovamir Anjum is a doctoral candidate in Islamic history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests are issues of power, authority and legitimacy in Islamic intellectual, legal and social history. He completed his Masters in Social Science at the University of Chicago with a focus on contemporary Islamic movements and wrote a thesis on conceptual issues involved in studying these movements in the West. He also holds a BS in Physics and Engineering and MS in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Baer, Ben: Ben Conisbee Baer is a doctoral candidate in the Center for Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University. He is currently working on a comparative study of the figures of the peasant and the aboriginal in twentieth century British and Bengali literature. He also holds an MA in Critical Theory from the University of Nottingham, UK.
  • Kinra, Rajeev: Rajeev Kinra is a doctoral candidate in South Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago. He is currently writing his dissertation on the life, Persian writings, milieu, and legacy of Shah Jahan’s celebrated court poet and chief munshi, Chandar Bhan "Brahman".
  • Knutson, Jesse: Jesse Knutson is in the doctoral program in South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Since his undergraduate days, he has been interested in the history of Sanskrit kåvya in South Asia. His research focuses on a set ofnew literary trends, shifts of attention and register, in the poetry at the court of king Laksmanasena of Bengal, just prior to the establishment of Turkish rule. His dissertation will focus on such poets as Govardhana and Jayadeva who explored varieties of erotic, ironic, and even vulgar pastoral. Early Bengali poetry, in its varieties of rustic erotic mysticism, likewise forms an object of study and concern.
  • Kroll, Ethan: Ethan Kroll is in the doctoral program in South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. His work focuses on Indian Intellectual History, with special attention paid to the Indian, Islamic, and Indo-Muslim legal traditions. His dissertation will focus on the conception of property in pre-modern and early modern India.
  • Leonard, Spencer: Spencer Leonard is a Ph.D. student in the departments of History and S. Asian Languages and Civilizations. He is also currently Instructor of South Asian History at Syracuse University. His research interests include the history of leftist political movements and intellectual currents in the twentieth century and modern labor politics in Maharashtra and India more generally. Other interests include Hegelian and late dialectic philosophy, social theory, and the intellectual and literary histories of modern and pre-modern South Asia. Beginning this summer Spencer will commence a two-year's of research in London, Moscow, and Western Maharashtra.
  • Sahota, Bali: Bali Sahota's work focuses on the epic form in late colonial India, romanticism in Hindi and Urdu, and relations between aesthetics and politics. With respect to the field of Orientalism, he is especially interested in the contact zone that it established with modern Indian intellectuals. He is currently a Fulbright-Hays fellow in Delhi where he is completing research and writing for the Ph.D. in South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. He will be joining the department of Asian Languages, Cultures and Media at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in the near future as an assistant professor.
  • Smith, Travis: Travis L. Smith is a doctoral candidate in Religion at Columbia University. His interests include Sanskrit language and literature, Hindu Tantra, and the medieval religious history of South Asia. His dissertation will explore the role of Tantric and counter-hegemonic discourse in the medieval sthala-purana ("local legends") literature relating to the city of Varanasi, India.

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