South Asia Initiative Events

Spring Quarter 2019

Tue, Apr 9, 2019: Thenmozhi Soundararajan (Executive Director of Equality Labs) & Anasuya Sengupta (Co-Director of Whose Knowledge?), and Lilly Irani (UC San Diego Communication), Decolonising Knowledge and the Internet: the Dalit Bahujan experience.

5:00 – 6:30 pm, Geisel Library, Seuss Room

Co-sponsored by The Library, UC San Diego

This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

To request an accommodation, contact Lilly Irani at This event is wheelchair accessible. Service animals specifically trained to assist with a disability are welcome.

Abstract: In this conversation between Thenmozhi Soundararajan (Executive Director of Equality Labs), Anasuya Sengupta (Co-Director of Whose Knowledge?), and Lilly Irani (UC San Diego Communication), we will explore notions and practices of decolonising knowledge, specifically in centering the knowledges of marginalised communities online. Marking April as Dalit History Month, Thenmozhi will define and locate debrahminization, and detail debrahminizing processes undertaken by the Dalit Bahujan communities in India and the United States. Anasuya will offer a framework of allyship and solidarity practices that supports this work and other forms, on Wikipedia, in oral archives, and beyond. Lilly will facilitate a discussion between them that looks at the political and emotional economies of these battles against epistemic injustice, and invite the audience to think seriously about our individual and collective actions towards epistemic justice.


Thu, Apr 18, 2019: Vishnu Venugopalan (Indian Administrative Services) on Tackling Development and Governance Challenges: The case of Skills Development and Infrastructure Projects in South India.

4-6 pm, SSB 107

Co-sponsored by the Rady School









Thu & Fri, May 9-10, 2019: Krishnendu Ray (Columbia), talk on Cultural Politics of Taste and the South Asian Diasporic Community; workshop on South Asian food.

Lecture: Thu, 3-5 pm, SSB 107

Workshop: Fri, 12-2 pm, SSB 269

Co-sponsored by the International Institute Food Group.


Bio: Krishnendu Ray is the Chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at NYU. He was a faculty member and the Associate Dean of Liberal Arts at The Culinary Institute of America. He is the author of The Migrant’s Table (2004), The Ethnic Restaurateur (2016), and the co-editor of Curried Cultures: Globalization, Food and South Asia (2012). His most recent work is on street vending in global cities with attention to questions of law, livelihood, and liveliness of cities.



Mon, May 13, 2019: Gaurav Khanna (UC San Diego), Economics of Reservation in India.

5-6:20 pm, PETERSON 110

Co-sponsored by Economics.


Bio: Gaurav Khanna is an assistant professor of economics at the School and a non-resident fellow at the Center for Global Development. His research focuses on development economics, labor economics and applied econometrics. Many of his current projects concentrate on education policy, high-skill immigration, infrastructure, public-works programs and conflict.

Prior to joining UC San Diego, Khanna was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C. and a consultant for the World Bank’s Poverty and Inequality Unit.



Tues, May 14, 2019:  Dr. Prashant Bharadwaj, Arushi Kaushik and Gordon McCord, Long Term Impacts of In Utero Exposure to the Bhopal Gas Disaster

2-3:00 PM

Medical Education and Telemedicine (MET)145


Tues, May 14, 2019: Professor Gabriela Soto (Harvard University), (Re)Locating Known Histories of Science to the South: The Case of Hybrid Seeds in Mexico

3:30-5 pm, Institute of Americas, Deutz Room

Co-sponsored by the Dept. of History, Center for US-Mexican Studies, Division of Arts & Humanities, Science Studies, International Institute, Institute of Art & Humanities, CILAS










Thu, May 16, 2019: Munis Faruqui (UC Berkeley), “All the Emperor’s Eunuchs: Situating the Rise of Imperial Eunuchs in Late 17th Century Mughal India.

5:30-7pm, SSB 107

Co-sponsored by the South Asian Arts Council at the San Diego Museum of Art and the International Institute, UCSD.


Abstract: This talk examines the growing importance of imperial eunuchs during Emperor Aurangzeb’s reign (1658-1707). Although eunuchs played an important role in the Mughal Empire from the middle of the sixteenth century onwards, Emperor Aurangzeb relied more heavily on eunuchs to press imperial goals than previous Mughal rulers. This dependence increased as he aged as well as faced political and military challenges on multiple fronts. This talk offers the first serious scholarly attempt to grapple with the complicated and long overlooked role of imperial eunuchs during Aurangzeb’s reign and in seventeenth-century Mughal India.




Thu, May 23, 2019: Dr. Inshah Malik, Kashmir (Cashmere) is not a sweater: An Introduction to the politics, culture and the history of the region

5-7 PM, SSB 107

Co-sponsored by the International Institute, Anthropology Department, and the Institute of Art &Humanities



Abstract: Kashmir region suffers due to neglect caused by disinformation about its history, culture and politics. The understanding about the region is marred by complex political posturing of India and Pakistan which further obscures the pathology of incessant war and oppression in the region. In this lecture, we will look at political birthing of Kashmir, postcolonial crises and continued oppression and violence in the region. We will also examine Kashmir’s post-1947 political life, underlining various movements of self-determination and what makes them different from movements elsewhere. Such an understanding allows for an alternative political consciousness to emerge that forms the basis of resistance politics. We will further dwell into the role that women have played to sustain such a consciousness and how early fractures in the political consciousness exposed the failures in the postcolonial project of nation making. Furthermore, we will be acquainted with how such failure in nation-making aids continued war in the region.



Thu, May 30, 2019: Syed Akbar Hyder (UT Austin), One in Grief: Quratalain Hyder and Urdu Cosmopolitanism

3:30-5 pm, SEQ 103

Co-sponsored by the International Institute, UCSD & Third World Studies.











Tue, Jun 4, 2019: Screening of the Rough Cut of Louis Kahn’s Tiger City with director Sundaram Tagore.

5:30-7:30 pm, CALIT2 Atkinson Auditorium

Co-sponsored by Qualcomm Institute, South Asia Studies Minor, UCSD, and Sixth College, UCSD.


Abstract: Tiger City is a feature length film with actress Debra Winger and Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi that explores the impact of Salk Institute architect Louis I. Kahn upon South Asia’s built design. The film follows the creation of Kahn’ s less-known magnum opus, the National Assembly Complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh in the context of that nation’s war for independence.

Tiger City’s director, Sundaram Tagore, will be present to discuss a rough cut of the film. He is an art historian, award-winning filmmaker, and owner of the Sundaram Tagore Galleries in New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore.