Dr. Anne Murphy & Dr. Sara Shneiderman
It is an honour for us to share the position of Director of the Centre, taking up the mantle carried in past years by scholars and administrators such as Professors John Wood, Ashok Kotwal, and Mandakranta Bose. Our respective home departments are Asian Studies and Anthropology / the new School of Public Policy & Global Affairs (where the Institute of Asian Research is now housed), and we share a wide range of interests in language, literature, cultural heritage, political transformation, and development across the entire South Asian region, as well as its diasporas. Over the coming years, we look forward to working with the UBC community of students and faculty who engage with South Asia in all its diversity, across disciplines and faculties. We also hope to connect with the broader public through a range of community-engaged initiatives.
As we look back at the prior year’s activities, we are struck by the multifaceted nature of UBC’s engagement with South Asia. It is grounded in research, as the numerous scholarly presentations and discussions described in this Reportattest. It is simultaneously grounded in larger community networks, as highlighted by the “South Asia Showcase” celebration of Sri Lankan cultures; the talk by Dr. Anand Teltumbde on “Understanding Caste and Class in Contemporary India” (supported through a partnership with the Hari Sharma Foundation and the Chetna Association of Canada); the talk by Professor Diwakar Acharya hosted in collaboration with the UBC Himalaya Program; and the art exhibition “Mending Cracks” by CISAR Research Associate Raghavendra Rao, with an opening event held in association with the launch of the Canada 150 project “Canada at 150+: Trauma, Memory and the Story of Canada,” founded by the South Asian Canadian Histories Association. The Centre will continue to support this exciting project in the coming year. Scholarship and community engagement in this way are intimately tied, and we look forward to further developing connections with diverse organizations and UBC units during our co-directorship of CISAR.
2017-18, too, will be an exciting year. CISAR will host the South Asia Conference for the Pacific Northwest (SACPAN) from March 1-3, 2018, with additional support from the Department of Asian Studies. The Conference will bring together scholars and students from the US and Canada to explore South Asia across disciplines. On November 2 the Centre will co-host Dr. Vivek Kumar of Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) with the Department of Asian Studies and The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhism and Contemporary Society to launch the new Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Memorial Lecture, which has been made possible by a partnership with the Chetna Association of Canada, the Dr. Hari Sharma Foundation, and the SFU Institute of Humanities. Prior to that, on October 5, political scientist Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed will join us to commemorate the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, in recognition of its 70th anniversary. Both lectures will take place within the Centre’s year-long Colloquium Series on regularly scheduled Thursdays at 4pm, which brings together scholars and students from across the University and beyond. We look forward to working as our colleagues have done in the past: to promote scholarly engagement with South Asia among diverse audiences, to further research about South Asia at UBC, and to develop partnerships with community organizations and academic institutions in Canada, South Asia, and beyond.