From the Director's Desk - 2013

-Tula Goenka

Life is circular and to say that we are all connected seems like a trite way to begin a welcome letter, but it has proven true in my case. As I write this, I am struck by one simple fact—if I had not met Susan Wadley, my Co-Director of the South Asia Center, in 1999, my life would not be what it is today.

Thanks to Sue, I attended nearly every event of the Spring 2000 Speakers Series and it inspired me to begin my own research on Indian cinema which has resulted in my regularly teaching a course on the subject, taking my filmmaking students to “Bollywood” for month-long internships, and a soon-to-be published book of conversations with Indian film directors. The Syracuse University Human Rights Film Festival, which just completed its 10th anniversary in Fall 2012, began as the South Asia Human Rights Film Festival in 2003 under the aegis of SAC. The documentary on Mithila Art that Sue and I are currently editing came from our collaboration over the years on other projects and committees. Most importantly, SAC has given me a sense of belonging and community and I have met some of my closest friends through it. I am extremely honored and grateful to be SAC’s current Director and to finally have a chance to give back in some small way. My sincere hope is that I can now help students, faculty and the community as much it has helped me.

A lot is going on at the South Asia Center. We are now a member of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies and the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies, and we continue to be a member institution of the American Institute of Indian Studies, which strengthens our academic involvement in South Asia. We have also increased some of our study abroad options and you can read about them on page 6.Left to right - Sue Wadley, Tula Goenkaa, Dulari Devi and Parmeshwar Jha in Madhubani, Bihar

We continue to offer Hindi-Urdu at Syracuse University during the academic year. In addition to our academic year students, in Summer 2012, we had two students study Hindi in Jaipur, two at SASLI in Madison and one at Harvard.

This Fall, we hosted a successful Speakers Series with a wide range of topics: the changing role of devadasis on the border of Karnataka and Maharashtra, the history of Marxism in West Bengal, India’s role as a political power in Asia, and Pakistani Cinema in the 1960s and ‘70s, to name a few. Our Spring 2013 line-up is equally dynamic and you can find out more details on page 11. In February 2013, we will hold the NESSA Conference on Indian-Occupied Kashmir and in April, we will co-host a conference at Cornell titled Agrarian Crisis in India? More details are on page 3.

You will also find a newly designed website if you search for us on the Internet. And keeping up with the times, we have increased our presence on social media, so look out for us on Facebook ( and Twitter (@SouthAsiaSU).

On behalf of the South Asia Center staff, I wish you all the best in the coming year.