From the Director's Desk
This last year has been a productive one for the South Asia
Center at Syracuse University, with several changes and new initiatives. A big
thank you to all who have made this possible.
On February 14, 2013 the SAC initiated SU Rising, a campus
wide call to action to stop violence against women in conjunction with Eve
Ensler’s global One Billion Rising movement. The primary impetus for the
morning panel discussion and the evening candlelight vigil was the horrific
Delhi rape case, and to address the fact that violence doesn’t only happen in
distant parts of the world, but also locally and on the SU campus specifically.
With outstanding support from the Syracuse University community, we held the SU
Rising Candlelight Vigil again on February 14, 2014 and we plan to make it an
annual event. Mark your calendars for February 14, 2015.
Over the summer, we underwent a structural change in how the
SAC is run and the administrative positions of the Associate Director and
Outreach Coordinator were merged into one position, and the Hindi-Urdu language
instructor is now filled separately. This meant the loss of Anand Dwivedi, and
we thank him for his service and wish him the best. Emera Bridger Wilson is now
the Associate Director/Outreach Coordinator since July 2013.
Professor Susan Wadley, Co-Director of the South Asia Center
edited a textbook, “South Asia in the World: An Introduction,” which is a
collection of case studies, with all but one of the contributions written by
South Asia Center faculty, students, and alumni. It was released by M.E. Sharpe
in January 2014. You can find more information about the book and additional
resources at globalsouthasia.syr.edu.
SAC was awarded the Ray Smith Symposium 2014 grant by the
College of Arts and Sciences at SU and organized “Transformations in South
Asian Folk Arts, Aesthetics, and Commodities” from Feb. 27 to March 1, 2014.
Nearly a dozen scholars and artists from around the world headlined lectures,
academic panels, workshops, and exhibitions devoted to South Asian folk art
traditions in the modern world. You can find out more about the conference on
page 3. Special focus was on Mithila art from Madhubani, Bihar, and Mithila
master artist and teacher Dr. Rani Jha visited campus for two weeks and took
part in many outreach events (see page 5).
"Transformations" incorporated various projects
from around campus, including three SUArt Galleries exhibitions that ran
January 30 to March 16, 2014: “Mithila Painting: The Evolution of an Art Form,”
organized by the Ethnic Arts Foundation (EAF); “Modern Visions, Sacred Tales,”
culled from the H. Daniel Smith Poster Archive in SU Libraries and curated by
Prof. Romita Ray, Associate Professor, Art & Music Histories; and “Featured
Artwork: Selections from The Ruth Reeves Collection of Indian Folk Art.” We
would especially like to thank Romita for helping to organize both the
conference and the “Modern Visions, Sacred Tale” and Ruth Reeves exhibitions.
We have continued to have a robust Speaker Series this year
and co-sponsored many other events, including lectures by the Venerable Bhikkhu
Bodhi, who spoke on his work to combat world hunger (September 2013); linguist
Kira Hall about her work on language and sexuality in Delhi, and Tim
Barringer’s exploration of the soundscape of the British Raj (both in March
2014). We also co-sponsored a number of cultural events including a vocal
concert and a dance recital organized by the newly founded SPIC MACAY chapter
on campus; a film screening of I Am by Indian director Onir; an exploration of
dance and embodied spirituality as part of the “If Your Heart Speaks, Listen”
screening and performance; and a performance by YaliniDream and Jendog Lonewolf
called “Above Street Level” which was a unique blend of hip hop, theater,
poetry, and dance, bringing forth stories of their respective communities--
South Asian (Sri Lankan Tamil), Indigenous (Blackfoot and Cherokee) and West
Indian (Grand Caymanian).
In addition to all of the events and activities that have
been going on this year, we have also been working, with the South Asia Program
at Cornell, on writing the proposal for the next Department of Education
National Resource Center grant cycle. In working on the proposal, we are
reminded of the amazing work that our faculty and students do and we are
excited about the possibilities for the next four years!