From the Director's Desk

-Tula Goenka

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

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).Tula Goenka and Susan S. Wadley with visiting artist, Rani Jha

"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!