Dr. Carol Babiracki
Associate Professor, Music History and Cultures
Several themes coalesced this past year from the flurry of
activities at the South Asia Center. Some continued refrains of past years,
such as Mengia Hong Tschalaer’s talk on “Muslim Women’s Quest for Gender
Justice” in Lucknow and our symposium on gender, called “Embodied Belongings:
Exploring the Politics of ‘Queer’ in South Asia,” with a keynote by Gayatri
Reddy and readings by Vivek Shreya and Shyam Selvadurai.
Others set us on new paths, such as the pressing debates on
security issues across the India-Pakistan border. Paul Kapur’s perspective in
his fall talk, “Jihad as Grant Strategy,” and counter-perspectives that emerged
in a spring roundtable on “Nuclear South Asia at 20” began a dialogue among
students and faculty that we intend to carry into the coming year and share
with our regional community college and Schools of Education partners.
Issues of memory and diaspora returned throughout the year
in talks by Annu Matthew on photography, memory and partition and by our new
faculty member in education, Susan Thomas, on students from India studying in
U.S. A Kashmiri widow in the powerful film Khoon Diy Baarav,
presented to us by its director Iffat Fatima, pain- fully remembers her
“disappeared” husband, saying, “The act of reminiscing is like lying on a bed
of nails.” But our annual Diwali event, this year in SU’s Sculpture Garden, was
warm and inviting, triggering nostalgia and new memories (and photos) for
students and faculty far from home.
In the coming year, we will launch a new initiative, a
multi-year, cross-disciplinary dialogue of researchers, stu- dents, activists,
and professionals around issues of sustainability in South Asia and the
diaspora. We aim to take an integrative approach, combining study of
environmental, cultural, economic, food, and health systems sustain- ability to
address the larger issue of community sustainability in South Asia. We hope you
all will join us for study sessions, talks, workshops, and symposia on
Sustainable South Asia.