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India in Leiden

On the occasion of the Leiden Asia Year 2017, Studium Generale organizes lectures which present research about India that is being conducted in Leiden.

The Buddhist tradition begins in India round about the 5th to 4th century BCE, and continues with various degrees of vibrancy until around the 13th century CE. We know something about the circumstances of the arisal of this tradition, and something about its end, but details of both remain shrouded in uncertainty. Likewise, we know something of the literature produced over the centuries by Indian Buddhists, something of the architecture and art, but it is very difficult to piece together an overall picture. Despite this challenge, the lecture will attempt an overall sketch of Indian Buddhist traditions, what we can know, and what we are less sure about.

The speaker
Jonathan Silk
, Professor of Buddhist Studies, Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), Leiden University

Time, venue, practical information

Wednesday 13 September
7:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Room 019
Lipsius Building
Cleveringaplaats 1
Leiden

All welcome!
Entrance is free.
No prior registration required.

Mujara is a North-Indian entertainment genre performed by courtesans (the ‘mujarewali’) that combines singing and dancing. The art was originally based on the classical Hindustani music tradition. Dancing girls have long been a part of Indian public life and were already mentioned in Vedic times ( 1000 B.C.). Courtesan arts flourished under royal patronage and had its heydays about 200 years ago. This splendour abruptly came to an end with the arrival of the British who despised and next stigmatised it as mere prostitution. In present day India, Mujara as a consequence is hence still severely tabooed. However, there are still small pockets of practitioners of this ancient art, powerful women who still consider themselves as heir to the mujarewali.
Jolanda Boejharat will present some of her materials that she collected during previous fieldwork trips  among the mujarewali of Safedabad and will demonstrate what this former art of seduction may have looked and sounded like.

The speaker
Drs. Jolanda Boejharat
, dance scholar, choreographer, artistic director of the Monsoon Foundation

Time, venue, practical information

Wednesday 20 September
7:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Room 019
Lipsius Building
Cleveringaplaats 1
Leiden

All welcome!
Entrance is free.
No prior registration required.

Native Nautch at Delhi

Lecture 1: The Indian Ocean World in the 18th and 19th century

Forced Journeys, Unfree Labor, Marginal Stories
Turning away from histories of territories, this lecture recounts the forced journeys of peoples from India and Sri Lanka/Ceylon across the Indian Ocean. These marginal stories of  subaltern individuals shipped and trans-shipped between the Dutch and British colonial territories  of India, Sri Lanka/Ceylon, Mauritius and the Cape in the 18th and 19th century give insights into the various forms of mobility that shaped the making of societies in the Indian Ocean world.  They also help us capture the remarkable capacity of some of these involuntary migrants to forge fragile communities, preserve practices of meaning  and resist the predation of masters and rulers. 

The speaker
Nira Wickramasinghe
, Professor of Modern South Asian Studies, LIAS, Leiden University

Lecture 2: Shadow-Lines

Re-framing Decolonization in South Asia
This talk will go back to the transitional decades of decolonization in South Asia, to rethink the meanings of freedom that accompanied anti-colonial struggle. Using visual art and aesthetics, I will try to de-center and re-frame the arrival of independence in post-colonial South Asia by foregrounding stories of displacement that accompanied the retreat of empire, and the incompleteness of decolonization that continued beyond the arrival of freedom in 1947. Pursuing ‘shadow-lines’ that lie beneath the more visible histories of 20th-century South Asia, this talk will ask how cultural imagination became and remains a site for alternative imaginations of histories and futures.

The speaker
Dr Sanjukta Sunderason
, Assistant Professor of Modern South Asian Studies, LIAS, Leiden University  

Page from People's War 17 September 1944

Time, venue, practical information

Wednesday 27 September
7:30 pm to 10:00 pm with break
Room 019
Lipsius Building
Cleveringaplaats 1
Leiden

All welcome!
Entrance is free.
No prior registration required.

Past, Present and Future

Hindu nationalism, once peripheral, has now become the mainstream as well as the ruling dispensation in India. The hegemonic rise of Hindu nationalism is seen by some as a challenge to India’s liberal, secular, plural and diverse traditions. This lecture, traversing through the evolution of Hindu nationalism and analyzing the contour of its ideology and practice, will make an attempt to anticipate the future possibilities.

The speaker
Pralay Kanungo
, Professor of Contemporary India Studies, International Institute for Asian Studies/Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, Leiden University
Discussant
To be announced

Please note the different venue (The Hague) and timings ​​​​​​for this lecture (see information below)!
This lecture is​ also part of our series 'Global Challenges'.

Time, venue, practical information

Wednesday 4 October
7:00 pm (!) to 8:30 pm
Auditorium
Leiden University College
Anna van Buerenplein 301
The Hague

For this lecture limited seats are available.
Please register in advance through our website!
A reservation link will be published soon here - keep an eye on this website!

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Changing Perspectives on Tribe in South Asia

The sociological relevance of categories such as ‘tribe’ and ‘indigeneity’ is increasingly being contested, and that certainly holds for its applicability in South Asia. It seems almost unavoidable that in South Asia a notion such as tribe (and the related adivasi) invokes a hierarchical perspective on culture. What is the political and cultural relevance of ‘tribe’ in India today, and how does it have a bearing on everyday life? Erik de Maaker will address these questions, drawing on his long-time ethnographic involvement with the Garo community of North East India.

The speaker
Dr Erik de Maaker
, Assistant Professor, Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, Leiden University

Time, venue, practical information

Wednesday 11 October
7:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Room 019
Lipsius Building
Cleveringaplaats 1
Leiden

All welcome!
Entrance is free.
No prior registration required.

A Garo Woman

Text and Temple

In this combined lecture Peter Bisschop and Elizabeth Cecil will introduce the study of religious landscapes in South Asia using ancient Sanskrit texts and the remains of temples and other important archaeological sites. The first half of the lecture will focus on a text called the Skandapurāṇa, dedicated to the mythology and ritual worship of the Hindu god Śiva. The second half will work to connect the textual and the historical landscape by sharing fieldwork done on key sites associated with this text.

The speakers
Peter Bisschop
, Professor of Sanskrit and Ancient Cultures of South Asia, LIAS, Leiden University
Dr Elizabeth Cecil, Postdoctoral Researcher in South Asian Religions and Material Culture, LIAS, Leiden University

Time, venue, practical information

Wednesday 18 October
7:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Room 019
Lipsius Building
Cleveringaplaats 1
Leiden

All welcome!
Entrance is free.
No prior registration required.

Khir