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Sixth South Asia Graduate Student Conference: Foundations for the Study of South Asia

"Roundtable: On the Usefulness of the Concept of the Modern"

April 17, 2009

A round-table panel discussion with Steven Collins (University of Chicago), Wendy Doniger (Divinity School, University of Chicago), and Sanjay Subrahmanyam (UCLA).

What are the foundational categories that shape research on South Asia? How do such seemingly basic categories such as Space, Time, Person, Thing, Knowledge, Action and Representation, concepts more often assumed than interrogated, inflect and inform our scholarship? The conference focuses on such basic categories to bring into view the analytical axes that orient us to our materials. The conference brought together a broad cross-section of scholars, working on ancient, medieval, early modern and modern topics, from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, for more broad-based discussions of the study of South Asia under the long shadow of Modernity.

Steven Collins is the Chester D. Tripp Professor in the Humanities, Department of South Asian Languages & Civilizations, and the College at the University of Chicago. He specializes in social and cultural history of Buddhism in premodern and modern South and Southeast Asia; Pali language and literature. His current research interests include gender in the civilizational history of Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia, and Pali Buddhist accounts of madness.

Wendy Doniger is the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions in the Divinity School; also in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, the Committee on Social Thought, and the College. Her research and teaching interests revolve around Hinduism and mythology.

Sanjay Subrahmanyam is Navin and Pratima Doshi Chair of Indian History at UCLA. He specializes and teaches courses on medieval and early modern South Asian and Indian Ocean history, the history of European expansion, the comparative history of early modern empires, and world history.

Cosponsored by the University of Chicago South Asia Language & Area Center and Committee on Southern Asian Studies and the Center for International Studies.