UCR Department of Dance and South Asia Research Initiative 

Deconstructing South Asia

An Inaugural Interdisciplinary Workshop Interrogating South Asia 

Coordinated by:
Samarth Singhal, Ph.D. Student, Department of English, UCR
Preethi Ramaprasad, Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies, Department of Dance, UCR
Sinjini Chatterjee, Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies, Department of Dance, UCR

South Asia Research Initiative (SARI) is constituted by UCR graduate students in the Departments of Dance, English, and Ethnic Studies who work on South Asia/ South Asian American Literary and Cultural Studies. This event is the inauguration of SARI through which we aim to bring multifarious concerns to the fore, especially as we negotiate our own relationship to South Asia. While we currently study in U.S. institutions, some of us are international students and others are American citizens. Outside of the dictates of such categories, we harbor joyful and complicated relationships to the many places we might call home. For us, a conversation on South Asia is not only open ended and embedded in social redistribution but is incomplete without a consideration of what it means to come together under identities like South Asian, Caribbean, or South Asian American and terms like ‘diaspora’. 

APRIL 15-16, 2021
ONLINE - Free and open to the public

• Download the poster here


PART I - Keynote address: South Asia Across Space and Time

APRIL 15, Thursday, 9:00 – 10:30 AM  in Pacific Time (US and Canada)
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Dr. Ruhi Khan, Associate Professor, Department of Media and Cultural Studies, UCR
speaks on Nostalgia and Empire in Neoliberal India.
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Dr. Matthew King, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, UCR
speaks on the discovery of Faxian's fifth-century Foguoji (Record of Buddhist Kingdoms) in Europe and Inner Asia (Siberia, Mongolia, and Tibet) in the 19th century.
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Participation in the writing workshop will be extended to graduate students across UCR working on South Asia and South Asian American cultures.


PART II - Innovation Within Tradition (A Performance/Lecture Demonstration)
Lecture demonstrations by Rohini Banerjee and Kankana Singh, notable performers from India.

APRIL 15, Thursday, 6:00 – 8:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)
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Rohini Banerjee leads her audience through new movements in Odissi, the politics of costuming, and performances on traditional texts.
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Kankana Singh leads her audience through performance of gender in Manipuri dance, costuming and the gender-politcs of playing 'pung'. 
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PART III - Roundtable: Choreographing South Asia 

APRIL 16, Friday, 5:00 – 7:00 PM  in Pacific Time (US and Canada)
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Dr. Anil Deolalikar, Founding Dean of the School of Public Policy, Professor of Economics, UCR
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Dr. Anusha Kedhar, Assistant Professor, Department of Dance, UCR
speaks on caste and gender politics in performance of eroticism in Bharatanatyam Love songs (padams)
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Dr. Jonathan Eacott, Associate Professor, Department of History, UCR
speaks on movement of Asian elephants, as bodies transported and as bodies themselves in motion, played an important role in circuits of knowledge, imperial exploitation, and racial constructions spanning from Asia to Britain to America.
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PART IV - Performance/Lecture Demonstration by Dr. Yashoda Thakore 
In conjunction with When Eyes Speak, San Francisco 

APRIL 16, Friday, 7:00 PM  in Pacific Time (US and Canada)
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Dr. Thakore leads her audience through a performance and discussion on her hereditary dance Kalavantulu dance practice. 
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Information: Sinjini Chatterjee, schat024@ucr.edu

Support for UCR South Asia Research Initiative: Deconstructing South Asia is provided by the UC Riverside Departments of Dance, English, Creative Writing, Ethnic Studies, Religious Studies, the Center for Ideas and Society and the Asian Studies Program.

Poster design: Preethi Ramaprasad and Sinjini Chatterjee 

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