Yearly Archives: 2012

Dec 4, 2012
Aaja Nachle Hawaii – Hawaii’s own Bollywood/Bhangra dance troupe

Aaja Nachle! is Hawaii’s only Bollywood/bhangra dance troupe.We offer authentic and high-energy performances that would be sure to fire up a crowd for any occasion such as Indian or Bollywood-themed events, cultural programs, and weddings; we also offer consultation in planning these events, particularly on encouraging audience participation in the dance. We are passionate about everyone getting to experience the sheer bliss and excitement of this dance form and thus wish to create a creative space in the community through classes and informal dance events for anyone to come and learn what we know and enrich the group with their own talents. Balle balle!

For more information on classes and events, you can contact them at:

 or like their Facebook page, Aaja Nachle Hawaii!!

Oct 29, 2012
30th Annual Spring Symposium, “Sensing South Asia” – Call for Papers

The Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa invites paper and panel proposals on aspects related to its 30th Annual Spring Symposium

“Sensing South Asia”

Conference Dates: April 17-19, 2013, in Honolulu, Hawai’i

Deadline to submit proposals: January 15th, 2013

What happens when we approach social and natural worlds, the body, and affect through the senses?  How do disciplinary and interdisciplinary understandings of South Asia change if we consider that what and how we feel, hear, taste, smell, touch, see, and intuit are culturally and historically mediated?  The symposium invites scholars, artists, and practitioners to engage with the senses as portals to time, place, and social, cultural, and natural processes in South Asia.  We are particularly interested in research grounded in sensory relations and intersensory modalities that can generate new questions for various disciplines.  In this symposium, we want to explore what South Asian societies — and their histories, philosophies, everyday rituals and practices, and political economies — can offer to emerging theories and methods in sensory studies.  Participants are encouraged to perform or use new media as part of their presentations.

 The presentations could cover topics and themes such as:

  • Tactile, olfactory, and aural worlds; noise
  • Senses and the everyday
  • Sensory deprivation and overload
  • Sensory illusions

And, sensory aspects of:

  •  Caste
  • Asceticism
  • Ecstasy
  • Anxiety, pain, and trauma
  • Memory
  • Diasporas and belonging
  • Medicine and healing
  • Production and consumption
  • Technology, film-making, and marketing
  • Space, architecture, and design
  • Colonialism
  • National imaginaries, partition, war, civil unrest, displacement

Our panels will be anchored by keynotes delivered by the following distinguished scholars:

Robert Desjarlais, Anthropology, Sarah Lawrence College, and author of Sensory Biographies: Lives and Deaths among Nepal’s Yolmo Buddhists (University of California, 2003).  He is completing another book entitled, “Subject to Death: Life, Loss, and Mourning among Nepal’s Yolmo Buddhists.”

Uttara Asha Coorlawala, Dance, Ailey School and Barnard College, and is author of “It matters for whom you dance” in Dance Matters: Performing India on Local and Global Stages (Routledge, 2010).  She has published numerous journal articles theorizing embodiment, performance and experience in relation to culture. 

Nayanika Mookherjee, Anthropology, Durham University, author of The Spectral Wound: Sexual Violence and Public Memories and the Bangladesh War of 1971 (Duke University Press, Forthcoming).  She has published extensively in edited collections and in journals on the anthropology of violence, memory, the state and nation, ethics, and aesthetics.

Please send 200-word abstracts for individual papers by email to If proposing an entire panel, please also include a paragraph-length rationale and a proposed title for the panel. A limited amount of free lodging will be available to participants.

Oct 1, 2012
Call For Applications – The J.Watumull Scholarship for the Study of India

Application Deadline: November 10, 2012

The J. Watumull Scholarship for the Study of India provides support for University of Hawai`i undergraduate or graduate students who want to study in India. Applicants must be U.S. citizens who will be doing advanced study or research in a pre-approved program of study relating to their degree at a reputable Indian institution.  The CSAS will be awarding one more J. Watumull scholarship of up to $5,000 to a student who wishes to learn about the culture and history of India and its people. The minimum length of study in India will be for two months. The award must be used for Spring 2013 and Summer 2013 travel. Students from across the UH System are eligible to apply for support.  Recipients must submit a written report of their experience and research objectives accomplished upon their return.

Application and more information available at:

Applicants are encouraged to contact the for questions regarding the application process.

Sep 6, 2012
Two New Books by CSAS Faculty

Professor of English, Subramanian Shankar, has published Flesh and Fish Blood:  Postcolonialism, Translation, and the Vernacular (University of California Press). 


In Flesh and Fish Blood Subramanian Shankar breaks new ground in postcolonial studies by exploring the rich potential of vernacular literary expressions. Shankar pushes beyond the postcolonial Anglophone canon and works with Indian literature and film in English, Tamil, and Hindi to present one of the first extended explorations of representations of caste, including a critical consideration of Tamil Dalit (so-called untouchable) literature. Shankar shows how these vernacular materials are often unexpectedly politically progressive and feminist, and provides insight on these oft-overlooked–but nonetheless sophisticated–South Asian cultural spaces. With its calls for renewed attention to translation issues and comparative methods in uncovering disregarded aspects of postcolonial societies, and provocative remarks on humanism and cosmopolitanism, Flesh and Fish Blood opens up new horizons of theoretical possibility for postcolonial studies and cultural analysis.   

In Geography, Associate Professor of Geography, Reece Jones, has published Border Walls: Security and the War on Terror in the United States, India and Israel (Zed Books).  

Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, why are leading democracies like the United States, India, and Israel building massive walls and fences on their borders? Despite predictions of a borderless world through globalization, these three countries alone have built an astonishing combined total of 5,700 kilometers of security barriers. In this groundbreaking work, Reece Jones analyzes how these controversial border security projects were justified in their respective countries, what consequences these physical barriers have on the lives of those living in these newly securitized spaces, and what long-term effects the hardening of political borders will have in these societies and globally.

Border Walls is a bold, important intervention that demonstrates that the exclusion and violence necessary to secure the borders of the modern state often undermine the very ideals of freedom and democracy they are meant to protect.

Winners of the J. Watumull scholarship 2012

Two of the J. Watumull Study in India scholarships went to Christopher de Venecia and Joshua Mandelstam. 

Christopher de Venecia is a Masters student at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.  His research interests focus on environmental planning, communtiy-based economic development, and natural resource management.  His J. Watumull scholarship allows him to conduct research this summer and fall on waste-to energy power plants in Assam for his masters thesis. 

Joshua Mandelstam is Ph.D. Candidate in Philosophy. His J. Watumull scholarship allows him to examine Gandhi’s writings in the archives at the Sabarmati ashram and through this research, aim to get a deeper understanding of Gandhi’s action, context, and how by acting in accordance with a larger self, his interactions with others changed. This research will aid his PhD dissertation, the topic of which is how one’s conception of ‘self’ influences one’s moral attitudes and actions generally.

Topic: "We are all Sikhs": The Oak Creek shooting, and what it means for South Asians in the United States
Featured Author: Monisha Das Gupta

Sep 3, 2012 | 3 Comments

Monisha Das Gupta is the director of the Center for South Asian Studies, and associate professor of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. She is the author of Unruly Immigrants: Rights, Activism, and Transnational South Asian Politics (Duke University press, 2006), and has written about the post-9/11 racial landscape, and its impact on South Asians.  The essay, “Of Hardship and Hostility” in Wounded City: The Social Impact of 9/11 edited by Nancy Foner (Russell Sage Foundation, 2005) documents the violence directed at South Asian and Middle Eastern yellow cab drivers in New York City.

Aug 27, 2012
Reece Jones’ Op-Ed in The New York Times

Please read Professor Jones’ Op-Ed published today in The New York Times titled “Something There Is That Doesn’t Love a Wall” Continue reading

Topic: Power Games: Why people in Tamil Nadu are protesting nuclear energy
Featured Author: S.P. Udayakumar

May 19, 2012 | 1 Comment

S.P. Udayakumar is a member of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy and the National Alliance of Anti-Nuclear Movements.  He is one of the leaders of the non-violent protests against the Koodankulam nuclear power project in Tamil Nadu.  He got his doctoral degree from the Political Science Department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 1996.  He is the author of Presenting the Past: Anxious History and Ancient Future in Hindutva India (Praeger 2005) and Handcuffed to History: Narratives, Pathologies, and Violence in South Asia (Praeger 2001).  See “UH alum S.P. Udayakumar leads anti-nuclear movement in India.”

Apr 25, 2012
Announcing 2012 J. Watumull Scholarship for the Study of India

The Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa is pleased to announce the

J. Watumull Scholarship for the Study of India

The J. Watumull Scholarship for the Study of India will provide support for University of Hawai`i undergraduate or graduate  students who want to study in India. Scholarships of up to $5,000 each will be awarded to students who wish to learn about the culture and history of India and its people. The minimum length of study in India will be for two months. Students from across the UH System, at both the graduate and undergraduate level, are eligible to apply for support.

Application materials are attached or available for download at:

Application Deadline: May 11, 2012

Apr 24, 2012
Study Hindi-Urdu at UH!

Why study South Asia?

South Asia is one of the most diverse regions in the world. It includes India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. The region embraces ancient civilizations and modern technology, tall Himalayas and tropical beaches, people of most world religions, more than 400 languages, and literature, music, art, dance, philosophy, and food that have evolved for centuries. Whether you became interested in South Asia through yoga, Bollywood, or chicken curry, the more you learn about it, the more it amazes you, the more it challenges you.

Why study Hindi-Urdu?

  • Hindi and Urdu have two bodies and one mind!
  • Hindi derives from Sanskrit, uses Sanskrit (Devanagari) script, and relies on Sanskrit vocabulary; Urdu uses Persian (Nastaliq) script and is influenced by Persian-Arabic vocabulary.
  • Yet the two are completely mutually intelligible in everyday spoken usage, linguistically inseparable, and are in fact one language in structure and grammar.
  • So Hindi-Urdu as one opens doors towards South Asia, South-East Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East and embodies their cultural and linguistic symbiosis.
  • Hindi-Urdu is the third most commonly spoken language in the world today.
  • As South Asia is becoming increasingly influential on the global political, economic, and cultural scene, Hindi-Urdu proficiency is an extraordinary asset to anyone who is interested in the region for business, research, or personal reasons.
  • Even though there are numerous languages spoken in South Asia, Hindi-Urdu proves to be a common platform for effective communication.
  • It grants access to the culture and rapport with the people in a more meaningful way than the practical use of English can provide.
  • If you are studying  layers of South Asian history and society, Hinduism or Islam, incredibly rich literature and poetry, complex linguistics, or if you simply love watching Bollywood films, eating Indian food, and want to travel there one day, Hindi-Urdu is beneficial and incredible fun!

Why at UH?

  • Dr. Sai Bhatawadekar uses her own “Contextual, Cultural, and Creative” curriculum design.
  • Chapters and segments, such as “Cuisine and Cooking,” “Festivals and Ceremonies,” “Love and Bollywood,” “Travel and Tourism,” “Education and Employment,” etc. provide a coherent way to integrally tie together language and culture.
  • Bollywood inspired creative writing, directing, recitals, and performances are used at all levels as an incredibly effective and joyous tool for learning and retaining language and for connecting with the South Asian culture and community.
  • Dr. Bhatawadekar makes her curriculum flexible to students’ learning needs, cultural curiosity, and research interests.
  • Her own extensive research and practice in language pedagogy, film studies, East-West religion and philosophy, and music and theater contributes to the language learning experience.
  • 1 credit hour Urdu writing course is offered simultaneously yet separately from Hindi for interested students.
  • UH is committed to the Asia-Pacific region and to less commonly taught languages.
  • South Asian Studies are expanding in various departments across UH, including History, Religion, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Geography, Urban Planning, Music, Theater and Dance, and Business etc. The Center for South Asian Studies is committed to the cause.
  • Various scholarships, grants, and awards are available for students to study South Asia here and to travel to India to study and conduct research.
  • UH, the East-West Center, and Honolulu in general provides a closely-knit, friendly, and enthusiastic South Asian community.

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