Center for South Asian Studies | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa


Mar 16, 2015
On the ban of BBC Documentary ‘India’s Daughter’

India’s Daughter is a BBC documentary that was recently banned by the Government of India. The documentary (based on the rape and murder of Jyothi Singh Pandey in New Delhi, India on 16th December) interviews both the perpetrator of the crime as well as Jyothi’s parents. The video was posted on Youtube earlier this month and has since then gone viral. The content and message of the film have sparked controversy. Such debates are significant, especially because we are once again confronted with how to tackle the issues around women’s safety, agency, and bodily integrity when women occupy and transverse public spaces.

Click here to read the perspective from CSAS Faculty S. Shankar on his blog: “Full Spectrum Sexism: India’s Problem Isn’t Just Rape”

Please to refer to the post by Anchita Ghatak in our Forum on this issue: “Violence Against Women and Girls: Will the death penalty solve the problem?”

Check out the following articles with some other perspectives on the documentary:

An Anti-Rape Activist is Disturbed by India’s Daughter: Interview with leading Indian feminist Kavita Krishnan

“Silencing India’s Daughter” by Andre Denhoed in The New Yorker

Mar 4, 2015
March 18-20: 2015 SPAS Graduate Student Conference, “Against the Current: Transforming Perspectives and Thought in Asia,” Center for Korean Studies

Click here for the flyer.

SPAS Conference 2015 GOOD


For more information, visit the website: 

Feb 26, 2015
Audio Clip from PhD Student Anjoli Roy’s Talk: “Finding Family in the Archives”


Can be heard here: 

This event was in collaboration with the Center for Biographical Research, for:


By Anjoli Roy, PhD Student, Department of English 

February 5th, 12 – 1:15 pm, Henke Hall 325


Kalinath (Anjoli’s great grandfather) and Anjoli’s dad in 1942/1943 India

When he was arrested in 1919 four days after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre for what the British government called “seditious writings,” freedom fighter and English-language journalist Kalinath Ray became a symbol of the free press in India. Gandhi took up the movement for Kalinath Ray’s release, and a tide in India turned from striving to achieve equality within the British Empire to the call for civil disobedience on the road to independence. For two months in summer 2014, I traveled in India to recover the stories of Kalinath Ray’s’s legacy and to reconnect with family I hadn’t seen in nearly twenty years. After working in archives in Delhi and Chandigarh and spending rainy hours with family in Kolkata, I returned to Hawai‘i with some answers about Kalinath Ray, stories about so many of my other family members whom I never knew, and many more questions that push me to consider how to take care of these stories, what forms they belong to, and how I, as no scholar of South Asian history, can continue to buoy them for and with my family in India and the U.S.

Feb 24, 2015
Bridget Moe, the last link in a sublime musical loop between Hawaii and India, passes away
Feb 11, 2015 · 08:26 pm

On Wednesday night, Penina Partsch posted an item on Facebook announcing the death of her grandmother, Bridget Moe in Houston, Texas. This photo shows Partsch and Moe in 2011, as they were preparing for the older woman’s 85th birthday. Partsch had cooked up an enormous meal, made elaborate decorations and and edited a slide show about her Nani’s amazing life. And what an eventful life it had been. Bridget Moe, born Bridget Althea Ensell to an Anglo-Indian family in Calcutta, was the last living link in an unlikely cultural loop that connects India to the South Pacific islands, a connection that has enriched Indian music immensely.

This loop was strengthened immeasurably in 1929, when a Samoan guitar player named Tau Moe, who had grown up in Hawaii, stopped by in Calcutta for the first time. He would return a decade later, and stay much longer. Moe was a master of the Hawaiian guitar, which is placed horizontally, often across the musician’s lap. The strings are plucked with one hand, as with conventional guitars. But instead of picking out chords with the other hand, Hawaiian guitar players change pitch by sliding metal or glass bars across the strings, giving the instruments its distinctive sound. The slides are sometimes called “steels”, which is why Hawaiian guitars are also called steel guitars.

Tau Moe – or Papa Tau, as he was known – started his musical career as a schoolboy, playing at a stage show in Honolulu for passengers who had stepped off their cruise ships. In 1927, when he was 19, he met his future wife, Rose, at a steel guitar class. Later that year, they joined a music troupe that had been hired to do a South Pacific musical show in the Philippines, setting off on a voyage that would keep them away from Hawaii for 60 years.

Over the next few years, they played Hawaiian music in Japan and China. They even did a stint at the Taj in Bombay in the 1930s before heading to Berlin, where they met Hitler at a fundraiser for orphans. The 1940s found them back in India and they spent almost all of the Second World War in Calcutta, playing at the Grand Hotel. “We played Glenn Miller arrangements (or my own) but always included Hawaiian music,” Moe told one interviewer. “We would do a session of jazz band music, then some classical music, then a Hawaiian session with me on steel guitar.”

The couple’s son, Lani, who had been born in Kyoto, choreographed the shows, in addition to singing and dancing with the band. Their daughter, Dorian, was born in Calcutta in 1946 during a burst of intense Hindu-Muslim rioting. The Moe family would later start performing as the Aloha Four.

At some point during his stay in India, Moe met Mahatma Gandhi. “He was a very highly educated man and I enjoyed the 35 minutes were spent talking to him,” Moe told one interviewer. The musician thought that Gandhi’s dhoti was similar to the lava-lava worn by Pacific Islanders, but told the political leader that it was unusual to see the garment tucked between the legs. “He laughed and said, ‘Well, I am better off than you Polynesian people who walk about without shirts,’” recalled Moe.

During Tau Moe’s stay in India between 1941 and 1947, he taught several Indians how to play the steel guitar, most notably an Anglo-Indian musician named Garney Nyss. Nyss would later form a band called the Aloha Boys and would go on to cut more than 60 records. In the 1950s, the Hawaiian guitar became a familiar sound in Hindi film tunes. Tau Moe died only in 2004 and continued to perform until late in his life. Here’s a record he made in Calcutta in 1943 with the African-American pianist Frank Shriver, who went by the stage name Dr Jazz. Lani Moe is among the vocalists.

Paducah by naresh.fernandes

The Aloha Boys.

Though Tau Moe was the most influential steel guitar player in India, he wasn’t the first to bring Hawaiian music to India. In 1922, a seven-member group named Ernest Ka’ai and his Royal Hawaiian Troubadours presented a show called A Night in Honolulu at the Excelsior Theatre, performing hula hula dances wearing yellow wreaths. They came several times over the next few years. By the time they returned in 1928, The Times reported, “Bombay has many lovers of Hawaiian music and there is for these, and indeed for anyone who loves good music and singing and dancing, a treat in store when Mr Ka’ai’s Troubadours open in Bombay on November 30.”

Everyone seems to need someone to exoticise. Somehow 1930s India, the country others saw as a place of snake charmers and opulent maharajas, chose to be captivated by women in grass skirts swaying under fake palm trees. In 1930, a group called the Royal Samoans visited Bombay. The correspondent of The Times of India was bowled over by the spectacle they put on at the Empire Theatre. “The dress (what there is of it) of both men and women reminded one of the pictures of the ancient Egyptians,” the paper wrote. “They are unlike anything India has seen before.”

Bombay seemed to be fascinated by the South Seas. The next year, one Mrs Hayes of Jasmine House on Convent Street in the Fort was offering Hawaiian guitar lessons at Rs 30 for four classes a month. Furtado’s music store, meanwhile, was offering Hawaiian guitars – “sweet toned and good finish”, their ad promised – for Rs 28. The price included a canvas case. In 1932, at a fundraiser at Bandra’s St Andrew’s School, right down the street from where I live, the repertoire included “an excellent replica of Honolulu’s coy maidens dancing the hula hula, enlivened by song”, said the Times.

Back in Calcutta, Tau Moe had by the 1940s been joined by two of his cousins: Pulu and Tauivi Moe. Tauivi Moe began to perform at the 300 Club, where he met a young Anglo-Indian singer named Bridget Ensell. They were married when she was still in her early teens, though, her granddaughter Penina said that they didn’t start living together until she was 18. In 1944, Tauivi Moe’s  husband introduced her to the African-American pianist Teddy Weatherford. Evidently, Weatherford’s band at the Grand Hotel was receiving mixed reviews at the time, mainly because his singer wasn’t up to scratch. Tuivi Moe told the pianist to “try out his wife” because she had “a lovely voice”. It was a fit and she ended up making a couple of records with the Weatherford bandin addition to singing with them at the Grand.

Tauivi and Bridget Moe headed for Samoa in 1949 and moved to Hawaii in 1956. Neither of them sang professionally after that. Tuivi Moe became a masseur at the YMCA, while his wife became a manager at a shop called India Imports. When their daughter, who was living in Houston, was expecting her first child in 1977, the couple moved to Texas and ended up staying.  Tauivi Moe died in 1980.

Though I’d read a little about their famous cousin, I discovered the story of Tauivi and Bridget Moe only three years ago, when their granddaughter Penina Partsch wrote to my friend Suresh Chandvankar of the Society of Indian Record Collectors wanting to know if he had any of the records he grandmother had cut with Teddy Weatherford. If Bridget Moe had actually put any copies of the records in her baggage when she left Calcutta, they’d long been lost.

Chandvankar passed the message on to me – and as it turns out, I did have one track. I mailed Partsch Ice Cold Katie. The next morning, I had a message in my inbox. “You can imagine my excitement when I receive emails about the Ice Cold Kate track!” Partsch wrote. “I am still reeling from the shock. I played it for my sister living in Hawaii (who is incredibly homesick as it is) and she cried and cried.”

Ice cold katie by naresh fernandes

Here’s a grainy amateur video of a performance by the Tau Moe family.

We welcome your comments at

Jan 28, 2015
‘The many crickets of an Indian boyhood’ by Sankaran Krishna

JANUARY 27, 2015 – Originally Posted and Published on ESPNcricinfo

The many crickets of an Indian boyhood

Sankaran Krishna 

Tennis-ball cricket: ubiquitous in school yards, playgrounds and maidans across India  © PA Photos


One of the joys of growing up in the India of the 1960s and ’70s was the multiple forms of cricket played all around you. There was tennis-ball cricket, cork-ball cricket, French cricket, cricket played on matting wickets, turf cricket with a proper cricket ball, and a host of other forms – some of them possibly unique to India and owing to what one might call our context of scarcity and surplus of imagination. I’d like to ruminate on some of these forms and the special skills they necessitated and developed. 

Tennis-ball cricket (though sometimes the ball in question was nothing more than a lowly rubber ball) was the predominant form in most playgrounds and schoolyards, especially among the younger lot. Given the sheer surfeit of players and the need to rotate strike as quickly as possible (everyone fancied himself a bastman, of course) you were out caught even after the first bounce. Batsmen – the good ones at any rate – rapidly figured out the virtues of playing with soft hands, placing the ball into gaps, and using their wrists to control the trajectory of the ball. You could hit the tennis ball a long way if you had the elusive kinaesthetic skill of timing and always hit with the wind and never into it.  

As I heard foreign commentators rhapsodise on the wristiness of Indian batters like Azhar or Laxman or Vishy, I’ve often sent a silent thank you to those days of one-bounce tennis ball cricket that is probably to credit for overdeveloping those skills. As a bowler in tennis-ball cricket you quickly realised your best bet was to perfect the length and vary the pace ever so slightly. With all the tennis-ball cricket played by the youth of India, we should have been churning out metronomic bowlers in the Glenn McGrath mould. 

The cork ball was the poor boy’s cricket ball. It lasted forever and had the hardness of the real thing. On dusty playground tracks it offered bounce, and you could bowl both fast and spin with it. There was something funny about the cork ball’s bounce: upon first hitting the ground it slowed down and sort of stood up, but after the second bounce it accelerated rapidly. As a fielder this meant you either stopped it right after the first bounce (or caught it before, of course) or you were in for a futile chase to the boundary as the cussed thing picked up speed with each bounce. As a batman, if you timed your shot well off the middle, the bounciness of cork ensured that you could hit it a long way. If you were a bowler, again length became your best weapon. Short balls, even by the faster bowlers, stood up and waited to be clobbered. The roughness of the cork ball offered spinners a lot – sometimes too much, as it were – making length crucial once again. 

When you had no stumps, not even a wall on which to draw them with charcoal, and a postage stamp of a field, French cricket was your best bet. I have often wondered if this form of cricket is played anywhere at all outside India, and how it came by its strange name. Your legs are the stumps and if the ball hits you below the knees you are out. In some variants, the batsman cannot move his feet and has to dexterously play the ball behind his back even, when needed. Once you struck the ball away – and keeping it well away from you was the secret to success in the game – you scored runs by circling the bat around your midriff, with each circle counting as a run, until the next “delivery” came at you. This version required the least equipment of all (a bat and ball would suffice), and I remember school days where the hard clipboard on which we placed our exam answer papers served as bat and a balled-up wad of paper was the ball. 

My first encounter with a matting wicket and a real leather cricket ball was also my education about the chasm that separated all other forms of cricket from the real thing, and the boys from the men. Possibly because of the mat itself, suddenly the distance between the bowler and batsman seemed to have shrunk greatly. Matting wickets offered pace and true bounce (especially if the turf below was hard and well-swept) and you had to judge the length instantly. Batsmen who could hook, pull and cut – all shots played above the waist – thrived on matting wickets, and physical courage was indispensable. It was a delight for bowlers too: the coir offered turn for the spinners, movement off the seam for faster bowlers, and bounce for everyone. And you could bowl a genuine bouncer – as distinct from a half-tracker that floated over the batter’s head. 

As I watch incredibly talented batsmen like Suresh Raina struggle against the short ball on fast and bouncy pitches, I’ve wondered if early exposure to a turf wicket, especially in India, isn’t a tad underrated. A stint on coir matting might be the answer to Raina’s woes. In fact, what if we required about half our domestic matches to be played on matting wickets? It would give our faster bowlers responsive tracks and teach them the virtues of bowling the right length, our batters a chance to get used to the short and sharp stuff, and even our fielders some much needed deep-slip catching practice. It would certainly better simulate conditions in Australia or England than bowling machines or throwdowns can. And it may even help India accomplish something that seems more distant than ever – win a Test series down under or in South Africa. 

Sankaran Krishna is a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, in Honolulu

Jan 27, 2015
Call for Applications: Sharma Memorial Scholarship for graduate studies on South Asia


Application Deadline: Feb 16, 2015

We are pleased to announce a call for applications for the Jagdish P. Sharma Memorial Scholarship to support graduate students who have a focus on South Asia. Now in its fourth year, the annual scholarship will award each recipient up to $5000–half delivered at the opening of each semester. A maximum of $10,000 is available for the upcoming academic year, Fall 2015 to Spring 2016. To date, a total of $30,000 has been awarded to seven graduate students.

The prospective recipient should be a graduate student enrolled in the College of Arts & Sciences at UH and pursuing studies of or about the South Asia region and its people. The criteria for the scholarship includes: 1) Statement of commitment to South Asian studies; 2) Academic merit as determined by the selection committee; and 3) Letter of recommendation from an academic faculty member.

More information and the electronic application for the scholarship – administered by the Department of History – can be found through the UH STAR system. If prospective applicants have questions, or wish to submit an application directly, they can contact the scholarship administrator, Prof. Ned Bertz at

For more about Dr. Jagdish Sharma and this scholarship, please see the following article: JPS scholarship

Many thanks especially to the Sharma family for their continuing generosity.

Jan 26, 2015
EWC Exhibition: Mountain Minorities: Tamang and Rai Cultures of Nepal
Upcoming Exhibition Announcement
Mountain Minorities:
Tamang and Rai Cultures of Nepal
January 25 – May 10, 2015
East-West Center Gallery
Presented by the East-West Center Arts Program, in cooperation with The Nepal Foundation
Nepal, high in the Himalayas and the birthplace of the Buddha, is a crossroads between India and China. This small landlocked country is home to a great diversity of peoples, languages, flora, and fauna. Nepal has a population of more than 26 million people, made up of over 80 different ethnic communities. Although people often think of the Sherpas guiding trekkers and mountain climbers up to the Everest base camp, there are many lesser known communities living in the lower ranges of the mountains. These are very isolated communities who are often very poor, and have unique ritual practices, clothing, weavings, paintings, and utensils, many of which are on display. This exhibition will focus on two communities: the Tamang and the Rai peoples. In addition, on display are over 50 photographs by two Nepali artists, and thankas by the renowned painter, Hira Lama.
Curator: Michael Schuster
Installation: Lynne Najita
Photographers: Navesh Chitrakar and Uday Karmacharya
Research Assistance: Mary Carroll, Yadav Rai,Mohan Lama, Rabin Lama, Enuka Lama, Shulang Zou, Suresh Tamang, Society of Nepalese in Hawai‘i (SNEHA)
This exhibition is made possible by generous support from Aston Hotels & Resorts.
EWC Arts Programs are supported by the Hawai‘i Pacific Rim Society, Friends of Hawai‘i Charities, Jackie Chan Foundation USA, Richard H. Cox, EWC Arts ‘Ohana members, and other generous donors.
Click here to download the exhibition handout.
Special Events in the EWC Gallery with free admission, unless otherwise noted.
Sunday, January 25, 2:00–3:30 p.m.
Exhibition Gala Opening including reception and traditional folk dance and music by the Society of Nepalese in Hawai‘i (SNEHA)
Sunday, February 15, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk: “Love, Indigenous Culture, and the Village in Nepali Music”
Anna Stirr, Assistant Professor, UHM Dept. of Asian Studies
Sunday, February 22, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk: “The Tamang: Mountain Indigenous Community”
Suresh Tamang, President, Society of Nepalese in Hawai‘i
Sunday, March 1, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk: “Release from Poverty: A Nepal Community’s Inspiring Story”
Mary Carroll, Chair, The Nepal Foundation
Sunday, March 8, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk: “Education in Nepal”
Kabi Neupane, Professor, UH Leeward Community College Dept. of Biology
Sunday, March 22, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk: “Improving Heathcare in Nepal through a Hawai‘i-based Youth Movement”
Cierra Nakamura, Pres. Smiles Across Miles; and Sen. Glenn Wakai, Pres. Reach Out Pacific.
Sunday, April 12, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
Film: Himalaya, directed by Eric Valli
An annual caravan of Nepali villagers struggle to bring salt from the high Himalayas to the lowlands for trade.
Saturday, April 18, 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 19, 4:00 p.m.
Concert: “Music of the Himalayas”
EWC Imin Center – Jefferson Hall
Featuring Parashuram Bhandari, master of the sarangi
Ticket information, coming soon
Sunday, May 3, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk: “Geology and Culture in Nepal”
Arjun Aryal, Post-Doctoral Researcher, UHM School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
Gallery Info:
John A. Burns Hall, 1601 East-West Road
(corner Dole St. & East-West Rd.)
Gallery hours: Weekdays: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Sundays Noon-4:00 p.m.
Closed Saturdays and holidays
For further information: 944-7177 
The East-West Center promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1960, the Center serves as a resource for information and analysis on critical issues of common concern, bringing people together to exchange views, build expertise, and develop policy options.
For 30 years the EWC Arts Program has enriched the community through concerts, lectures, symposia, and exhibitions focusing on traditional arts of the region, and by arranged cultural and educational tours by artists who are skilled in bridging cultures.
East-West Center
1601 East-West Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96848

Jan 22, 2015
8th Annual Bollywood Film Festival (January 3-January 30, 2015) ​at the Honolulu Museum of Art

The 8th Annual Bollywood Film Festival (January 3-January 30, 2015) ​at the Honolulu Museum of Art ​offers an impressive range of films that cover​ a wide variety of themes, genres, and languages. ​The slate this year has again benefited from the work of Sai Bhatawadekar, Assistant Professor of Hindi-Urdu​ in Department of Indo-Pacific Languages.​ She has been serving on the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Bollywood film festival committee for four years now. As part of the committee, she helps critically study and suggest new films that would capture the attention of Honolulu audiences and, at the same time​,​ widen the scope of the festival.

The films featured in this festival include quintessential rom-coms of course, but also the festival’s first Marathi language film – Fandry – which depicts young love in the shadow of untouchability;​ a biopic ​on India’s world champion woman boxer,​ Mary Com; ​a documentary on classical Kathak dance; ​a spectacular adaptation of Hamlet​;​ India’s first motion capture animated film​;​ and much much more. These films illustrate growing ideological and thematic trends in Indian cinema – strong female leads and their struggles and self-discovery, relationships revolving around Indian cuisine and cooking, sports as a medium of evoking national pride, and East-West literary and artistic collaborations. The festival also features a Bollywood dance workshop for beginners and experts alike led by Hawaii’s Bollywood and Indian Folk dance group – Aaja Nachl​e.

The dance group – is founded by Prof. Bahatawadekar and Nada McClellan, and has become a well-savored ingredient of the festival recipe. Additionally, Prof. Bhatawadekar also contributes to this yearly festival by delivering inaugural lectures and giving ​brief talks on prominent actors and directors​.​

Please click here for the entire list of films and schedule for the film festival.

Sponsored by Indru and Gulab Watumull & the J. Watumull Fund.

Special thanks to the Bollywood Film Festival Committee—Sai Bhatawadekar, Maya Cowell, Alan Eyerly and Lachmin Singh.

Additional thanks to Antara Bhardwaj, Hindipendent Films; Farhana Bhula; Alice Coelho, Eros Entertainment; Gayatri Gulati and Khushboo Saha, Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd; Carol Khewhok, Shangri La, the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art; Arun Pandian, Ayngaran International; Nishant Roy Bombarde and Nikhil Sane, Essel Vision; Vinitha Vinayachandran, UTV Films and Sanjay A. Wadhwa, AP International.

Jan 13, 2015
2015 UHM CSAS Symposium Call for Papers, April 15-17 2015


Decolonial Futures in South Asia and Beyond

** Please Circulate Widely **

The Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa invites paper and panel proposals for its 32nd Annual Spring Symposium

View the flyer here.

April 15-17, 2015, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi

Deadline to submit proposals: January 16 (Friday), 2015

The material and existential conditions in contemporary South Asia and its diasporas necessitate a reckoning with forms of power which suppress or marginalize different manifestations of knowledge, subjectivity and social relations.  What sorts of political struggles, epistemological shifts and aesthetic sensibilities could help envision and realize decolonial futures in South Asia and its diasporas?  A new generation of scholars has begun to engage with political projects and intellectual traditions that have been subjugated or silenced within dominant national narratives. We invite papers which engage with the challenges decoloniality poses for postcolonial studies, research on South Asian migration, and/or scholarship on imperial formations, old or new. We welcome new forms of writing and storytelling that excavate silenced histories, lived experiences, and resistance politics and practices. Given our location in Hawai’i and the Pacific, topics of particular interest include oceanic connections, decolonial politics, environmental struggles and rights, and transnational networks.

Please send a 200-word abstract for an individual paper by email to If proposing an entire panel, please also include a paragraph-length rationale and a proposed title for the panel along with paper titles and abstracts.  

For further questions, contact

A limited amount of free lodging will be available to participants.

Our panels will be anchored by keynotes by:

biopic_muppidi_smHimadeep Muppidi, Political Science and International Studies at Vassar College, New York. He is the author of The Colonial Signs of International Relations (Oxford University Press, 2012) and, most recently, of Politics in Emotion: The Song of Telangana (Routledge, 2014).  

CMS_VBald_155Vivek Bald, Comparative Media Studies and Writing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A scholar, writer, activist and documentary filmmaker, he is the author of Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America (Harvard University Press, 2013), and co-editor, with Miabi Chatterji, Sujani Reddy, and Manu Vimalassery of The Sun Never Sets: South Asian Migrants in an Age of U.S. Power (NYU Press, 2013).  

bahadur-author-photo-6Gaiutra Bahadur, writer and journalist.  She is the author of Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture (University of Chicago Press, 2013).  In this work of creative non-fiction, she reconstructs the lives of indentured women, including of her own family, in early twentieth century Guyana, breathing life into lost and neglected stories that stretch across continents. As a journalist, she has covered the politics of global migration.

bertz_nedNed Bertz, History, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.  An Indian Ocean historian, Dr. Bertz examines mobility, place, and claims of belonging amidst emerging notions of nationhood in Diaspora and Nation in the Indian Ocean: Transnational Histories of Race and Urban Space in Tanzania (forthcoming from University of Hawaiʻi Press).


Nov 26, 2014
Prof. Lee Siegel’s New Publication “Trance-Migrations: Stories of India, Tales of Hypnosis”

CSAS Affiliate Faculty Lee Siegel has a new publication out:

Trance-Migrations: Stories of India, Tales of Hypnosis


264 pages | 14 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2014



University of Chicago Press

Part non-fiction, part short fiction; part memoir, part essay, Trance-migrations is both an entertaining and informative read and a thoroughly original and creative experiment in metafiction. Combining great erudition with sophisticated word play and bawdy humor, it alternates sections containing stories– both fictional and non-fictional–to be read by the reader to her or himself with sections of stories to be read aloud to a listener. In the latter cases Siegel intends that the listener actually go into a hypnotic trance out of which the reader will eventually awaken her or him. In this way the narrative form of the book “performs” a hypnotic “induction script” out of which the listener awakens to find that it is impossible to tell what “really: happened, just as in hypnosis the line between fact and fiction is irremediably blurred. Siegel uses hypnosis and the dynamic between hypnotist and hypnos and as a way of exploring other power dynamics — between lovers, between writer and reader (or listener), between masculine colonial culture and the “feminized” East, between God (or gods) and mortals, and ultimately between memory – historical and personal – and constantly shifting meaning. The book is above all about reading as a hypnotic experience. Through stories based on motifs and characters from both Indian mythology and from real life (notably Abbé Faria, a Goan Catholic monk who gained notoriety in the early nineteenth century with demonstrations of magnetism in Paris, and James Esdaile, a Scottish surgeon for the East India Company who experimented with mesmerism as a surgical anesthetic in Calcutta), Siegel epitomizes and elucidates the psychological and political dynamics of a fascination with a mysterious Orient, and reveals the anxieties embedded in such fascination.

Lee Siegel





Lee Siegel (Profile Picture)Lee Siegel’s publications, dealing particularly with the aesthetic, erotic, and comedic dimensions of religious experience, are experimental narrative explorations of the possible relationships between scholarship and fiction. He teaches an undergraduate introduction to religion, a graduate seminar on Indian religious literature, and he directs graduate workshops devoted to both rhetorical and pedagogical methodologies in religious studies. In both his research and teaching endeavors at the graduate level, he is also concerned with the development of a poetics for the translation of Sanskrit literary and religious texts.





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