South Asia Institute
South Asia Institute

Faculty Advisory Committee

The primary governing body for SAI is an elected faculty advisory committee (FAC) that follows the by-laws in SAI’s governing document. Elections for two-year terms take place each summer. The FAC reflects diversity of rank, discipline, college affiliation, and gender, and meets once each semester to review the working of SAI, its budget, and plans for program development. The Institute's voting member list is updated each academic year, in consultation with the FAC. In addition, the Director, through personal meetings and online communication, keeps all faculty affiliates aware of programs and strategic initiatives.

2017-2018 Committee

Indrani Chatterjee, Professor, History

Indrani ChatterjeeDr. Chatterjee has taught young people in three continents, and over two decades. Her teaching interests have evolved to keep pace with her own travels in time. The courses she has taught include Slavery and South Asian History, the Gender of South Asian pasts, Early Modernity in the subcontinent, and The Power of Performance. Her publications include Gender, slavery and law in colonial India (New York:  Oxford University Press, 1999), Unfamiliar relations: family and history in South Asia (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2004), and Forgotten friends: monks, marriages, and memories of Northeast India (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). “Recently, I find myself drawn simultaneously to both intellectual and economic histories of the subcontinent. In particular, I am interested in the ways in which wealth travelled between and within monastic lineages in the past. Having worked on the ways in which monastic governmentality was forgotten in Indian historiography by the early decades of the twentieth century, I am currently revisiting the costs of such forgetting to women's wealth in eastern India. In brief, I am interested in excavating a new history of wealth.”

Jason Cons, Assistant Professor, Anthropology

Jason ConsJason Cons is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. He works on borders in South Asia, climate and agrarian change, and rural development. He has conducted extensive research in Bangladesh on a range of issues including: disputed territory along the India-Bangladesh border, the impacts of shrimp aquaculture in coastal areas, and recipient experiences with microcredit. In 2014, he initiated a new project on climate security in the Bangladesh borderlands. His first book, Sensitive Space: Anxious Territory at the India-Bangladesh Border, was published by the University of Washington Press in 2016. His work has been published in Political Geography, Modern Asian Studies, Ethnography, SAMAJ, Antipode, Third-World Quarterly, and The Journal of Peasant Studies. He is also an Associate editor of the journal South Asia. He is in the process of editing a volume with Michael Eilenberg titled Frontier Assemblages: The Emergent Politics of Resource Frontiers in Asia for Wiley’s Antipode Book Series and co-editing a special issue if Limn on “chokepoints.” He completed his degree in Development Sociology at Cornell University in 2011.

Syed Akbar Hyder, Associate Professor, Asian Studies

Syed Akbar HyderProf. Hyder is HUF's Associate Director and Associate Professor of Asian Studies and Islamic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He earned his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University and holds a B.A. in Political Science from Texas A&M University. His primary research interests lie in South Asian aesthetics, particularly those related to Urdu literature and mystical Muslim traditions. His first book, Reliving Karbala: Martyrdom in South Asian Memory, underscores the complexity that religious symbols carry in varying contexts. Hyder reveals multiple and often conflicting interpretations of the Karbala story, and investigates the varying ways in which the story is used for personal and communal identity in South Asia. His second book, A’iye Urdu Parhen: Let’s Study Urdu, was co-authored with Ali Asani, Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard.

Amy Hyne-Sutherland, Lecturer, Asian Studies

Amy Hyne-SutherlandAmy Hyne-Sutherland is a Lecturer in the Department of Asian Studies. She teaches introductory and intermediate Sanskrit as well as courses on the religious and cultural history of South Asia. She earned her Ph.D. in Asian Cultures and Languages from UT in 2015. She also completed a portfolio in Religious Studies on “Religion and the Body.” Her research investigates the confluences of religion, language and culture in classical India, particularly with respect to early forms of Hinduism and Buddhism, and most recently with respect to discourses on “madness.” Her current book project, Speaking of Madness, explores how social and cultural values, legislation, traditional healing practices, interreligious polemics, and elite ascetic practices influence how and when attributions of madness are made. Passionate about community engagement and outreach, she has participated in syllabus development, workshops, and various other outreach projects with SAI since arriving at UT in 2007.

Janice Leoshko, Associate Professor, Art History

Janice LeoshkoJanice Leoshko teaches courses about various issues concerning the art of South Asia as well as Buddhist Art throughout Asia. While her research primarily concerns the development of Buddhist traditions in India, she has also been involved in projects regarding other religious traditions in South Asia, including those of Islam. Linking most efforts is an abiding interest in how knowledge is constructed or what happens when we ask the simple question "why do we think this way?" Her book, Sacred Traces: British Explorations of Buddhism in the 19th-century(2003) exemplifies this interest as do articles such as "What Is in Kim?: Rudyard Kipling and Tibetan Buddhist Traditions" and "Gauguin’s Buddhism." Her research has especially focused upon long held assumptions about the historical importance and artistic production at Bodh Gaya, the Indian site where the Buddha achieved enlightenment (see for example, "About Looking at Buddha Images in Eastern India" and "Buddhist Ruins at Bodh Gaya and Bamiyan"). She also writes about the influence of museums and exhibitions, partly a result of time spent as a curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art ("Inside Out: Views of Jain Art").  For the university she developed and served as the first director of the graduate portfolio in museum studies and has organized major programs for UT’s South Asia Institute such as an international conference that resulted in the volume Reimagining Aśoka, Memory and History.  Recent focus on Sri Lankan art led to her current book project on the significance of the early writing of the major scholar, AnandaKentish Coomaraswamy.

Sharmila Rudrappa, Professor, Sociology

Sharmila RudrappaSharmila Rudrappa teaches on, and researches issues related to gender, race, and labor. Her specific interests are on reproductive markets, with a focus on the U.S. and India. She is author of Discounted Life: The Price of Global Surrogacy in India (New York University Press, 2015).She is also the author of Ethnic Routes to Becoming American: Indian Immigrants and the Cultures of Citizenship (Rutgers University Press, 2004), which explores race and activism in late 20th century Chicago. Dr. Rudrappa is currently working on the cultural politics of assisted reproductive technologies in India and the U.S.

Scott Stroud, Associate Professor, Communications

Scott StroudDr. Scott R. Stroud (Ph.D., Temple University, 2006) specializes in the intersection between communication and culture. Working at the juncture of rhetoric and philosophy, much of his research extends the thought of the American pragmatists into the realms of rhetorical experience and political activity. He is particularly interested in the connections between artful communication, individual flourishing, religion, and democracy. His book, John Dewey and the Artful Life (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011), engages these themes in detail. His most recent book, Kant and the Promise of Rhetoric (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2014), provides a first-of-its-kind reappraisal of Kant and his relation to the rhetorical tradition. Currently he is completing a book manuscript that tells the story of Bhimrao Ambedkar’s brush with Deweyan pragmatism at Columbia University during 1913-1916 and how it shaped his innovative pursuit of social justice in India. Stroud’s other work also engages topics in comparative/non-western rhetoric, religious rhetoric, narrative theory, and communication ethics. His research has been published in venues such as Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Philosophy & Rhetoric, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, the Journal of Communication and Religion, theWestern Journal of CommunicationAdvances in the History of Rhetoricand the Journal of Speculative Philosophy. Dr. Stroud is the founding director of the Media Ethics Initiative.