South Asia Institute
South Asia Institute

Spring 2010

autobiography logo

An International Workshop
January 28-30, 2010
1/28 (8:30-12:30) Dean’s Conference Room, GEB 3.312
1/28 (12:30-6:00) Meyerson Conference Room, WCH 4.118
1/29-30 (8:30-6:00) Meyerson Conference Room, WCH 4.118

Sponsored by: Arts & Humanities Research Council of the United Kingdom and the South Asia Institute, University of Texas

• Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, Chair (History, Loughborough University, UK)
• Gail Minault (History, University of Texas, Austin, TX)
• Hulya Adak (Cultural Studies, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey)
• Sonia Nishat Amin (History, Dhaka University, Bangladesh)
• Kathryn Babayan (Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI)
• Margot Badran (Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, Washington, DC)
• Marilyn Booth (Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK)
• Afshan Bukhari (Art History, Suffolk University, Boston, MA)
• Miriam Cooke (Arabic Literature and Culture, Duke University, Durham, NC)
• Nawar al-Hasan Golley (Arabic and Translation Studies, American University of Sharjah)
• Ruby Lal (Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, GA)
• Anshu Malhotra (History, Delhi University, Delhi, India)
• Ellen McLarney (Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University, Durham, NC)
• Roberta Micallef (Modern Languages and Comparative Literatures, Boston University, Boston, MA)
• Farzaneh Milani (Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA)
• Mildred Mortimer (French and Italian, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO)
• Sylvia Vatuk (Anthropology, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL)

 This workshop is the first of three to be held by an international network of scholars working on women’s autobiographies in Muslim societies. Dr. Siobhan Lambert-Hurley of Loughborough University, the Chair of the network, has received a grant from the Arts and Humanities Council of the UK, and the co-operation of local sponsors, to hold this series of workshops. The first will convene at the University of Texas in austin, January 28-30, 2010, with papers to be given by members of the network. Subsequent workshops will be held at the India International Centre in New Delhi in late 2010, and at the University of Sharjah, UAE, in late 2011. It is a great honor for the South Asia Institute of the University of Texas to co-sponsor and host this inaugural gathering, which will be of interest to scholars of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Women and gender Studies, and Comparative Literature.

Contact Gail Minault for more information.

indian law banner

Fri, February 19, 2010 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM • exas Union, 2.102 Eastwoods Room

Conference on ancient Indian law

FIRST SESSION: 9:00 — 10:30 AM
Chair: Joel Brereton

David Brick (Yale University)
"The Kṛtyakalpataru and the Formation of a Smṛti Canon."

Donald Davis Jr. (University of Wisconsin)
"Three Polities, Three Texts: A Punctuated History of Hindu Law in Medieval and Early Modern Kerala."

SECOND SESSION: 11:00 — 12:30 PM
Chair: Martha Selby

Ethan Kroll (Stanford University)
"Who Writes about Procedure for Fun?—Why the Vyavahārādhyāya of Vijñāneśvara's Mitākṣarā should be Considered a Legal Treatise."

Mark McClish (Ripon College)
"Kauṭilya's Arthaśāstra: Establishing a Context for Patronage"

LUNCH: 12:30 — 2:00

THIRD SESSION: 2:00 — 3:30 PM
Chair: Janice Leoshko

Timothy Lubin (Washington and Lee University)
"Śaiva Dharmaśāstra?"

Federico Squarcini (University of Florence)
"Interests to be Traced: Privileges, Patrons, and Motives in the Economy of Dharma Discourse Production"

FOURTH SESSION: 4:00 — 5:30 PM
Chair: Cynthia Talbot

Patrick Olivelle (University of Texas at Austin)
"Patañjali and the Beginnings of Dharmaśāstra: An Alternate Social History of Early Dharmasūtra Production."

The last 45 minutes will be devoted to a general discussion of all the papers and anything else that may come to our minds.

Sponsored by: South Asia Institute and the Department of Asian Studies

Download schedule (PDF 49KB)

National Workshop for Tamil Instructors to Draw Common Strategies in Tamil Curriculum: Spoken Tamil


Fri, March 12, 2010 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM • Texas Union 4.206

Tamil has a continuous history of spoken-written differences since fifth century BCE and it maintains the written and spoken forms as two different varieties, which are always found complementary to each other. To make use the language more effective for the learners in attaining proficiency, it is essential to bring out the differences to them from their own learning difficulties. Learners quite often face difficulties in Tamil speaking environment for their professional and academic endeavors. Therefore the problem areas for the learners are identified and studied carefully by teachers of Tamil for teaching situations. There are challenges in narrowing down the gap between the written and spoken forms in Tamil. Once this is done, this will help the learners to use the language without spelling mistakes while writing and avoid speaking difficulties and increase the proficiency. This will also help the learners of Advanced Tamil become familiar with the phonological changes (Sandhi changes) found in literary Tamil. The written and spoken differences are given as conversion rules by many scholars but there is no uniformity when they try to show the differences and adapting strategies to achieve the goals. This makes the learners difficult and slow down the le arning.
Issues such as regional variations and dialect variations among social groups and borrowed words from other cultures pose challenges to bring down to learners learning and proficiency. These put the materials producers in great difficulty to follow a way or pattern to produce materials and use. Instantly prepared or tailored and used materials just for the hour or situations has not allowed following a common strategy. Hence, the worksho p tries to discuss and find out common strategies keeping themes for discussion.

Sponsored by: South Asia Institute


Given the recent growth of scholarly studies on the history of technology in South Asia, the question arises as to how we should – or might – situate this developing knowledge relative to other (in some respects more dominant) fields of enquiry such as the history of science, medicine and environment, the history of colonialism, nationalism and subalternity, or in relation to questions of gender, identity, modernity and the state. Drawing upon the author’s current research into “everyday technology” in India, c. 1880-1960, this paper explores some of the many possibilities, with particular attention given to the evolution and significance of the concept of “improvement,” the ethnographic representation of technology, the rise of swadeshi ideals and the moral discourse of technology in late colonial India. It considers, more broadly, the value (and limitations) of moving from elite to subaltern techno-histories, of situating technology corporeally and spatially as well as socially, and of replacing essentially Eurocentric approaches (based on concepts of technology transfer and diffusionism) with more locally-oriented studies of the social deployment and cultural understanding of such new and increasingly “everyday” technologies and technological goods as sewing machines, typewriters, bicycles and rice-mills. Although the focus of the discussion is on historical approaches, the paper aims to address as well the rich interdisciplinary possibilities of studying technology in the context of modern South Asia.    

download the program (PDF, 700KB)


  • Itty Abraham, Government and Asian Studies, University of Texas at Austin,

  • Kavita Philip, Women's Studies, University of California at Irvine,

  • Amit Prasad, Sociology, University of Missouri, Columbia,

  • Banu Subramaniam, Women's Studies, University of Mass, Amherst,