South Asia Institute
South Asia Institute

Workshops and Seminars

SAI hosts and co-hosts a number of teacher training workshops on the UT campus during the year. We design our professional development opportunities to address the TEKS and TAKS objectives for social studies.  At our training events, teachers gain knowledge from Institute guests and faculty experts, teaching materials and strategies to use them in the classroom, and CPE hours.  Below is a listing of our current and recent professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers.

Past Workshops:

Critical Literacy for Global Citizens Summer Institute 2021

This was the fourth annual summer institute intended to explore the use of critical literacies and global children’s literature aligned to instructional goals for literacy standards (reading, writing, and oral language) for the State of Texas. The institute, focused on PK-5 instruction, increased participants’ content knowledge in language and literacy and introduced a wide variety of age-appropriate texts that represent a diversity of cultures both within the United States and around the world. The workshop offered a flexible and collaborative environment that allowed space for dialogue, reflection, and opportunities to apply the work in practice. Taking an appreciative stance toward students, teachers were empowered with the knowledge and tools to effectively incorporate diverse books so that students not only engage in literacies, but find reading meaningful and relevant to their lives. This conference saught to enhance students' skills in global competence and critical literacy. 

Hemispheres Summer Institute 2021: Raising Voices and Narratives of Resistance Around the World

Galvanized by the idea that the world we inhabit is already defined by radical change and experimentation, this Summer Institute encouraged secondary (middle or high school) teachers who, along with their students, to value the strengths of cultural and linguistic diversity and achieve greater educational and social justice in their schools, communities, and beyond. We shared stories of resistance and resilience in order to elevate multiple voices, experiences, and ways of being in the world in the curriculum. We examined ways to find power and inspiration in these stories and how they can be used to engage students in the classroom. This training aligned with state and national standards as well as teaching requirements. It was designed to support learning in a variety of courses including Social Studies, Human Geography, English Language Arts, and more. 

Teaching from Digital Archives

In a growing world of online learning brought about by the world’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, how do you teach your students to be discerning about the digital content and media resources they access? How can you help students understand the connection between texts they read online, the books and physical materials online content is based on, and the creative processes that writers and content-makers have gone through in order to create content in the first place? How do you make the "old" published stuff in secondary education Language Arts and Social Studies curricula resonate with students who only experience this content through their screens? These are questions that can be addressed by studying primary source materials preserved in archives and special collections around the world—archives like the renowned Harry Ransom Center at UT Austin—that have digitized a vast amount of materials for public use. In this 3-day professional development workshop, teachers learned about how to use digital archives for teaching critical thinking and primary source literacy to secondary-education students. Teachers were provided training in how to use digital archives effectively and model lesson plans that you can use as templates for their own classes.

Critical Literacy for Global Citizens Summer Institute 2020

In this Summer Institute, teachers learned how the use of critical literacy methods and international children’s literature can increase their students' language and literacy learning as well as increasing their global competency. The workshop encouraged dialogue, reflection, and collaborative practice, while helping to bring diverse voices and places into the classroom and empowering students to become socially responsible, global citizens.

Facing the Future: Environmental Education for the Global Classroom

Our climate is changing rapidly, and now more than ever we need to be ready to act and prepare the next generation to take care of our planet.  More than 7 billion people are at risk from the adverse consequences of climate change, and many of our planet’s inhabitants are set to face increasing pressures as a result of the degradation in environmental conditions. As students around the globe demand action by their government leaders to protect the environment, educators are taking steps to recognize the impact of climate change on the environment and their students. This workshop engaged this important topic to help teachers gain resources and strategies to encourage students envision a sustainable and just future and feel empowered to help our planet. Training focused on activities in the book, A People's Curriculum for the Earth: Teaching Climate Change and the Environmental Crisis.

Reading Across Cultures: Diverse Books for the 7 – 12 Grade Classroom 

The World Area Book Awards (Américas Award, Africana Book Award, Freeman Book Award, Middle East Book Award, and the South Asia Book Award) sponsored a series of five 60-minute webinars on a book recognized by one of the awards. Each webinar featured a presentation by an award-winning author with discussion on how to incorporate multicultural literature into the classroom.

Hemispheres Summer Institute 2019: Read All About It! Media Literacy and Journalism in the Global Studies Classroom

This Summer Institute examined ways in which journalism and media resources can be used to engage students in the social studies classroom. Journalists and academic experts discussed how global news, print and photojournalism, and other media resources can be used in social studies curriculum to support a range of learning goals. The Institute speakers and activities addressed ways in which students can improve media literacy skills, build an appetite for quality journalism, and become global citizens. Experts discussed how journalism can help students understand real world issues, such as migration, land and property rights, and climate change. Hemispheres partnered with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, an award-winning Washington, DC-based non-profit journalism organization dedicated to supporting in-depth engagement with under-reported global affairs.

Teaching from the Archives: World Journeys

In this 4-day professional development workshop, participants trained to do archival research in the Ransom Center with the goal of creating new lesson plans and activities for their classrooms using rare and unique primary sources from the Ransom Center’s collections. The workshop provided attendees with the opportunity to work with expert University of Texas staff and to collaborate with teaching colleagues from around the region.

Critical Literacy for Global Citizens Summer Institute

This Summer Institute explored the use of critical literacies and international children’s literature to support instructional goals for literacy standards (reading, writing, and oral language) for the State of Texas. The institute increased participants’ content knowledge in language and literacy and introduced a wide variety of age-appropriate texts that represent a diversity of cultures both within the United States and around the world. The workshop offered a collaborative environment that allowed space for dialogue, reflection, and time to apply the work in practice. Taking an appreciative stance toward students, teachers were empowered with the knowledge and tools to effectively incorporate diverse book sets so that students not only engage in literacies, but find reading meaningful and relevant to their lives.

2019 Texas Education Alumni Conference

The presentations at the conference included an overview of the World Area Book Awards including the South Asia Book Award; "Striving for Global Citizenship in a First Grade Dual Language Classroom"; "Exploring Themes of Identity, Perspective, and Empathy Through Pen Pals"; "Peacekeepers vs Peacemakers: Teaching Towards Justice Oriented Citizenship in the Middle Grades"; and "Forces of Change: Exploring Physics and Activism through Literature."

The Global Classroom: Working with Immigrants and Refugees in Public Schools

This workshop for K-12 educators and administrators examined issues that affect immigrant and refugee students in public schools, and showcased programs and strategies for working with diverse groups of students in the classroom. Speakers from UT Austin, Austin Independent School District, and various community organizations delved into a variety of issues that affect both educators and students.

Graphic Literature and Global Literacy - Strategies and resources to inspire critical conversations in ELA and Social Studies classrooms

This workshop examined graphic literature from around the world to show how it can be used to increase global awareness and encourage explorations of diverse cultures and perspectives. For students, graphic novels and comic books are appealing resources that allow them to formulate and grasp new and challenging ideas while developing their creativity. For teachers, these multimodal texts offer new ways to engage students and assess their facility in understanding and analyzing content. They provide a chance to build literacy and critical thinking skills by helping students develop a deeper and more complex understanding of what they read. Graphic literature also provides an alternate way of approaching biographies and other forms of literature, introduces important political events and cultural moments, builds historical knowledge, and facilitates understandings of the development of national and social identities.

Hemispheres’ Summer Institute 2018: Windows into Other Times and Places: Explore a World of Art and Performance

In a continuation of last summer’s focus on interdisciplinary education (STEM and Social Studies in 2017), the 2018 Summer Institute examined the links between social studies and art education. Social studies offers knowledge of human experiences, while art has the power to animate intimate understandings of human experiences. Art, as a way of knowing, presents a comprehension that the facts and abstractions of social studies cannot always reveal. The Institute speakers and activities addressed general teaching requirements that encourage the use of rich primary and secondary source material, such as songs and artworks. The Institute examined general teaching requirements that encourage the use of rich primary and secondary source material, such as songs and artworks. The Institute focused on standards under the "culture" themes, to examine the relationship that exists between the works of art and the societies in which they are produced; and how artistic expressions also transcend boundaries and convey universal themes.

Summer Institute for Teachers: Critical Literacy & Language in Diverse 21st Century Classrooms

This Summer Institute explored the use of critical literacies and international children’s literature to support instructional goals for literacy standards (reading, writing, and oral language) for the State of Texas. The institute increased participants’ content knowledge in language and literacy and introduced a wide variety of global, age-appropriate texts in a collaborative environment that allowed space for dialogue, reflection, and time to apply the work in practice. Teachers learned about effectively incorporating diverse book sets so that students not only engage in literacies, but find reading meaningful and relevant to their lives.

Visualizing Time and Space: An Introduction to Story Mapping for Social Studies

The workshop "Visualizing Time and Space: An Introduction to Story Mapping for Social Studies" for K-16 educators in social studies was hosted in conjunction with UT Libraries' Digital Initiatives: Arts, Humanities, & Global Studies Engagement Team. This day-long event introduced teachers to story mapping tools, to be used to animate and enliven social studies lessons. Using Hemispheres' curriculum unit on the trade of global commodities, participants had the opportunity to work in teams to create their own story map from the ground up for use in their own classrooms.  The event was archived in an online guide.

Allies, Empires, and Peace Treaties: A Look Back at the War to End All Wars

The workshop “Allies, Empires, and Peace Treaties:  A Look Back at the War to End All Wars," commemorated the hundredth anniversary of the end of the First World War. Held in anticipation of the hundredth-year anniversary of the armistice in November 1918, this day-long event prepared K-16 educators to teach topics related to the war and its ongoing global impact. UT faculty members discussed the history of the war as well as their own approaches to teaching WWI, including "WWI in Real Time" and using film and photography as historical documents. We also visited the Harry Ransom Center where the curator of their hugely successful exhibit, "The World at War, 1914-1918," spoke on some of her favorite materials from the collection.

Epic Tales from Ancient India: Paintings from the San Diego Museum of Art

Abduction, betrayal and heroic battles.  Larger-than-life stories depicted with the miniaturist’s delicacy of touch and vibrant colors.  This Blanton Museum exhibition was drawn from the San Diego Museum of Art’s Edwin Binney 3rd Collection of Indian paintings.  The images provided a compelling introduction to classic Indian and Persian texts: Ramayana, Bhagavata Purana, Ragamala, and the Persian Book of Kings, Shahnama.  Although most of the paintings depicted scenes of epic adventure, images related to the Ragamala provided a change of pace; this text deals with a range of specific musical modes and the varied emotions they convey. Drawing upon the primary resources displayed in the exhibition, professors and graduate students from UT’s Departments of Art History, Asian Studies and Religious Studies talked about the role of these dynamic images in depicting court life from several regions of the Indian sub-continent from the 16th to the 19th centuries.

Summer Teachers' Institute 2017: What's STEM got to do with it? Teaching Social Studies in a Science and Tech-Obsessed World

For the past decade, K-12 education has ridden the STEM wave, swept up in the dire realization that US students have fallen to the back of the global pack in science and math.  It is no surprise that educators would move to shore up these disciplines, so that today’s students can become tomorrow’s leaders of invention and innovation. But in this surge toward STEM, the vital role of Social Studies should not be washed away.  While students may gain the technological skills necessary to build and construct new devices through math, science, engineering and technology instruction, they could still be left poorly prepared to contemplate the tough questions associated with the social, cultural and global impact of developing and harnessing new technologies. The 2017 Summer Institute which took place from June 6 - 9, focused on building bridges between these highly compatible fields of study, to keep Social Studies relevant when everyone else is focused on STEM.

Hemispheres Teachers' Workshop: Demystifying Trade Talk, Sorting Fact from Fiction in the Politics of Free Trade

The workshop was held on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections. Workshop presenters sorted out politics from policy in this teachers’ workshop on the subject of trade. The presenters moved past ideological stances to provide a more nuanced understanding of trade, trade agreements, and their impacts on wages, workers, and national economic prosperity. Participants received 5 professional development credits (CPEs) and resources for their classrooms.

Hemispheres' Workshop Acapulco-Manila: The Galleon, Asia, & Latin America, 1565-1815

On Saturday, January 28, 2017 Texas educators joined Hemispheres to explore a new exhibition at the LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections, and examine Pacific trade during the colonial period and the ties between Latin America and Asia.  Through a rich display of rare maps, diaries, books, and royal decrees, LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies & Collections exhibit Acapulco-Manila:  The Galleon, Asia, & Latin America, 1565 – 1815, explored two-and-a-half centuries of trade between the Spanish Empire in the Americas, via Mexico, and Asia, via the Philippines. The age of the Manila Galleon, from 1565 to 1815, brought with it an exchange of goods and cultural practices, of global contact and disruption, on a new scale.

While drawing upon primary resources displayed in the exhibition, professors and graduate students from UT’s Department of History talked about the role of the Acapulco – Manila Galleon in Pacific trade, silver and silk in the Spanish Empire, and British trade and imperialism in Asia.  The workshop was designed for social studies at the middle and high school level.

Summer Teachers' Institute 2016: Food: Cultures and Controversies

If you’ve glanced at a menu or taken a stroll down the grocery aisle lately, you know our tastes in food have changed dramatically in the past few decades. From chipotles and wasabi to açai berries and curries of all sorts, there’s no denying that the world has gotten smaller and our palettes have been the benefactors. This isn’t a new process: from the first traders who set out along the Indian Ocean coast in prehistory, to the global spice trade that sent Columbus sailing the ocean blue in search of wealth that grows on trees, to Gandhi’s march to demand the right to make salt from the water lapping at India’s shores, the result of countless powerful economic, political, and social forces can often be seen on the dinner plate. And it continues, with new worries about how to feed the world's growing population without overfishing the seas and over harvesting the earth concern scientists and policymakers alike. The 2016 Summer Teachers’ Institute examined the cultures and controversies associated with one of the most basic things all human beings share: food.

Teaching about refugees: forced displacement, political asylum, deportation and repatriation

Drawing from current and historical examples from around the world, this day-long workshop addressed why and how people become displaced, the problems that refugees and migrants face, how they rebuild their lives in new countries, and what happens when they are sent back to their countries of origin. Expert speakers covered topics of forced migration and how mass movements of people relate to issues of human rights and social justice in a global society. Presenters also introduced some of the historical and political processes that led to the displacement of various refugee communities to gain an understanding of multiple perspectives on, and reasons for, the displacement of people.

The workshop was designed for social studies educators at the middle and high school level, and addressed Texas and national teaching standards that examine themes of migration and human rights; how culture and experience influence people’s perceptions of places and regions; and concepts related to the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Teachers left with materials and strategies for introducing these concepts to their students. Sample lesson plans  strengthened student decision-making and critical-thinking skills needed to organize and use information acquired from a variety of sources (historical texts, photographs and other documents), and guided students in using maps and spatial thinking to understand and communicate information.

Webinar: Nectar in a Sieve

Great Works, Great Ideas was a five-part webinar series exploring great ideas and great works of literature and architecture and the impact they've had on socieities and cultures throughout the ages. 

This webinar discussed the themes of rural poverty, colonialism, religious traditions and role of women in India present through the novel Nectar in a Sieve

Nectar in a Sieve is a 1954 novel by Kamala Markandaya that depicts the story of a simple peasant woman, Rukmani, who was married as a child bride to a tenant farmer and their struggles to care for land and loved ones during times of poverty and disaster. The novel is set in India during a period of intense urban development and the speaker will expand on the historical context for the book’s setting and it’s impact. 

Aniruddhan Vasudevan is a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology at University of Texas at Austin. Aniruddhan is also a performer, write, and activist from Chennai, India. His research focuses on gender and sexuality politics in India specifically LGBT rights activism in Chennai. 

To view a recording of the webinar, visit:

Summer Teachers' Institute 2015: Down the Rabbit Hole: Adventures in World Literature and the Social Studies

Bringing world cultures, history, and geography to life in the classroom isn’t always easy—it requires finding authentic voices from diverse cultures, places, and points in history. This can be hard enough with American history, but with 8,000 years of world history it can seem like an impossible task. Never fear! The 2015 Hemispheres Summer Teachers’ Institute helped with this daunting task. The workshops focused on great works of world literature and placed them in their historical and cultural contexts so that they could be used to enhance both the social studies and English/language arts curriculum. Workshops focused on everything from folk tales and contemporary youth literature to the great classics, with a special insider's look at the Alice in Wonderland exhibition at UT’s famed Harry Ransom Center.

Webinar: South Asian Religions

The South Asia Institute at UT Austin hosted a four part webinar series based on South Asia Religions. This webinar series was geared toward teachers for social studies and language arts educators at the middle and high school level. 

It addressed Texas and national teaching standards that examine the relationships among religion, philosophy, and culture and the development of major world religions. Webinars covered South Asian religious traditions of Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Sikhism. You can access the recordings for the webinar sessions by clicking on the links:

These presentations have been designed by religious studies specialists to provide educators with information and tools to South Asia’s major religious traditions. The presentations covered historical emergence as well as important ideas and practices that emerged out of them. 

Strategies that Work: Helping Students Become Proficient Speakers of Hindi and Urdu

South Asia Institute, Hindi Urdu Flagship (UT Austin), and STARTALK co-sponsored a workshop on April 18-19, 2015 in Austin, TX designed specifically for teachers in Hindi and Urdu. The primary purpose of this workshop was to inform Hindi and Urdu teachers about highly effective practices in curriculum, lesson planning, and instructional strategies. The workshop focused on research-driven principles with the majority of participant time spent on experiencing and then reflecting with peers how a variety of instructional strategies could lead to successful langauge leanring or be impeded by certain strategies. The workshop was intended to model for participants effective teaching methods and encourage both discussion and application of those methods to their own planning. 

Gandhi and Images of Nonviolence

The South Asia Institute at the University of Texas at Austin hosted a day-long workshop inspired by the Menil Collections’ exhibit on ‘Experiments with Truth: Gandhi and Images of Non-Violence’ on Saturday, Feb 28th, 2015. The exhibit explored the resonance of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s (1867-1948) ethics of non-violence, or “satyagraha,” in the visual arts.

The workshop, held on the UT Austin campus, addressed Texas and national social studies standards that specifically address the influence of Gandhi on political movements, as well as the importance of human rights, the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and movements to resist political oppression more broadly. Workshop presenters included the Menil exhibit’s curator and UT faculty members who specialize on Gandhi, human rights, and the influence of the arts on nonviolent movements.

Bus Trip to Houston to Menil Collection in Houston, TX

The South Asia Institute co-sponsored a bus trip to Houston on Jan 31st, 2015 to view the Menil Collections’ exhibit on ‘Experiments with Truth: Gandhi and Images of Non-Violence’.  The exhibit explored the resonance of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s (1867-1948) ethics of non-violence, or “satyagraha,” in the visual arts. The tour was organized and led by a UT faculty members in Art History and curators of the exhibits in Houston. This was the first international project to explore the resonance of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s (1867-1948) ethics of non-violence, or “satyagraha,” in the visual arts. The exhibition presented approximately 130 works spanning several centuries and includes paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, sculptures, rare books, and films by artists from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. 

HEB ISD and the Hindi Urdu Flagship Present - Hindi is Here!

The purpose of this workshop was to celebrate the Hindi language, and to publicize the many opportunities that now exist for learning and teaching it in Texas and beyond! Hindi is taking its rightful place alongside other languages of world significance in the 21st century, and is attracting more and more interest among learners seeking access to the vibrant culture of India. Sessions in this one-day workshop included topics ranging from Hindi literature and writing to Hindi in the business world, and student perspectives and pedagogy. Professors from UT Austin, NYU, UPenn, and University of Maryland represented at the workshop, which aims to give a broad picture of all the opportunities for students of Hindi from kindergarten to university!

Summer Institute 2014: War and Conflict

War and conflict are powerful, traumatic events in history. They can stem from multiple causes, devastate lives and economies, change the course of nations, and their effects can linger for generations after the last shots are fired. This year’s summer teacher’s institute “War and Conflict” took a closer look at war and conflict around the world, with the partnership of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to a usual slate of scholar-educators who will offer content presentations on the cause, course, and long term effect of war and conflict, participants got an exclusive look into the  exhibition “The World at War 1914-1918” and the resources it offers. They left with new insights into the topic, teaching resources, and primary source documents that can be used with students.

AIM: The Emergence of Hinduism and Buddhism in India (Spring 2014)

This day-long workshop provided teachers with tools and information on two of the worlds' major religious traditions -- Hinduism and Buddhism. Both religions have a long, shared history but continue to contribute to a dynamic interchange among Asian countries and between Asia and other parts of the world.  Presentations covered the historical emergence of both religions, as well as important ideas and practices that emerged out of them, including the concepts of karma, dharma, and samsara.  Particular emphasis was given to how these religious traditions grew in conversation and the important differences and changes that occurred between them over time. Presenters contextualized terms and ideas within traditions, while guiding participants through active learning exercises and primary source materials to use with their students.

The workshop was designed for socials studies and language arts educators at the middle and high school level.  It addressed Texas and national teaching standards that examine the relationships among religion, philosophy, and culture and the development of major world religions.

AIM: South Asia Workshop (Fall 2013):Bringing India into the Classroom: Strategies and Resources for K-6 Educators

With a specific focus on India, this workshop will provide teachers with tools and information to strengthen global awareness and multicultural education for students at the lower grade levels (K-6). Presentations will help teachers learn more about India, while also providing them with classroom-ready lessons and materials that are tailored to save time in searching for educational content on India appropriate for younger students. Throughout the day, we will cover a range of topics on India, including highlights of geography, culture and history; celebrations, holidays and festivals; and children's folktales and literature. Presenters will guide participants through hands-on activities and carefully vetted materials (books, artifacts, films, lesson plans) to use with younger students. The workshop will address Texas and national social studies standards that cover the importance of culture, cultural heritage, and family and national traditions. In doing so, the workshop will provide educators with ways to guide young students toward deeper understandings of similarities and differences among people. Multi-culturally literate students value diversity, understand the perspectives of other cultural groups, and are sensitive to issues of bias, prejudice, and stereotyping. Engaging global content will enable young learners to generalize from the study India and apply that learning in all aspects of their lives. Further, multicultural programming will validate the experience of all students in culturally diverse classrooms.

Hemispheres Summer Teachers’ Institute 2013: Untangling World History

Over the past 18 months, Hemispheres has been hearing from our core audience of educator professionals with questions and concerns about the new State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exam in World History. We've expanded our training, introduced new resources, and offered practical tips for teaching. This year's Summer Teachers' Institute focused extensively on the World History TEKS, with the intent of helping teachers gain the background knowledge they need to prepare your students for the rigors of the STAAR exam.
The core of the workshop consisted of content presentations from scholars at the University of Texas on a myriad of state- and national standards-accessible topics in World History. Discussion sessions focused on trends in history, covering key concepts, and "bundling" content and skills standards to help educators cover topics efficiently in the classroom. Daily wrap-up exercises involved working with primary source documents concerning the content presented that day to turn them into Document-Based Question (DBQ) activities to use with students.  Teachers left with content, resources, primary documents, and a new outlook and enthusiasm for teaching world history.

AIM: South Asia Workshop (Spring 2013): Bhutanese-Nepali Refugees

The greater Austin area is experiencing an influx of refugees who have been through decades of struggle, transit and discrimination in the Himalayan region.  Many of those arriving have been living in refugee camps for more than a decade, including large numbers of youth.  There are currently more than 500 Bhutanese-Nepali refugees in Austin, many of whom have spent their entire lives in the camps, knowing little of the history of migration, but with important stories to tell.  This workshop helped inform Austin-area educators about the plight of these refugees, and provided them with information about this community and the history and culture of the Himalayan region.  

This workshop was designed for all K-12 educators interested in producing young global citizens in central Texas, who have cultural knowledge and awareness of the Himalayan region of South Asia and diaspora/refugee populations in their own communities. This training event was directed toward ESL educators, and other teachers, who have Bhutanese-Nepali refugee students in their classrooms and wish to be more successful educating them.  But the workshop also included social studies teachers, and helped them to addresses Texas and national social studies standards cover that the meaning of the meaning of citizenship and the ways in which cultures change and maintain continuity due to the impact of general processes such as migration, political conflict and the diffusion of ideas.

AIM: South Asia Workshop (Spring 2013): Tibet and Buddhism

This workshop was designed for K-12 educators, in conjunction with the exclusive presentation of Tibetan Buddhist art at The Blanton Museum of Art. The exhibit explored the rich art and religion of this fascinating region through five mandalas and three thangkas dating from the 15th to 20th centuries. Originally used to explain Buddhist teachings to early nomadic Tibetans, thangkas are meticulously detailed hanging scroll paintings on silk that also serve as meditation aids in Buddhist ritual practice. Mandalas are elaborate, intricate circular diagrams reflecting a sacred, idealized universe.

Hemispheres Summer Teachers' Institute 2012: The City

Cities reflect their surroundings: they are centers of population, government, economics, religion, and, ultimately, culture. Similar in basic composition but divergent in their personalities, cities mirror the characteristics and chronicles of the people who inhabit them. The highs and the lows of history are captured in our cities. They wax and wane. They are the nexus of change and development. They allow us to explore the many intersecting aspects of societies, from urban planning and architecture to art, migration, and revolution.
This year's Hemispheres four-day workshop was geared toward world cultures, world geography, and world history educators in which we explored the meaning and place of the city—and all that it encompasses—in human history. We provided content lectures, teaching materials, and classroom strategy sessions to prepare you to present the city as a lens through which your students can better understand the world.

Hemispheres Summer Teachers’ Institute 2011: Cold War Cultures

The Cold War was one of the most influential events in American and world history. In addition to shaping generations who came of age between 1945 and 1990, its legacy continues to affect us today.

Hemispheres and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum teamed up to offer an unprecedented global look at the Cold War and its lasting economic, political and social impact not only on the two major players in the conflict— the U.S. and former Soviet Union—but on the rest of the world as well.  In addition to a lineup of engaging speakers, primary documents from the library archives were used to enhance our program.

AIM: South Asia Workshop (Spring 2011): Another Kashmir: Beyond the "Security" Paradigm

“My memory keeps getting in the way of your history….”  – Agha Shahid Ali from The Country without a Post Office

This workshop was designed for high school social studies and English teachers who are interested in incorporating the region of South Asia into their curriculum. Workshop speakers attempted to intervene in recent conversations regarding Kashmir that have spoken of Kashmir’s relevance to the nation-states of India and Pakistan, more then they have the dynamics of religious identities or the cultural artifacts and aesthetic concerns of the Kashmir people. Moving away from depictions of a homogenous Kashmiri Muslim identity and related issues of territorial claims and security concerns, the workshop placed Kashmir within a larger context to provide alternate understandings of Kashmir and its peoples.

AIM: South Asia Workshop (Fall 2010): Understanding Photographs:  India and the History of Photography

Photography was first introduced to India in 1840, only a year after the announcements of the daguerreotype and calotype processes in France and England.  The study of 'photography in India' should take place within the wider context of the growth of the history of photography.  For instance, the tension between a focus on the subject versus the aesthetics of a photograph can reveal interesting dimensions of social history.  The workshop built upon the opportunity provided by a current exhibition (at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin) that traces the history of photography, combining a tour of the exhibition with presentations by scholars whose expertise includes India and photographs.  The workshop intended to provide a significant foundation upon which participants will be able to use photographs as primary documents that can enhance an understanding of the production of culture.

Hemispheres' Summer Teachers' Institute 2010: Unraveling Race and Ethnicity

What is race?  What is ethnicity?  What's the difference between them?  In addition to shaping the world in which we live, they continue to affect our lives and our perceptions of other people and places. And although they come up in classroom discussion frequently, they are sensitive topics that make even the most confident educator tread lightly.
This workshop from Hemispheres looked at race and ethnicity in a global context, from the historical to the contemporary. We began by exploring theoretical issues that addressed what these terms mean and how that meaning can change in different contexts.  We then looked at the ways societies around the world both define and deal with them, both positively and negatively.  Finally, we facilitated audience discussion and development of classroom strategies that will helped teachers unravel the complexities of discussing race and ethnicity effectively in their classroom.

AIM: South Asia Workshop (Spring 2010): The Empire Writes Back: Teaching Postcolonial Literature from South Asia

This workshop was designed for high school social studies and English teachers who are interested in incorporating literature from South Asia into their curriculum.  Faculty speakers explored an understanding of post colonial writing and theory in a literary, historical and social context.  The event starts from the idea of post coloniality as a global condition affecting not only literature but also the categories we use to think about human experience: relations between colonizers and colonized; between culture and power; ideas about identity, authenticity and hybridity; notions of roots, motherland, nationality; and conditions of migration and cosmopolitanism. 

AIM: South Asia Workshop (Fall 2009):Global Flows and Local Impacts: Stories from South Asia

This workshop, designed for middle and high school teachers, explored the global nature of contemporary social change in South Asia. It took globalization as major force that reshapes social life in the region, while recognizing that social outcomes are shaped through interaction with other processes as well. The workshop brought together UT faculty expertise and perspectives from geography, cultural studies, anthropology, political science, and economics to explore the meanings of globalization and its local impacts within South Asia today. Through presentations and discussion, we examined the relationship between globalization; inequality and poverty; the fate of cultural diversity; and issues of identity, the environment, and human rights.

Hemispheres' Summer Teachers' Institute 2009: Sense of Place: Intersecting geography, History, and Culture

How have our changing perceptions of our geographic surroundings led to changes in human society?  How do cities and urban spaces reflect the societies that build them?  How do those spaces in turn serve as vehicles for creativity, production, and social change?   How is the character of a place related to its political, economic, social, and cultural characteristics?

The fields we farm, the cities we build, the spaces we preserve, the borders we protect‹within each set of choices we make, we reveal our perceptions of and relationship with the land that surrounds us. By studying the connections between natural geographic features, human settlement, and cultural identity, we can begin to see landscape not as background scenery but as an expression of ourselves and of our historic development. Between the core disciplines of World Geography, World History, and World Cultures, few fields of study are beginning to emerge that explores ways that these fields (once studied in isolation) influence each other.  

AIM: South Asia Workshop (Spring 2009): Beauty in the Worlds of Islam

"Beauty in the Worlds of Islam" was a two-day K-12 and post-secondary workshop designed to explore the manner in which beauty is created, judged, negotiated, and relayed in Muslim societies from Asia to the Americas. The conference will emphasize the range of ways in which the diverse imaginative spirit of Muslim peoples is manifested in architecture, music, poetry, rhetoric, and calligraphy. It also hoped to draw attention to issues of gender, sexuality, disenfranchisement, and modernity as they shape the ideas of "beauty." The conference took on the twofold task of enriching American high school and college pedagogies pertaining to social studies and of enhancing interdisciplinary conversation among scholars of history, culture, language, literature, and religion.

AIM: South Asia Workshop (Fall 2008): Land and Landscape in South Asia

Landscape forms the conceptions we have of place or places, propped upon, yet largely independent of, what is meant by "land."  It is how we imagine a place, how we picture it to ourselves.  "Landscape" thus covers a mental idea - the image of land, something conceived of and therefore made operable or controllable as a concept.  "Nature knows nothing of what we call landscape."  Landscape is largely an aesthetic, mental concept with great implications for how we structure our lives.

This K-12 workshop addressed topics concerning land and landscape that are often studied separately.  Participants were exposed to ways of thinking about their importance in order to understand the significance of culture (including religion, literature and art) and geography in South Asia.

Hemispheres' Summer Teachers' Institute 2008: Recognizing Rights and Responsibilities in the 21st Century

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” - Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

In what ways are governments and other powerful institutions responsible to act toward individuals and each other “in a spirit of brotherhood”? How do we define human rights, in the most expansive sense of the term? And how are rights and resources being claimed and fought for around the world? Hemispheres Summer Teachers’ Institute 2008 explored the international context for the rights-related challenges we face today. We looked at specific cases that illustrate how people conceive of and struggle for crucial rights in civil, political, cultural, and economic realms. 

AIM: South Asia Workshop (Fall 2007): East Asian Buddhists Pilgrims in South Asia and the Significance of Xuanzang

Pilgrimage is an important practice in many religions, and Buddhism is no exception.  Indeed, it is a significant factor in this religion’s phenomenal spread throughout the world.  Xuanzang, who lived in the seventh century, was only one of many such Chinese travelers to India in search of “sacred traces” of the Buddha, but his written account of an amazing journey helped to ensure his long-lived fame. His record provides many details of Buddhist practices as well as the appearance of Buddhist sites and images that would otherwise be unknown.  Xuanzang’s particular views of Buddhism and Buddhist India have had a profound impact on practioners and scholars alike, and today he is widely invoked as the paradigmatic figure of a Buddhist pilgrim.  This one-day symposium considered the significance of the sacred land of the Buddha through a focus on Xuanzang.

Hemispheres' Summer Teachers’ Institute 2007: Restoring Women to World Studies

In much of the social studies—especially courses focused on world history, geography, and culture—there is a growing awareness that the experience of women has been left out of the narrative. As a primary organizing category in our world, gender is a crucial concept in understanding other nations, cultures, and people. Women and gender often appear in the standards and as a theme in courses, but textbooks and other traditional resources do not adequately cover women around the world. This workshop addressed the need to increase global awareness in an increasingly interdependent world, while also responding to the need to consider women and gender in a global cross-cultural perspective.  Hemispheres 2007 Summer Teachers’ Institute explored the situation of women—historical and contemporary—in Latin America, the Middle East, Russia, East Europe and Eurasia, and South Asia.  We discussed the contributions of notable women to historical and artistic movements, talked about concepts of gender roles and gendered spaces, looked at issues that are driving women’s movements today, and examined the greater context in which all of these take place. 

AIM: South Asia Workshop (Spring 2007): The Significance of Ashoka, first Emperor of India

Emperor Ashoka (273-232 BCE) is held to be one of India’s greatest rulers. UT professors from the Department of Asian Studies guided participants in an examination of what we know about Ashoka and the time in which he lived, in order to gain a better understanding of his significance in ancient Indian history. The workshop introduced participants to the political and religious developments that appear to have occurred under Ashoka’s rule, the problems scholars face in assessing the exact features and impact of Ashoka’s reign, and the nature and significance of surviving texts and visual evidence used to define the importance of Ashoka.  

AIM: South Asia Workshop (Fall 2006): Photography as Evidence:  Interpreting South Asian Photographs

This workshop, specifically designed for high school teachers, provided strategies for teaching about and using photographs as primary source documents.  Members of UT faculty guided participants in an analysis of the use of photographs as historical evidence, focusing on a collection of 19th-century photographs and albums of India held at the Ransom Research Center on the UT campus. The workshop also introduced the uses of historical photographs to reveal insights into imperial-colonial relationships on the Indian subcontinent and the impact of historical photographs in continuing to shape understandings of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.