A conversation with Diana Eck
Diana Eck, Fredric Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society at Harvard University, invites Harvard alumni and friends to join her in a conversation about India: A Sacred Geography. Eck’s book explores the sacred places of India, taking the reader on an extraordinary trip through the beliefs and history of this rich and profound place, as well as providing a basic introduction to Hindu religious ideas and how those ideas influence our understanding of the modern sense of “India” as a nation. Additionally, she will address the Pluralism Project, which explores and interprets the religious dimensions of America’s new immigration; the growth of Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, and Zoroastrian communities in the United States.
By invitation only.
Fri, Apr 18, 2014
Fri, Apr 18, 2014
SAI Book Talk
T.V Paul, James McGill Professor of International Relations, Department of Political Science, McGill University
Chair: Asad Ahmed, Assistant Professor, Social Anthropology Program, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University
Seemingly from its birth, Pakistan has teetered on the brink of becoming a failed state. Today, it ranks 133rd out of 148 countries in global competitiveness. Its economy is as dysfunctional as its political system is corrupt; both rely heavily on international aid for their existence. Taliban forces occupy 30 percent of the country. It possesses over a hundred nuclear weapons that could easily fall into terrorists’ hands. Why, in an era when countries across the developing world are experiencing impressive economic growth and building democratic institutions, has Pakistan been such a conspicuous failure?
In The Warrior State, noted international relations and South Asia scholar T.V. Paul untangles this fascinating riddle. Paul argues that the “geostrategic curse”–akin to the “resource curse” that plagues oil-rich autocracies–is at the root of Pakistan’s unique inability to progress. Since its founding in 1947, Pakistan has been at the center of major geopolitical struggles: the US-Soviet rivalry, the conflict with India, and most recently the post 9/11 wars. No matter how ineffective the regime is, massive foreign aid keeps pouring in from major powers and their allies with a stake in the region. The reliability of such aid defuses any pressure on political elites to launch the far-reaching domestic reforms necessary to promote sustained growth, higher standards of living, and more stable democratic institutions. Paul shows that excessive war-making efforts have drained Pakistan’s limited economic resources without making the country safer or more stable. Indeed, despite the regime’s emphasis on security, the country continues to be beset by widespread violence and terrorism.
Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 04:00pm
Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 05:30pm
SAI Annual Symposium
As part of its Annual Symposium, SAI is hosting a series of workshops on April 24 and 25 to highlight ongoing faculty research projects supported by SAI.
Thursday, April 24, 2014:
Mobile Technology, 8:30 am – 11:00 am
Disasters and Mental Health, 11:15 am – 1:45 pm
The Contemporary South Asian City, 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Friday, April 25, 2014
From SAARC to Slums: Urban Water Challenges in South Asia, 8:30 am – 11:00 am
Religion and Secularism, 11:15 am – 1:15 pm
Informal Workers, Enterprises, and Cities: Addressing Informality in South Asia, 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Thu, Apr 24, 2014
Fri, Apr 25, 2014
SAI Mahindra Lecture
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed Founder and Chairperson of BRAC
Reception to follow.
More information here.
Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 05:00pm
Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 06:30pm
SAI Book Talk
Ramachandra Guha, Author and Independent Scholar
Pratap Bhanu Mehta, President of the Centre for Policy Research; Associate Professor of Government and of Social Studies, Harvard University
Cosponsored with the Harvard Book Store
Ramachandra Guha—hailed by Time as “Indian democracy’s preeminent chronicler”—takes us from Gandhi’s birth in 1869 through his upbringing in Gujarat, his two years as a student in London and his two decades as a lawyer and community organizer in South Africa. Guha has uncovered myriad previously untapped documents, including private papers of Gandhi’s contemporaries and co-workers; contemporary newspapers and court documents; the writings of Gandhi’s children; and secret files kept by British Empire functionaries. Using this wealth of material in an exuberant, brilliantly nuanced and detailed narrative, Guha describes the social, political and personal worlds inside of which Gandhi began the journey that would earn him the honorific Mahatma: “Great Soul.” And, more clearly than ever before, he elucidates how Gandhi’s work in South Africa—far from being a mere prelude to his accomplishments in India—was profoundly influential in his evolution as a family man, political thinker, social reformer and, ultimately, beloved leader.
In 1893, when Gandhi set sail for South Africa, he was a twenty-three-year-old lawyer who had failed to establish himself in India. In this remarkable biography, the author makes clear the fundamental ways in which Gandhi’s ideas were shaped before his return to India in 1915. It was during his years in England and South Africa, Guha shows us, that Gandhi came to understand the nature of imperialism and racism; and in South Africa that he forged the philosophy and techniques that would undermine and eventually overthrow the British Raj.
Gandhi Before India gives us equally vivid portraits of the man and the world he lived in: a world of sharp contrasts among the coastal culture of his birthplace, High Victorian London, and colonial South Africa. It explores in abundant detail Gandhi’s experiments with dissident cults such as the Tolstoyans; his friendships with radical Jews, heterodox Christians and devout Muslims; his enmities and rivalries; and his often overlooked failures as a husband and father. It tells the dramatic, profoundly moving story of how Gandhi inspired the devotion of thousands of followers in South Africa as he mobilized a cross-class and inter-religious coalition, pledged to non-violence in their battle against a brutally racist regime.
Researched with unequaled depth and breadth, and written with extraordinary grace and clarity,Gandhi Before India is, on every level, fully commensurate with its subject. It will radically alter our understanding and appreciation of twentieth-century India’s greatest man.
Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 07:00pm
Tue, Apr 29, 2014
South Asia Without Borders Seminar
John Guy, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Chair: Jinah Kim, Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University
Cosponsored with the Harvard Asia Center
Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 05:30pm
Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 07:00pm
485 Broadway, Cambridge MA 02138
South Asia Without Borders Seminar
Muhammad Zahir, SAI Aman Fellow; Lecturer, Department of Archaeology, Hazara University, Pakistan
Chair: Richard Meadow, Director of the Zooarchaeology Laboratory, Harvard Peabody Museum; Senior-Lecturer, Harvard Anthropology Department
Thu, May 1, 2014 at 04:00pm
Thu, May 1, 2014 at 05:30pm
Cosponsored with Harvard University Graduate School of Design; Oxford Brookes University School of Architecture; Harvard University South Asia Institute; Habitat for Humanity; International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
Mon, May 5, 2014
Wed, May 7, 2014