Filipe Themudo Barata and João Magalhães Rocha
Lecture Faculty and Staff Coordinators
South Asian Studies Program Chair
Soli Sorabjee Lectures in South Asian Studies
About the Soli Sorabjee Lecture Series
This lecture series engages with themes of "justice" -- broadly defined to include the interrogation of human rights, historical narratives, literary and political representations, gender and social justice, citizenship and democracy, and cross-border connections between the nations of South Asia. Our goal is to expose students at Brandeis (and the larger public) to the scholarship being conducted in the multidisciplinary fields of South Asian Studies, both in the United States and in South Asia itself, as well as to the vast range of South Asian intellectual and artistic traditions. The series is sponsored by the South Asian Studies Program. It was named after the honorable Soli J. Sorabjee, former attorney general of India and a friend of Brandeis University.
Fall 2015 Lecture
The Political Theology of Modern Yoga
Featuring Christian Lee Novetzke, Professor of Comparative Religion, South Asia Studies, and International Studies at the University of Washington
Thursday, November 12, 2015
5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Admissions Presentation Room, Shapiro Admission Center
Yoga represents far more than a set of healthy stretches or mind-calming exercises. Yoga is a civilizational force that reshapes the societies that embrace it. Our studies of yoga have investigated the history, literature, and practice of yoga, and many commentators have studied the formation of yoga as a cultural commodity in the modern world. Yet a key aspect of yoga as a civilizational force has elided critique. This is an understanding of the politics of yoga, and in particular, of the politics at its core.
In his talk, Professor Christian Lee Novetzkee will discuss yoga as a political ideology and, in particular, as counterpoint to the current resurgence of debates about “political theology,” the secularization of formerly religious concepts. As yoga moves ever closer to the center of American life, he will seek to understand how this growth may influence far more than our physical or mental health, but might alter our shared political life as well.
Christian Lee Novetzke is Professor of Comparative Religion, South Asia Studies, and International Studies at the University of Washington. His scholarly work includes the books Religion and Public Memory (Columbia University Press 2008), The Quotidian Revolution (Columbia University Press 2017), and Amar Akbar Anthony: Bollywood, Brotherhood, and the Nation, with William Elison and Andy Rotman (Harvard University Press 2016).
Past Soli Sorabjee Lectures
Thursday, April 30, 2015
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Presentation Room, Shapiro Admissions Center
Speaker: Filipe Themudo Barata, Associate Professor of History at the University of Évora
Topic: "When the World was a Place of the Unknown and Vasco da Gama United the East and the West"
The first voyage of Vasco da Gama to East Africa and India took place in 1497-99. At this time, knowledge about the world was still unclear and the quest for Christians beyond the boundaries of Christendom was one of the main goals of the expedition. Another goal was to create a new Spice Route, which could withdraw the commerce monopoly that the Italian cities of Venice and Genova had at the time. The seaborne empire which was created took time to build and to settle, as this lecture will try to critically illustrate.
Speaker: João Magalhães Rocha, Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Évora
Topic: "A Heritage Memory: the Portuguese Architectural Settlements on the Indian West Coast"
The accomplishment of Vasco da Gama enterprise was possible also due to the vision carried out by Afonso de Albuquerque, who became governor of Portuguese India between 1509-1515 and is the author of the real Portuguese settlement program in Indian Ocean. The lecture will present an overview of these major architectural works, many located in the cities of Goa, Damão and Diu. Moreover it will try to illustrate how these buildings represent an architectural continuity and variation from previous Portuguese constructions also in Morocco representing an advanced knowledge in engineering and constructive systems.
Featuring Arindam Dutta, Associate Professor of Architectural History and Director of the History, Theory, Criticism Program in Art and Architecture, and the SMArchS Program at MIT
Monday, November 17, 2014
5:30 - 7 p.m.
Presentation Room, Shapiro Admissions Center
Soli Sorabjee Lecture in South Asian Studies and The Richard Saivetz '69 Annual Memorial Architectural Symposium
Presented by the South Asian Studies Program and the Department of Fine Arts
Chair: Prof. Talinn Grigor, Department of Fine Arts, Brandeis University
Friday, April 4, 2014
4 - 8 p.m.
Presentation Room, Shapiro Admissions Center, Brandeis University
On April 4, 2014, a merging of two lecture series—The Soli Sorabjee Lectures in South Asian Studies and the Richard Saivetz ’69 Annual Memorial Architectural Symposium, sponsored by the South Asian Studies program and the Department of Fine Arts—was presented to a group of eager Brandeis students and scholars of South Asia and fine arts.
Dr. Aruna D'Souza
Thursday, October 10, 5 p.m.
Shapiro Admissions Center
Our Fall 2013 lecture featured Professor Aruna D'Souza, a writer, critic, historian of modern and contemporary art, and a cultural critic who writes on food’s relation to memory and trauma. Professor D'Souza's research interests include issues of feminism, post colonialism, and globalization. She is currently finishing two projects: a book titled Open Secrets: Intimacy Between Street and Home, and a memoir-slash-cookbook, Kitchen Stories: Essays on Food, Love, and Loss. She is the author of Cézanne’s Bathers: Biography and the Erotics of Paint, and co-editor of the 2013 volume Art History in the Wake of the Global Turn. Her criticism has been published in Art in America, Bookforum, Time Out New York, and Art Margins.
Prof. Inderpal Grewal from Yale University
Thursday, February 28, 5 p.m.
Shapiro Admissions Center, Presentation Room
Our Spring 2013 lecture featured Professor Inderpal Grewal from the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at Yale University. Her research interests include transnational feminist theory; gender and globalization, human rights; NGO’s and theories of civil society; theories of travel and mobility; South Asian cultural studies, and postcolonial feminism. She is the author of Home and Harem: Nation, Gender, Empire and the Cultures of Travel (Duke University Press, 1996) and Transnational America: Feminisms, Diasporas, Neoliberalisms (Duke University Press, 2005). Currently she is working on a book length project on the relation between feminist practices and security discourses.
Author, Mohsin Hamid
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 5:00pm
Mandel Center Forum
Our Fall 2012 lecture featured Mohsin Hamid, author of the novels Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and the forthcoming How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. His fiction has been translated into over 30 languages, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, featured on bestseller lists, and adapted for the cinema. His short stories have appeared in Granta and the Paris Review, and his essays in the Guardian, the New York Times, and the New York Review of Books. Born in 1971, he has lived about half his life, on and off, in Lahore.
Prof. Bina Agarwal from The Institute of Economic Growth, University of Delhi
March 19, 2012
Our Spring 2012 lecture featured prize-winning economist Bina Agarwal, Director and Professor of Economics at the Institute of Economic Growth, New Delhi, India. Ms. Agarwal gave an inspiring lecture in Rapaporte Treasure Hall, Goldfarb Library, drawing upon her most recent book, Gender and Green Governance. She spoke of the historical absence of women from forest governance and in particular the impact of women's presence in making a significant change in environmental preservation.
We regret that streaming video is not available for this lecture.
Prof. Jyoti Puri from Simmons College
November 2, 2011
Our Fall 2011 Lecture featured Professor Jyoti Puri, sociology professor at Simmons College. She lectured to a packed atrium in the Mandel Center for the Humanities, on her fieldwork among police in New Delhi. Her presentation explored the enforcement of sodomy law, or Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. She analyzed the discourses through which Delhi police name some groups as consistently queer and criminal even while allowing for the possibility of the decriminalization of homosexuality.
Prof. Vijay Prashad from Trinity College
March 3, 2011
Our Spring 2011 lecture featured acclaimed author Vijay Prashad, George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford. Professor Prashad gave a rousing lecture at Rapaporte Treasure Hall, Goldfarb Library on the desi communities reaction to 9/11 and subsequent events.
Prof. Corey Creekmur from the University of Iowa
October 28, 2010
Our Fall 2010 lecture featured Professor Corey Creekmur, head of Film Studies at the University of Iowa, and an expert in international popular cinema. Professor Creekmur lectured in front of a crowd of over 100 in the Mandel Center for the Humanities on the recent portrayal of colonial history in Indian cinema.
Delivered by Soli Sorabjee
April 14, 2010
Our Spring 2010 lecture featured a special visit by Mr. Sorabjee to Brandeis. Mr. Sorabjee delivered an inspiring speech to a packed crowd in Rapaporte Treasure Hall on how the "rule of law" has been applied across India and elsewhere to moderate the forces of extremism and tyranny.
Video of the lecture (temporarily unavailable)
February 25, 2010
The Spring 2010 lecture was held on February 25, 2010. Our guest was Paromita Vohra, one of India's leading documentary filmmakers. Ms. Vohra screened two of her recent films, met with students, and answered questions from the audience.
The co-sponsors for this event included the Department of English, the South Asian Studies Program, the Program in Women's and Gender Studies and the Program in Cultural Production.
Prof. Sugata Bose, Gardiner Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs, Harvard University
November 16, 2009
The inaugural lecture was held on November 16, 2009. Prof. Sugata Bose, Gardiner Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs at Harvard University, delivered a lecture entitled "Different Universalisms, Colorful Cosmopolitanisms: The Global Imagination of the Colonized."