The Asian Studies Centre was founded in 1982 at St Antony's College and is primarily a co-ordinating organisation which exists to bring together specialists from a wide variety of different disciplines. Geographically, the Centre predominantly covers South, Southeast and East Asia. The Asian Studies Centre works closely with scholars in the Oriental Institute, the Oxford China Centre, the Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme and the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies (in premises at St Antony's). The Asian Studies Centre is host to the Taiwan Studies Programme, Modern Burmese Studies Programme, the South Asian History Seminar Series and the Southeast Asian Studies Seminar Series.
Freedom Between Order and Chaos: Reading a Political Satire From India
Freedom Between Order and Chaos: Reading a Political Satire From India Jyotirmaya Sharma (University of Hyderabad) speaks at the Oxford South Asian Intellectual History Seminar on 16 May 2022. For queries, please contact seminar convenors at saih@history Hasyarnava or The Ocean of Mirth, a medieval Sanskrit political satire, delineates two compelling themes that require serious consideration. First, the Indic traditions underline the centrality of order in a polity. This preoccupation is underlined by the supremacy of the Rajadharma-dandaniti framework. A great deal of violence and cruelty inheres within this framework. Second, if the order is the site for violence and force, it follows that a glimpse of freedom, unshackled from the conventional implications of the purusharthas can only be had in upholding the desirability of disorder. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/
Queer Azaadi and the origins of Indian homonationalism in Kashmir
In 2019, the Indian government unilaterally revoked the autonomy of the disputed region of Kashmir amidst one of the harshest and longest military blockades and communications blackouts in history of the region In 2019, the Indian government unilaterally revoked the autonomy of the disputed region of Kashmir amidst one of the harshest and longest military blockades and communications blackouts in history of the region. While the move was primarily justified as a national security imperative that would also bring economic prosperity to Kashmir, one of the tertiary arguments that was put forth in support of the move was a celebration of the revocation of autonomy as a victory for LGBTQ+ rights.
How did a right-wing Hindu nationalist government, which had - less than a decade ago - vociferously opposed LGBTQ+ rights, suddenly adopt such progressive rhetoric? Was there any truth to the government's claims or was it yet another form of "pinkwashing" intended for an international audience? And what does the adoption of LGBTQ+ rights language by the Indian government in Kashmir mean for the broader future of LGBTQ+ rights in India?
Anish Gawande is a writer and a translator. He is the Director of the Dara Shikoh Fellowship in India and the Curator of Pink List India, the country's first archive of politicians supporting LGBTQIA+ rights. Anish Gawande is currently a Rhodes Scholar finishing his MPP degree in Intellectual History at Oxford.
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Pan-Nationalist Notions of Rights, Indian Khilafat Movement and the Treaty of Lausanne (1923)
Talk by Cemil Aydin from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Cemil Aydin (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) speaks at the Oxford South Asian Intellectual History Seminar on 6 June 2022. For queries, please contact seminar convenors at firstname.lastname@example.org. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/
Expulsion as Statecraft: Histories of Violence from the Asian Expulsion of 1972 to the Banyarwanda Crisis of 1982
Alicia Decker (Penn State) as part of the Conference - Expulsion: Uganda’s Asians and the Remaking of Nationality Between October 2 and December 31, 1982, nearly 80,000 Banyarwanda – most of whom were citizens of Uganda – were violently expelled from their homes by state operatives in Mbarara and
Bushenyi Districts. Approximately half fled to neighboring Rwanda, while the rest crowded into existing refugee settlements in the southwest or found themselves stranded on the Ugandan side of the border at Merema Hill. Unlike the Asian expulsion of 1972, the Banyarwanda were not given ninety days to prepare. Instead, they were attacked in their homes and forced to flee without a
moment’s notice. Most of the displaced lost everything they owned – their homes, their valuables, and their cattle. International observers also reported multiple instances of rape and suicide. I do not wish to suggest that the Asian expulsion was any less violent or traumatic. On the contrary, I argue that it provided a dangerous template that was later used by those in power to justify and carry out the next brutal eviction. Indeed, as this presentation reveals, expulsion functioned as a militarized form of statecraft that bolstered, and then later undermined, the integrity of the
Alicia C. Decker is an associate professor and department head of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the Pennsylvania State University, with courtesy appointments in the African Studies Program and the Department of History. She also co-directs the African Feminist Initiative with Gabeba Baderoon and Maha Marouan. She is the author of In Idi Amin’s Shadow: Women, Gender, and Militarism in Uganda (Ohio UP, 2014), and co-author with Andrea L. Arrington-Sirois of Africanizing Democracies: 1980-Present (Oxford UP, 2015). She is the co-editor of “African
Feminisms: Cartographies for the 21st Century,” a special issue of Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism (2018) and “African Feminist Subjectivities,” a special issue of Feminist Formations(forthcoming 2024). With Giacomo Macola, she co-edits a book series on War and Militarism in African History (Ohio University Press) and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of African Military History. Her scholarly articles have appeared in the International Journal of African Historical Studies, Women’s History Review, Journal of Eastern African Studies, History Teacher, Afriche e Orienti, Feminist Studies, Journal of African Military History, and Meridians, as well as various edited book collections. Decker is currenting working on a new book that explores the gendered legacies of militarism in Uganda after the collapse of Amin’s military state. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/
Insecurities of Expulsion: Race, Violence, Citizenship and Afro-Asian Entanglements in Transregional Uganda
Anneeth Kaur Hundle (UC Irvine) as part of the Conference - Expulsion: Uganda’s Asians and the Remaking of Nationality In this short talk, I offer a synopsis of my forthcoming book and its core interventions. Namely, I recenter contemporary Uganda within scholarly discussion on the 1972 Asian expulsion. I assess the exceptional ways in which the 1972 Asian expulsion is understood within global knowledge formations, arguing that expulsion is a “critical event” with lingering effects and affects in territorial
Uganda and its diasporas, which I situate as the “insecurities of expulsion." Despite the historic expulsion of Ugandan Asians, South Asian-ness continues to define the very constitution of the
Ugandan nation and the normative construction of (racially nativist) Ugandan national identity. Ugandan postcolonial governments have shifted from policies and practices of Asian racial expulsion to maintaining racial exclusion while incorporating Ugandan Asian returnees and South Asian subjects as racial non-citizens and economic subjects. I utilize the post-liberal democratic analytic of “non-citizenship” to explore gradations in substantive privileges, rights and entitlements and exclusions across Ugandan Asian returnee and new South Asian migrant communities across old and new imperial and sub-imperial formations, orienting us to the study of Afro-Asian entanglements and the broader decolonization of political community in both national and transregional scope. Ultimately, I am proposing an “anthropology of Afro-Asian entanglements”-an arena of study that is concerned with the ways in which indigenous Africans and South Asians are bound together in relations of interdependency, hierarchy, intimacy and estrangement both within territorial Uganda and its transregional geographies across the Indian Ocean and North Atlantic.
Anneeth Kaur Hundle is assistant professor of anthropology and Dhan Kaur Sahota Presidential Chair of Sikh Studies in the Department of Anthropology at University of California, Irvine (UCI). Prior to UCI, she was Visiting Professor at the Center for African Studies at UC Berkeley, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UC Merced, and Research Associate at the Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. She is completing a book manuscript entitled, Insecurities of Expulsion: Race, Violence, Citizenship and Afro-Asian Relationalities in Transregional Uganda and beginning work on two new projects on Sikh feminisms and the intersections of Sikh Studies and university studies. She is also involved in new research clusters on Global Africa/Global Blackness, Interrogating South Asia/diasporas and Decolonizing Universities in Global Perspective with her colleagues at UCI. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/
Afrocentrism and the Indian Question: A Continental Reckoning with the Ugandan Expulsion
Shobana Shanker (Stonybrook) as part of the Conference - Expulsion: Uganda’s Asians and the Remaking of Nationality Most accounts of Idi Amin’s expulsion of Asians from Uganda in 1972 assume that African leaders and the Organization of African Unity were largely silent or unmoved to action. This interpretation assumes that Africans understood the Asian expulsion as a political problem—by contrast, I argue that Africans understood the question of Indian settlers as a fundamental problem of the postcolonial condition, connected to the very definition of African selfhood. I explore the significance of the Indian question around the African continent to the formation of intersecting
movements of anticolonialism, antiracism, nationalism, Pan-Africanism (which was a critical antidote to nationalism), and Afrocentrism. Contrary to simplistic renderings of African responses to Idi Amin’s anti-Asian racialism, African reckoning with African-Indian entanglements garnered dynamic and long-lasting African cultural responses—even where Indian settlers were few—that produced new African-Indian negotiations on the continent and among African migrants in India.
Shobana Shankar is Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies at Stony Brook University, in New York. Her research focuses on cultural encounters and politics in West Africa and Africa-India networks, especially in religion, intellectual history, health, and education. Her most recent book, An Uneasy Embrace: Africa, India and the Spectre of Race (Hurst, 2021), grew out of her meeting with Muslim Indian missionaries in Nigeria, during the course of her research for her first book Who Shall Enter Paradise? Christian Origins in Muslim Northern Nigeria, c.1890-1975 (Ohio University Press). She has also co-edited two collections of essays on religion and globalization. Her recent articles focus on Ghanaian Hinduism, reformism in Nigeria, and Senegal’s Afro-Dravidian movement. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/