South Asia Speaker Series Announced – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

South Asia Speaker Series Announced

Professor Amna Imam, of the SUNY Brockport Department of Public Administration, will kick off the next three South Asia Speaker Series (SASS)  lectures of the semester with a discussion, “Pakistan: Governance Reform in a Nascent Democracy Plagued by Extremist Violence,” on Thursday, March 24.  

The South Asia Speaker Series was conceived in the fall of 2009 by Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Anthony Cerulli, Assistant Professor of Political Science Vikash Yadav, and Assistant Professor of Economics Feisal Khan.

The purpose of the series is to foster awareness on campus of South Asian culture, history, and scholarship on issues pertaining to the countries in South Asia, says Cerulli.  “The series is set up to provide a multidisciplinary forum for scholars and students of South Asian Studies, at HWS and elsewhere, to present their research.”

Imam was in the Pakistani Civil Service before starting her Ph.D. work in public administration at UCLA’s School of Policy. In addition to her expertise on the region as a university professor, Imam also worked as a sub-divisional magistrate in Karachi, Pakistan; she has firsthand experience with the administration of parts of the country.  Her March 24 appearance at HWS will be part lecture, part discussion, on the topic of rebuilding Pakistan’s government and the United States’ involvement in the process. The event will take place on campus, in the Blackwell Room of Demarest Hall from  7 to 8:30 p.m.

On Thursday, April 14, Professor Subhasish Ray will join the series. Ray is a professor of political science at the University of Rochester, from which he also received his Ph.D.  According to the University of Rochester, his recently-completed dissertation explores the link between the promotion of democracy and ethnic violence. His talk for the SASS will be closely related to this topic: “Foreign-imposed Democratization and Ethnic Violence: The Partition Violence in Punjab, August 1947.”

“Subhasish Ray’s talk will offer a lot to help our students understand the 50-plus-years of aggression that have existed between Pakistan and India, why the two countries have fought four wars (counting Kargil as a minor border war), and why each nation continues to stand at the ready with nuclear arsenals directed at the other,” Cerulli says.  This event will also take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m.  in the Blackwell Room of Demarest Hall.

The final SASS event of the academic year will be a two-part presentation by Cerulli. His talk, “Epic Retold: The Fluidity of the Ramayana through the Ages,” will include a screening of “Sita Sings the Blues.” Cerulli received his Ph.D. in history of religions from the University of Chicago and has been teaching at the Colleges since 2008. The event will take place on Tuesday, May 3, and will be in the Sanford Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Popcorn will be served in addition to the refreshments that are made available at each event.