Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

The Dalit Studies Conference

Wednesday, December 3, 2008 - 09:00 to Friday, December 5, 2008 - 05:00

The Dalit Studies Conference

A conference organized and funded by
Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI)

with additional support from the University of Pennsylvania's

Center for Africana Studies
Department of South Asia Studies
South Asia Center

and Temp Solutions

Hosted at
The Inn at Penn
3600 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Regent / St. Mark’s Room on the lobby level / second floor

Registration Is Required of All Non-Panelists

Six Dalit Paradoxes
D. Shyam Babu & Chandra Bhan Prasad, Economic & Political Weekly, June 6, 2009

The Center for the Advanced Study of India with the Department of South Asia Studies, the South Asia Center and the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania will hold a major conference on critical issues relating to Dalit Studies December 3-5, 2008 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This will be the most significant conference on Dalit Studies to be held in an academic institution in the United States and we are pleased that the University of Pennsylvania has taken a lead on this front.

We plan to bring together academics and intellectuals from both within and outside of formal academic institutions, including the many organic intellectuals who have kept alive India’s Dalit movement by following Dr. Ambedkar’s injunction to “educate, organize, and agitate.” The purpose of the conference will be to evaluate strategies for ensuring that Dalit agendas are recognized by and incorporated into mainstream academic dialogue and to assess the various political and social agendas, both contemporary and historical, that have sought to improve the lives of Dalits. These include Dalit political formations; print media and literary movements; colonial and postcolonial governmental practices and policies; initiatives for social and economic empowerment; feminist struggles; critiques of nationalist and radical movements; and diasporic activism. The conference will result in the production of an edited volume that will bring various Dalit agendas into dialogue and examine the conditions and contradictions of Dalit social mobility in contemporary India.

The University of Pennsylvania has been at the forefront of area studies since 1942 when Prof. W. Norman Brown pioneered the study of modern India fifteen years before area studies began appearing at other US colleges and universities. This legacy strongly continues at the School of Arts and Sciences through the work of the Department of South Asian Studies, the mission of the South Asia Center, and the superior holdings of the South Asian Studies Collection at Penn’s Van Pelt Library. The Center for the Advanced Study of India, founded in 1992 by political scientist, Prof. Francine Frankel, further expands Penn’s scholarly leadership on South Asian studies with its focus on contemporary India. In 2006, Prof. Devesh Kapur became the new director. Today, the Center for the Advanced Study of India is recognized as a national resource and the sole research institution in the US dedicated to the study of contemporary India, addressing the urgent need for objective knowledge of India’s rapidly changing society, politics and economy, and the processes of transformation underway in an ancient civilization emerging as a major power.

We look forward to seeing you in Philadelphia!

Prof. Devesh Kapur
Director & Madan Lal Sobti Professor
for the Study of Contemporary India
Center for the Advanced Study of India 

Dr. Ramnarayan S. Rawat
Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow 
in South Asian History (2006-2009)
Department of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania 


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

5:30-5:45 PM        Welcome and Introduction to the Conference

                             Devesh Kapur, CASI Director, University of Pennsylvania; and Ramnarayan Rawat, Department of South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania

5:45-6:00 PM        Opening Remarks – Provost Ronald Daniels, University of Pennsylvania 

6:00-7:30 PM        Keynote Speaker – Dr. Narendra Jadhav, Vice Chancellor, University of Pune

                            “Empowerment of Dalits and Adivasis Role of Education in the Emerging Economy”

Thursday, December 4, 2008

8:00-8:30 AM        Breakfast, Woodlands C / D (lobby level / second floor)

8:30-10:30 AM      Panel I: The Political Paradox 

                             Chair: Priya Joshi, Temple University

                             Ramnarayan Rawat, University of Pennsylvania

                             Chinnaiah Jangam, Wagner College

                             Gopal Guru, Jawaharlal Nehru University

                             Discussant:   Douglas Haynes, Dartmouth College

10:30-10:45 AM   Coffee Break                                                                                            

10:45 AM to 12:45 PM  Panel II: The Religious Paradox

                             Chair: Jamal J. Elias, University of Pennsylvania

                             Sanal Mohan, M.G University (Kottayam, Kerala)

                             Rajkumar Hans, M.S. University (Baroda, Gujarat)

                             Rupa Viswanath, University of Pennsylvania

                             Discussants:  Lucinda Ramberg, University of Kentucky 

12:45-1:45 PM      Lunch, Woodlands C / D

1:45-3:45 PM        Panel III: The Paradox of Indian Feminism

                             Chair: Ania Loomba, University of Pennsylvania

                             Shailaja Paik, Union College

                             Laura Brueck, University of Colorado, Boulder

                             Jebroja Singh, William Patterson University

                             Discussant: Mrinalini Sinha, Pennsylvania State University

3:45-4:00 PM        Coffee Break

4:00-5:30 PM        Roundtable I

                             The African-American and Dalit Experiences: A Comparative Discussion of Marginality and Empowerment

                              Chair: Ramnarayan Rawat, University of Pennsylvania

                              Barbara D. Savage, University of Pennsylvania; Tukufu Zuberi, University of Pennsylvania; Gopal Guru, Jawaharlal Nehru University;

                              and Chandra Bhan Prasad, The Pioneer


Friday, December 5, 2008

8:00-8:30 AM       Breakfast, Woodlands C / D (lobby level / second floor)

8:30-10:30 AM     Panel IV:  The Paradox of Marxist and Non-Brahman Ideologies 

                            Chair:  Atul Kohli, Princeton University

                            K. Satyanarayana, The English and Foreign Languages University (Hyderabad)

                            Hugo Gorringe, University of Edinburgh

                            MSS Pandian, Centre for the Study of Developing Socieites (New Delhi)

                            Discussant: Sudipta Kaviraj, Columbia University

10:30-10:45 AM   Coffee Break

10:45 AM to 12:45 PM    Panel V:  The Paradox of Postcolonial State  

                           Chair: Gail Omvedt, Indian Institute of Advanced Study

                           Sambaiah Gundimeda, SOAS, University of London 

                           D. Shyam Babu, Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies

                           Surinder Jodhka, Jawaharlal Nehru University 

                           Discussant: Steven I. Wilkinson, University of Chicago

12:45-1:30 PM      Lunch, Woodlands C / D

1:30-3:30 PM      Panel VI:  The Paradox of the Market

                           Chair: Narendra Jadhav, University of Pune

                           Chandra Bhan Prasad, The Pioneer, and Devesh Kapur, CASI, University of Pennsylvania

                           Karthik Muralidharan, University of California, San Diego

                           Katherine S. Newman, Princeton University, and Paul Attewell, CUNY

                           Discussant: Lant Pritchett, Harvard University

3:30-3:45 PM        Coffee Break

3:45-5:30 PM        Roundtable II.

                             India’s Future and the Future of Dalits

                             Chair: Devesh Kapur, University of Pennsylvania

                             Narendra Jadhav, University of Pune; Gail Omvedt, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, JJ Irani, Tata