The Operation of Social Inequality in Himalayan Resource Management @ Room 120, North Ross Building
Feb 3 @ 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

tseringWith Tashi Tsering
YCAR/ABMP Short-Term Postdoctoral Visitor in Asian Governance

Political ecologists argue that environment and development issues are better understood by examining power relations between ‘actors’ and affected groups such as members of different class and gender, which in turn requires understanding of relevant regional historical and cultural contexts. In this presentation, I will discuss my PhD study, “Social Inequality and Resource Management: Gender, Caste and Class in Rural Himalayas”, for which I used such a political ecology approach known as Agrarian Environments.

The study aims to understand how gender, caste and class roles operate in irrigation systems of Tibetan Buddhist villages in an arid Western Himalayan region of India. Irrigation related work in these villages have been undertaken by women for centuries. Within this gendered irrigation system, there are severe inequalities of access rights and work responsibilities between women of different caste and class backgrounds.

Based on participatory observation and interviews with farmers, as well as an analysis of historical and legal documents, the study argues that (the sustained) operation of gender, caste and class inequalities in irrigation, or for that matter in any other resource sector, can be best understood as part of a broader organization of labor for farming and related resources, such as firewood, dung and fodder. This is significant because normally different resource sectors are studied in isolation and not relationally, which is partly due to analytical difficulties of separating or combining different resource sectors. This ultimately hinders theoretical understanding of how gender, caste and class inequalities operate across different resource sectors.

In order to redress this problem, the study identifies key operational linkages between farming and related resource sectors. In doing this, the study shows that an Agrarian Environments approach, which focuses on relevant issues at micro (politics of gender, caste, class within community) and macro (state, history, market, etc.) levels of analysis, can be complemented by a Polanyian approach to study of economy as instituted process, forming the missing meso level analysis of village economy.

All are welcome. This talk is presented as part of the Department of Geography Colloquium Series.

How did Chinese Gynecology become Korean? A Comparative Case Study of “Women’s Diseases” in Heo Jun’s Precious Mirror of Eastern Medicine (Dongui bogam, 1613) @ Room 280A, Second Floor, York Lanes
Feb 12 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Yi-Li Wu
Research Fellow, EASTmedicine Research Cluster, University of Westminster

The Precious Mirror of Eastern Medicine is a foundational work of Korean medicine and a cultural treasure, listed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. Its chief author, the imperial physician Heo Jun (1539-1615), synthesized Chinese classical medicine with local knowledge to articulate a specifically Korean approach to healing. This talk examines how Heo Jun transformed Chinese teachings on female blood and childbirth to create a new model of the gendered female medical body. In addition to providing an illuminating case study of medical exchange in East Asia, Heo Jun’s work suggests new ways of thinking about the relationship between society, gender and medicine in China and Korea.

This event is part of the Knowledge Production in East Asia seminar series, and is organized by Joan Judge (History) and the Critical China Studies Reading Group at YCAR.

Iran’s role in South and Central Asia @ Room 120E, Stedman Hall
Feb 13 @ 9:30 am – 1:00 pm

This event is part of the South and Central Asia Project Workshop organized by Sergei Plekhanov (Political Science). For more information on the series, click here.

US Presence and Goals in South and Central Asia @ Room 120E, Stedman Hall
Feb 20 @ 9:30 am – 1:00 pm

This event is part of the South and Central Asia Project Workshop organized by Sergei Plekhanov (Political Science). For more information on the series, click here.


“The Search for India”: Looking back at Jawaharlal Nehru @ York University
Feb 23 all-day

Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 – 1964) was one of the foremost leaders of India’s struggle for independence and became the first Prime Minister of independent India in 1947. Nehru’s India was known for its internationalism, non-alignment, secularism, a drive for scientific education and state-led economic development. Today, 125 years since his birth, and in an India of the 21st century, the relevance of many of these ideas are being debated. As one contribution to these debates, this workshop explores a number of significant aspects of the nation-building process in India during the Nehru years, including issues of ethnicity, cultural nationalism, nationalism and nationalities, economic growth and social equity, and the challenges of foreign policy.

Keynote by Suranjan Das, University of Calcutta (9:45am)
Jawaharlal Nehru and Nation-Building in India: Towards a Reappraisal

Suranjan Das is Professor of History and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calcutta. His many publications include Communal Riots in Bengal 1905-1947 (Oxford University Press, 1991 and 1993); Kashmir and Sindh: Ethnicity, Nation-Building and Regional Politics in South Asia (Calcutta and London, 2001) and The Food Movement of 1959: Documenting a Turning Point in the History of West Bengal, jointly with Premangsu Kumar Bandyopadhyay. (Calcutta, 2004).

Building the Indian Nation (10:45am to 1:00pm)
Nehruvian Progressivism and the Making of Indian Democracy (1947-1951)
Subho Basu, McGill University
Know Thyself?: Encountering the National Subject in the Work of Nirad C. Chaudhuri
Anindo Hazra, York University
Universities in the Age of Inequality: Thinking with Nehru and Tagore
Ananya Mukherjee Reed, York University

Lunch (1:00pm to 2:00pm)

Nehru’s India and the World (2:00 to 4:00pm)
A Tryst with the World: Formative years of Indian Foreign Policy Making 1947-1964
Shantanu Chakrabarti, University of Calcutta
Non-Alignment, 1946-65: Its Establishment and Struggle against Afro-Asianism
Lorenz Luthi, McGill University

This workshop is organized by Adrian Shubert and Ananya Mukherjee-Reed with the support of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute.

Please RSVP to ycar@yorku.ca by Monday, 16 February 2015.

How Pink Turned Red: Queer Bodies and Postsecular Geopolitics in South Korea @ Room 280A, Second Floor, York Lanes
Feb 25 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Talk by Ju Hui Judy Han, Department of Human Geography, University of Toronto, Scarborough

This is the third lecture in the Heterogeneity and Korean Identity in the Twentieth-First Century speaker series at York University. The speaker series will focus on the works of both established senior and groundbreaking junior scholars in the fields of globalization, transnational labour and class in South Korea.

The series is supported by The Korea Foundation, the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, the Office of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation and the York Centre for Asian Research.

For more information on the series, visit: http://ycar.apps01.yorku.ca/events/lecture-series/korea-speaker-series/.


Critical Approaches to South Asian Studies Workshop 2015 @ 280N York Lanes and 519 Kaneff Tower
Feb 26 – Feb 27 all-day


Third Critical South Asian Studies Workshop

For more information on the South Asia Research Group or the workshop, please click here.

People and Dam Ecologies in Lao PDR @ Room 626, Sixth Floor, Kaneff Tower
Feb 26 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

Ian Baird, University of Wisconsin at Madison

This event is part of the Critical Asian Political Ecologies Seminars, organized by Peter Vandergeest (Geography) and Robin Roth (Geography)



Love and Hate in South Asia: Rethinking Humanity after 1971 @ Room 519, Fifith Floor, Kaneff Tower
Feb 26 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Keynote Address by Yasmin Saikia, Arizona State University
Critical Approaches to South Asian Studies Workshop, York University
Remembered experiences of violence, humiliation, and loss suffered in the 1971 war of Bangladesh provide potent materials for rethinking a new narrative bonding victim and perpetrator communities in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Using the war as my entry point, I explore survivors oral narratives to understand how love for nation and hate toward their perceived enemies created and revealed the distances with others to violate them. More than four decades later, survivors – men and women from Bangladesh and Pakistan – search for a human identity beyond national labels for imagining history in the subcontinent that is discontinuous but interconnected. The “narrative hospitality” (Ricoeur, 1992) of victims and perpetrators exchanging memories for self-recognition and intersubjective relationship with others suggests a possibility of recognizing and coexisting with a variety of others in memory. The quest of survivors is not to find identity, but to create a common ground signaling an awareness of human connections for achieving true human freedom in the sub-continent.
Yasmin Saikia is Professor of History and the first holder of the Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies at Arizona State University. Originally from Assam in northeast India, Yasmin had her early education at Aligarh Muslim University (India) and completed her graduate and doctoral work at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of three monographs, an edited book, and numerous articles and book chapters. Her recently published book, Women, War, and the Making of Bangladesh: Remembering 1971 (Duke University Press, 2011) explores the story of the war of 1971 highlighting the memories of victims and perpetrators of violence spread across India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
N. Sivalingam Memorial Lecture on Tamil Studies with Nimmi Gowrinathan @ Room 280N, Second Floor, York Lanes
Mar 6 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Nimmi Gowrinathan will give the first N. Sivalingam Memorial Lecture on Tamil Studies at York University on 6 March 2015.

The Female Fight: Gender & Violence in Sri Lanka

Dr. Gowrinathan is an expert on gender and violence, and the creator of deviarchy.com. She is currently a Visiting Research Professor at the Colin Powell Center for Global and Civic Leadership at City College New York, directing the Politics of Sexual Violence Initiative. She is also the Executive Producer, developing the Vice News Women in/at War Series. She has recently been the Gender Expert for the United Nations Human Development Report on Afghanistan and a policy consultant and analyst for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and the International Crisis Group, researching and analyzing gender inclusion in peace-building and women’s insecurities in conflict zones.

She was formerly the Director of South Asia Programs and UN Representative for Operation USA, and international disaster relief organization. In this capacity she has lived and worked in Sri Lanka, India, and Pakistan monitoring small grants to community-based organizations. Dr. Gowrinathan received her PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has published both academic articles and journalistic pieces on humanitarian intervention and gender and violence for Foreign Affairs, Huffington Post, Monkeycage.org, Humanitarian Practice Network, Oxford’s STAIR Review, World Policy Institute, and Gawker.com and Vice News among others. Her most recent articles are featured in Foreign Affairs, “The Women of ISIS“, and “The Missing Women in the U.S. Torture Report”, and “Artful Democracy” in Outlook Magazine.