People

Organizers

Karuna Mantena

Karuna Mantena is Associate Professor of Political Science. She holds a BSc(Econ) in International Relations from the London School of Economics (1995), an MA in Ideology and Discourse Analysis from the University of Essex (1996), and a PhD in Government from Harvard University (2004).

Her research interests include modern political thought, modern social theory, the theory and history of empire, and South Asian politics and history. Her first book, Alibis of Empire: Henry Maine and the Ends of Liberal Imperialism (2010), analyzed the transformation of nineteenth-century British imperial ideology. Her current work focuses on political realism and the political thought of M.K. Gandhi.

Since 2011, Karuna Mantena has been serving as co-director of the International Conference for the Study of Political Thought. And she is also currently the Chair of the South Asian Studies Council at Yale University.

 

Rohit De

Rohit De is a historian of modern South Asia and is particularly interested in legal history.

Rohit received his Ph.D from Princeton University, where he was elected to the Society of Woodrow Wilson Scholars. His dissertation won the Law and Society Association Prize in 2013. He was the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for History and Economics and at Trinity Hall at the University of Cambridge before coming to Yale in 2014. Rohit received his law degrees from the Yale Law School and the National Law School of India University, Bangalore.

Rohit is currently completing a book that explores how the Indian constitution, despite its elite authorship and alien antecedents, came to permeate everyday life and imagination in India during its transition from a colonial state to a democratic republic. Mapping the use and appropriation of constitutional language and procedure by diverse groups such as butchers and sex workers, street vendors and petty businessmen, journalists and women social workers, it offers a constitutional history from below.

Phyllis Granoff

Phyllis Granoff joined the Yale faculty on July 1, 2004. She previously taught at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and has held visiting positions at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Berkeley, and Harvard. She has done research in all of the classical religions of India–Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and has published articles on Indian art and literature. Her interests include contemporary Indian literature and she has published translations of short stories from Bengali and Oriya. She edits the Journal of Indian Philosophy.Her recent publications include The Victorious Ones: Jain Images of Perfection, an edited volume that  accompanied the exhibition on Jain art that she curated at the Rubin Museum of Art.  With Koichi Shinohara she has edited a number of volumes, including Images in Asian Religions and Pilgrims, Patrons and Place.  Most recently they have edited a volume of essays on sin in Asian religions, to appear shortly from Brill.  Among her current research projects are a study of Jain and Buddhist monastic rules on the treatment of the sick and a comprehensive examination of Jain manuscripts in American museum collections.  She serves as senior advisor to the Jain Heritage Preservation Project which is run by the Jiv Daya Foundation in Dallas, Texas

Participants

Ali Usman Qasmi, Department of History, Lahore University of Management Sciences

Usman Qasmi is Assistant Professor (History) at the School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law since January 2012. He received his PhD from the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University in March 2009. Before joining LUMS, he was a Newton Fellow for Post Doctoral research at Royal Holloway College, University of London. He has published extensively in reputed academic journals such as Modern Asian Studies, The Muslim World and The Oxford Journal of Islamic Studies. He has recently published a monograph titled Questioning the Authority of the Past: The Ahl al-Qur’an Movements in the Punjab (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2011). Besides these, he has co-edited a volume on Muhammad Iqbal titled Revisioning Iqbal as a Poet and Muslim Political Thinker (Heidelberg: Draupadi, 2010; Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2011). Dr. Qasmi is also a visiting research fellow in History at the Royal Holloway College, University of London.

Benjamin Schonthal, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Otago

Benjamin Schonthal is a senior lecturer in Buddhism / Asian Religions in the department of Theology and Religion at University of Otago, New Zealand. He received his Ph.D. in the field of History of Religions at the University of Chicago. His dissertation received the 2013 Law & Society Association Dissertation Award. Ben’s research examines the intersections of religion, law and politics in late-colonial and contemporary Southern Asia, with a particular focus on Buddhism and law in Sri Lanka. His work appears or is forthcoming in The Journal of Asian Studies, Modern Asian Studies, the Journal of Law and Religion and other places. Ben’s first book, Buddhism, Politics and the Limits of Law, will be published by Cambridge University Press. His current research project, supported by the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand, examines the lived practices of monastic law in contemporary Sri Lanka and their links with state-legal structures. Ben is President of the NZ Association for the Study of Religions and a fellow at the ZIF (Institute for Advanced Study) in Bielefeld, Germany as part of an international research group on Religion, Constitutionalism, and Human Rights.

Daniela Berti, Centre d’Etudes Himalayennes, CNRS

As a social anthropologist and researcher at the CNRS, she carries out fieldwork in the region of Himachal Pradesh in Northern India. She has worked on linguistic procedures in dialogues that take place during possession rituals and on what makes this particular type of utterance effective. Other work she has done focuses on the following themes: development of a divine iconography; rewriting of regional history by local elites; the relationship between ritual territories and political territories; adoption by state institutions of politico-ritual practices formerly associated with kingship; cultural entrenchment of Hindu nationalism at the regional level. She is currently researching the ethnography of criminal cases and of District and High courts in India.

She coordinated the programme ATIP-Jeunes Chercheurs The Cultural Entrenchment of Hindutva. Local Mediations and Forms of Resistance alongside Nicolas Jaoul. She is currently joint coordinator with Gilles Tarabout of the research programme Justice and Governance in India and South Asia (JUST-INDIA), which is funded by the French National Research Agency.

David Brick, South Asian Studies, Yale University

David Brick is Senior Lecturer at the South Asian Studies at Yale University.

Divya Cherian, Department of History, Princeton University

Divya Cherian is a historian of early modern South Asia, with an interest in social, cultural, and religious history, ethics and law, and the local and the everyday. Her research focuses on western India, chiefly on the region that is today Rajasthan.

Divya is currently working on a book manuscript that investigates the effects on the state and society of the rise of merchants as an economic and political force in early modern South Asia. In doing so, the study places centrality on the role of law, ethics, and morality in the reshaping of both social identity and the state form. Her research has received the support of the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Charlotte Newcombe Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Columbia University, and the Indian Council for Historical Research. Divya’s future research will be on gender, sexuality, and law in early modern South Asia.

Divya comes to Princeton after a year as a postdoctoral fellow at the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis in New Brunswick. She received a Ph.D. in History from Columbia University, an M.Phil. and an M.A. in History from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and a B.A. from the University of Delhi.

Donald Davis, Department of Asian Studies, University of Texas Austin

I have been at UT-Austin since 2013, having worked previously at Bucknell University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My primary research concerns the interaction of law and religion in medieval India. From one side, I look at the historical evidence for law and legal practice in inscriptions, temple archives, and other dated documents as a way to contextualize the law in earlier periods of Indian history.  I examined records from the regional language of Malayalam to situate notoriously ahistorical normative texts in Sanskrit in a book entitled The Boundaries of Hindu Law: Tradition, Custom, and Politics in Medieval Kerala (2004). From the other side, I study the Dharmaśāstra tradition as a system of religious law and jurisprudence, apart from historical questions. In The Spirit of Hindu Law (2010), I provide a conceptual overview of the Hindu perspective on law and how it can relate to modern questions of policy, ethics, and religion.  Finally, I have a continuing interest in Malayalam language and literature, and I published The Train that Had Wings (2005), a collection of translated short stories by the Malayalam writer M. Mukundan.

I recently completed a book entitled The Dharma of Business: Commerical Law in Medieval India, to appear in 2017 through Penguin India. My current research broadens my interest in the practice of Hindu law in historical perspective, using materials beyond the Dharmaśāstra texts and from many parts of medieval India. At the same time, I am beginning work on a translation of the Mitākṣarā of Vijñāneśvara, a twelfth-century commentary and compendium on dharma.

Gilles Tarabout, CNRS, EHESS

Gilles Tarabout is a social and cultural anthropologist, Emeritus Senior Fellow (‘Directeur de recherche’) at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). He was previously a member of the Centre for Indian and South Asian Studies (CEIAS) from 1986 to 2009, before becoming the director (from 2010 to 2012) of the LESC (“Laboratoire d’Ethnologie et de Sociologie Comparative”), a major French research centre in anthropology jointly funded by the CNRS and the University of Paris West -Nanterre.
His research is focused on Indian society, with a special interest in the relationships between society and religion in Kerala (South India). He co-organized with Daniela Berti an international research programme funded by the French “Agence Nationale de la Recherche”, entitled  “Just-India”: Justice and Governance in India and South Asia (2009-2013)

J. Barton Scott, University of Toronto

J. Barton Scott is Assistant Professor of Religion (St. George) and Historical Studies (UTM). His work puts religion in colonial India in transnational perspective by approaching modern Hindu thinkers as theorists of religion who can be read alongside their North Atlantic contemporaries. Scott’s current research interests include print culture in colonial India, the legal regulation of media publics, and the reception of liberalism among colonial Hindu reformers. His book Spiritual Despots: Modern Hinduism and the Genealogies of Self-Rule is forthcoming in 2016 as part of the series “South Asia Across the Disciplines.”

Mathew John, Centre on Public Law and Jurisprudence, Jindal Global Law School

Mathew John is Associate Professor and Executive Director at the Centre on Public Law and Jurisprudence at Jindal Global Law School. He has graduate degrees in law from the National Law School, Bangalore and the University of Warwick, and completed his doctoral work at the London School of Economics on the impact of secularism on Indian constitutional practice. He has previously worked at the Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore on social justice lawyering; he was a law and culture fellow at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore; and has been a visiting fellow at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Phyllis Granoff, Yale University

Phyllis Granoff joined the Yale faculty on July 1, 2004. She previously taught at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and has held visiting positions at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Berkeley, and Harvard. She has done research in all of the classical religions of India–Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and has published articles on Indian art and literature. Her interests include contemporary Indian literature and she has published translations of short stories from Bengali and Oriya. She edits the Journal of Indian Philosophy. Her recent publications include The Victorious Ones: Jain Images of Perfection, an edited volume that  accompanied the exhibition on Jain art that she curated at the Rubin Museum of Art.  With Koichi Shinohara she has edited a number of volumes, including Images in Asian Religions and Pilgrims, Patrons and Place.  Most recently they have edited a volume of essays on sin in Asian religions, to appear shortly from Brill.  Among her current research projects are a study of Jain and Buddhist monastic rules on the treatment of the sick and a comprehensive examination of Jain manuscripts in American museum collections.  She serves as senior advisor to the Jain Heritage Preservation Project which is run by the Jiv Daya Foundation in Dallas, Texas.

 

 

Discussants

 

Bhavani Raman, University of Toronto-Scarborough

Bhavani Raman is Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Toronto. Her research and writing address questions of mediation, inscription and governance. Her first book, Document Raj: Scribes and Writing in Early Colonial South India (Chicago University Press 2012 and Permanent Black, India, 2015), studies how paperwork reorganized orientations to writing in Southern India’s Tamil speaking region. She current research examines the jurisprudence of emergency in the frontier regions of South and South East Asia. She has also begun preliminary research on decolonization and repatriation across the Bay of Bengal after the Second World War.

Lawrence Liang, Yale University

Lawrence Liang is a legal researcher and lawyer based in the city of Bangalore, who is known for his legal campaigns on issues of public concern. He is a co-founder of the Alternative Law Forum.

Liang’s key areas of interest are law, popular culture, and piracy. He has been working closely with Sarai, New Delhi on a joint research project Intellectual Property and the Knowledge/Culture Commons. Liang is a “keen follower of the open source movement in software”, Lawrence Liang has been working on ways of translating the open source ideas into the cultural domain. Segments of an interview with Liang commenting extensively on copyright and culture are featured in Steal This Film (Two).

Liang is the author of “Sex, laws, and Videotape: The Public is watching” and “Guide to open content licenses,” published by the Piet Zwart Institute in 2004.

He is Rice Visiting Fellow at Yale University.

 

Mitra Sharafi, University of Wisconsin Law School

Mitra Sharafi is a legal historian of South Asia. She holds law degrees from Cambridge and Oxford (the UK equivalent of a JD and LLM) and a doctorate in history from Princeton. Sharafi’s book, Law and Identity in Colonial South Asia: Parsi Legal Culture, 1772-1947 (Cambridge University Press, 2014) won the Law and Society Association’s J. Willard Hurst Prize for socio-legal history in 2015. The book explores the legal culture of the Parsis or Zoroastrians of British India, an ethno-religious minority that was unusually invested in colonial law: http://hosted.law.wisc.edu/wordpress/sharafi/

Currently, Sharafi is at work on her second book project. “Fear of the False: Medical Jurisprudence in Colonial India” examines colonial anxieties about dissimulation that were reflected in the work of medico-legal experts like the Chemical Examiners and Imperial Serologist. She is also writing an article on abortion during the Raj, and another on South Asian and West African law students who were expelled from London’s Inns of Court around the turn of the twentieth century. Sharafi’s research has been recognized and supported by the Institute for Advanced Study, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council and others. In spring 2017, she will be a fellow at the UW Institute for Research in the Humanities.

Her research interests include South Asian legal history; the history of the legal profession; the history of colonialism; the history of contract law; law and society; law and religion; law and minorities; legal consciousness; legal pluralism; and the history of science and medicine.

At the UW Law School, Sharafi teaches Contracts I to first-year law students. She is also part of UW’s Legal Studies program, an interdisciplinary undergraduate major that combines law with the humanities and social sciences. Sharafi has taught four Legal Studies courses: “Legal Pluralism,” “Lawyers & Judges in the British Empire,” “Law and Colonialism” and  “Medico-Legal History”: http://hosted.law.wisc.edu/wordpress/sharafi/syllabi/ She is affiliated with the History Department, and is involved with the UW Center for South Asia. She was conference chair of the 44th and 45th Annual Conference on South Asia in 2015 and 2016.

Richard H. Davis, Bard College

Richard H. Davis is professor of religion at Bard College. He is the author of Lives of Indian Images and Ritual in an Oscillating Universe: Worshipping Siva in Medieval India (both Princeton)

Rohit De, Yale University

Rohit De is a historian of modern South Asia and is particularly interested in legal history.

Rohit received his Ph.D from Princeton University, where he was elected to the Society of Woodrow Wilson Scholars. His dissertation won the Law and Society Association Prize in 2013. He was the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for History and Economics and at Trinity Hall at the University of Cambridge before coming to Yale in 2014. Rohit received his law degrees from the Yale Law School and the National Law School of India University, Bangalore.

Rohit is currently completing a book that explores how the Indian constitution, despite its elite authorship and alien antecedents, came to permeate everyday life and imagination in India during its transition from a colonial state to a democratic republic. Mapping the use and appropriation of constitutional language and procedure by diverse groups such as butchers and sex workers, street vendors and petty businessmen, journalists and women social workers, it offers a constitutional history from below.

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