April 3, 2003 – Vol. 22 No. 13

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    University scholars of South Asia inspire April conference

    By William Harms
    News Office

    The Rudolphs talk with Mohan Singh Kanota in India in 1971, in front of a memorial for Amar Singh, the diarist who was the subject of their book.
    The University and various organizations will honor two of the nation’s leading scholars and teachers of South Asia, Susanne Hoeber Rudolph and Lloyd Rudolph, with a conference titled “Area Studies Redux: Situating Knowledge in a Globalizing World.”

    The Rudolphs have been on the University faculty since 1964; Susanne Rudolph is the William Benton Distinguished Service Professor Emerita in Political Science and Lloyd Rudolph is Professor Emeritus in Political Science. Susanne also is the president-elect of the American Political Science Association.

    The Rudolphs’ latest book, Reversing the Gaze: Amar Singh’s Diary, a Colonial Subject’s Narrative of Imperial India, examines identity formation in a colonial context.

    Their first book, Modernity of Tradition (University of Chicago Press), answers liberal and Marxian theories of modernization and has been continuously in print since its publication in 1967. The Rudolphs have spent 11 years living and researching in India.

    Conference organizers said recent events, including the tragedy of 9/11, have brought into focus a need to better understand other cultures and the role regions play in world politics. In preparing for the conference, the Rudolphs suggested the event be an opportunity to review the theories that have guided scholarship since the early 1950s.

    The conference, scheduled to begin Thursday, April 10 and continue through Saturday, April 12, will bring together five leading South Asian scholars from India–Shail Mayaram, T.K. Oomen, Niraja Jayal, Romila Thapar and Yogendra Yadav; several from the United States, including Nathan Glazer and Harold Gould; and 60 of the Rudolphs’ 210 former and current Ph.D. students.

    Speakers, including theorists and political economists, will provide analytic perspectives on research in South Asia and other regions, such as East Asia and the Middle East.

    Stanley Katz, president emeritus of the American Council of Learned Societies, will open the conference with a keynote address from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 10, in Breasted Hall in the Oriental Institute, 1155 E. 58th St. His topic will be “Everything that Happens Globally Happens in Some Particular Place.”

    The event continues at 9 a.m. Friday, April 11, in the Assembly Hall of International House, 1414 E. 59th St., with a panel, “Identity Politics in South Asia.” Two additional panels will follow at 11 a.m. on “State and Civil Society,” and at 2 p.m. on “Political Economy.” The day of panel discussions will be followed by a 4:30 p.m. session titled “Roundtable on the Rudolphs’ Work: A Retro/Pro-spective.”

    The conference will continue at International House Saturday, April 12, beginning with a discussion, “On Max Weber,” at 8:30 a.m. “India’s Global Reach,” will follow at 10 a.m., and a panel discussion, “Roundtable: Area Studies Redux,” and lunch, from noon to 2 p.m., will conclude the event.

    More information on the conference is available at http://internationalstudies.uchicago.edu/rudolphfest/.

    The conference is sponsored by the Department of Political Science, the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, the Center for International Studies, the Norman Wait Harris Fund of the Center for International Studies, the Division of the Humanities, the Division of the Social Sciences, the College, the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, the Ford Foundation of India, the Social Science Research Council, the Delhi Committee of the Chicago Sister Cities International Program and the ILA Foundation.