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#AsiaNow Speaks with John Stratton Hawley

John Stratton Hawley (a.k.a., Jack) is Claire Tow Professor of Religion at Barnard College, Columbia University and author of A Storm of Songs: India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement, published by Harvard University Press and winner of the 2017 AAS Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. India celebrates itself as a nation of unity in diversity, but where does that sense of unity come from? One important source is a widely accepted narrative called the “bhakti movement.” Bhakti is the religion of the heart, of song, of common participation, of inner peace, of anguished protest. The idea known as the bhakti movement asserts that between 600 and 1600 CE, poet-saints sang bhakti from India’s southernmost tip to its northern Himalayan heights, laying the religious bedrock upon which the modern state of India would be built. In A Storm of Songs, I clarify the historical and political contingencies that gave birth to the concept of the b ...

AAS Member Spotlight: Pankaj Jain

Pankaj Jain is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of North Texas. Follow him on Twitter @ProfPankajJain. Your discipline and country (or countries) of interest Philosophy and religion; India and the Indian diaspora in the Americas (USA, Canada, Suriname, Trinidad, Guyana). How long have you been a member of AAS? I was a member in 2004-06, then became a member again recently. Why did you join AAS and why would you recommend AAS to your colleagues? As a co-founder of the American Academy of Indic Studies, AAS seems like the perfect association to network with other scholars of Indic Studies. How did you first become involved in the field of Asian Studies? As an M.A. student at Columbia University and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Iowa, I studied Indic religions and their environmental ethics. After completing the Ph.D., I taught Hindi-Urdu, Sanskrit, Bollywood, Hinduism, Jainism, and other Indic subjects at North Carolina State University for ...

#AsiaNow Speaks with Sonal Khullar

Sonal Khullar is associate professor of art history at the University of Washington and author of Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930-1990, published by the University of California Press and winner of the 2017 AAS Bernard S. Cohn Prize. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. Worldly Affiliations traces the emergence of a national art world in twentieth-century India and emphasizes its cosmopolitan ambitions and orientations in contrast to previous studies that have highlighted postcolonial difference or deviation from Western norms. I focus on four Indian artists—Amrita Sher-Gil (1913-1941), Maqbool Fida Husain (1915-2011), K. G. Subramanyan (1924-2016), and Bhupen Khakhar (1934-2003)—and situate their careers within national and global histories of modernism and modernity. These artists challenged the canons, disciplines, schools, and institutions of British colonialism and Indian nationalism, thereby modeling what Edward Sai ...

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