Upcoming Events

Sumathi Ramaswamy | The Unbearable Lightness of Being Mahatma

  5 - 6:30 p.m.
  308A Doe Library

Sumathi Ramaswamy
Atreyee Gupta

The South Asia Art Initiative at UC Berkeley invites you to a talk by Sumathi Ramaswamy, the James B. Duke Professor of History and International Comparative Studies and Chair of the Department of History at Duke University, that looks at the politics of memorialization.

This is an in-person event. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result is required for attendance.


Speaker Bios
Sumathi Ramaswamy is a cultural historian of South Asia and the British Empire and her research over the last few years has been largely in the areas of visual studies, the history of cartography, and gender. Her recent publications in this area include The Goddess and the Nation: Mapping Mother India (Duke University Press, 2010); and two edited volumes, Barefoot Across the Nation: Maqbool Fida Husain and the Idea of India (Routledge, 2010), and Empires of Vision (co-edited with Martin Jay, Duke University Press, 2014). Her pictorial monograph titled Husain's Raj: Visions of Empire and Nation was published in 2016 by Marg, Mumbai. Her work in popular visual history led her in 2006 to co-establish Tasveerghar: A Digital Network of South Asian Popular Visual Culture.

More recently, Prof. Ramaswamy started a major project on Gandhi and visual culture funded by the Humboldt Foundation which honored her in 2016 with the Annaliese Maier Research Award.

In the sphere of public visual humanities, She has published two works in 2020: Gandhi in the Gallery: The Art of Disobedience, and a digital project titled B is for Bapu: Gandhi in the Art of the Child in Modern India

Prof. Ramaswamy is also pursuing a new research agenda on the cultures of learning in colonial and postcolonial India. As part of this agenda, she recently published a monograph titled Terrestrial Lessons: The Conquest of the World as Globe (University of Chicago Press, 2017) in which she explores the debates in colonial India about the shape and disposition of the earth in the universe and examine the course of science education conducted around the terrestrial globe as a pedagogic object as it enters Indian schools.

A second project tentatively titled "A Strange Kindness? Giving & Learning in Tamil India," draws upon her experience as Program Officer for Education, Arts & Culture for the Ford Foundation in New Delhi (2002-2005). It charts the ethical, economic and political impulses that have governed private philanthropy directed towards the establishment of colleges and universities across Tamil India from the 19th century into the present.

The South Asia Art Initiative at the University of California, Berkeley promotes research-based conversations and collaborations around the arts of South Asia + its diasporas from the ancient period to the now. To read more about the Initiative and help support its various fundraising goals, please click HERE.

Event made possible with the support of the Sarah Kailath Chair of India Studies

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The event is FREE and OPEN to the public.

This is an in-person event. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result is required for attendance.