Meenakshi Sengupta, Visiting Artist, South Asia Institute Arts Program
Chair: Jinah Kim, Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture, South and Southeast Asian Art, Harvard University
This talk will focus on the celebration of womanhood and how Sengupta comes to this work. Boys don’t cry is a title of her recent drawing series. She will mainly talk about her practice and how she developed her language primarily surrounded by conventional art practice, and finally the way she explore that form into a broader aspect. Her talk will be supported by an audio-visual presentation of her works, followed by a discussion.
Born in 1987, Kolkota, India and Sengupta holds a B.V.A. 2011 (Painting), from the University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India and a M.F.A. 2013 (Painting) with distinction (Gold Medal), from the Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda, India. Since then she has been practicing her art and showing it together with Gallery Maskara, Mumbai, India. In her work, she uses traditional pictorial representation to push formal and aesthetic conventions producing new meaning by using wit and irony to explore gender identity and complexities in contemporary life.
Lunch will be served.
Sengupta will also lead an interactive art work on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 3PM at SAI’s office in CGIS South, 4th Floor.
Asad Liaqat, Doctoral candidate, Public Policy PhD program, Harvard Kennedy School
Discussant: Sharan Mamidipudi,Doctoral candidate, Public Policy PhD program, Harvard Kennedy School
We investigate the relationship between candidates’ connections, party performance, and voting in the 2015 local government elections in Pakistan combining: (i) data on political connections between candidates and more senior politicians; (ii) a large scale field experiment; and (iii) direct measurement of election outcomes. Providing information on past party performance effects citizen satisfaction with the government, but not support for candidates from the ruling party. Providing information on connections does effect support. Consistent with the experimental results, more connected candidates receive more votes and are more likely to win office, but there is no detectable electoral benefit to past service provision. The results have strong implications for democratic accountability in many settings.
This paper is co-authored with Michael Callen (UCSD), Ali Cheema (Lahore University of Management Sciences), Adnan Khan (LSE), Farooq Naseer (Lahore University of Management Sciences) and Jake Shapiro (Princeton University).
Dr Anastasia Piliavsky, Fellow and Director of Studies in Social Anthropology at Girton College, Cambridge; Director of Studies in Social Anthropology at Newnham College, Cambridge; Newton-Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, CRASSH, Cambridge
Chair: Ajantha Subramanian,Professor of Anthropology and South Asian Studies, Harvard University
It is the central article of faith in Western political theory that democracy is an inherently egalitarian form. But in northern India democracy is decidedly hierarchical, both in practice and in local normative imagination. People look to hierarchical relations with politicians as a source of political responsibility, as the lever they use to get politicians to do what they wish to be done. Far from disempowering and humiliating, here voters see hierarchical ties of dependency as their chief political resource. Grasping the ‘vertical’ dimension of India’s democracy helps us not only to better understand the country’s politics, but also to rethink some of our deepest convictions about democracy, anywhere in the world.
Frank Heidemann,Professor, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Chair: Richard Wolf,Professor of Music and South Asian Studies, Harvard University
In puja, a Hindu act of worship, the relationship between devotee and God is transformed and the space between them altered. Using case studies of the Badagas in the Nilgiri hills of South India, this presentation analyzes puja in light of the New Phenomenology and Gernot Böhme’s philosophy of atmosphere.
Atmosphere, according to Böhme, is the quality of a surrounding space, as perceived by all the senses and the felt body (Leib). It is an intersubjective, fluid, dynamic totality: a total social fact. The perceiving persons are co-producers and part of the atmosphere, but they consider it an external, “half thing” (Halbding). Atmospheres create social realities, contextual norms, and have an impact on the emotional state of individuals. Every society has specialists who strategically construct and monitor the process of creating atmospheres. Puja and other activities of priests produce particular religious atmospheres and contribute to a shared emotional state among devotees. In other contexts atmospheres contribute to what Heidemann calls “social proprioception.” He argue for an anthropology of atmosphere that investigates the production and perception of social atmospheres and their ontologies.
Cosponsored with the Department of South Asian Studies
Ian Holliday,Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning), The University of Hong Kong
‘Altered State: Painting Myanmar in a time of transition,’ an exhibit of paintings will be on display Thursday, February 4 – Monday, February 22, 2016 in the Japan Friends of Harvard Concourse, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge MA
Sponsored by the Asia Center and the South Asia Institute
Chair: Asim Khwaja, Sumitomo-FASID Professor of International Finance and Development, Harvard Kennedy School
The aid allocation literature reveals a negative association between the recipients’ income and aid inflows, implying that, all else equal, poorer nations receive more aid. This literature has assumed that two forms of aid flows – grants and concessional loans – are determined identically. Thus, its findings reflect average behavioral patterns based on an aggregate of these two distinct transfer types. This study unveils different incentive effects of grants and concessional loans. We show that the findings of the aid allocation literature apply to grants but not to concessional loans. In particular, the amount of grants decreases with income, whereas the amount of concessional loans increases with income. The analysis is also notable for using exogenous variations in remittances and temperature as instruments for income. Other econometric issues such as cross-sectional dependence and multiple endogenous variables are also taken into account. The implications of the findings for aid effectiveness debates will discussed. Further tests reveal a larger impact of concessional loans on investment.
Laila Bushra, Babar Ali Fellow, South Asia Institute
Chair: Sugata Bose, Gardiner Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs, Harvard University
Over the last three decades, Islamic educational institutions (madrassas) operating in Pakistan have witnessed a dramatic expansion in their numbers and geographical scope. Being more than simply the breeding grounds for militant groups and ideologies, madrassas are internally diverse and dynamic institutions. Using the urban milieu of Lahore as the framework, Bushra uses the term ‘Islamist civic infrastructure’ to analyze the vast array of functions and activities that madrassas perform in collaboration with other entities, both religious and secular. These include educational institutions of several types, publications and publishing houses, student and professional organizations, religious merchandise, and regular meetings and rituals. This infrastructure has a well-defined internal hierarchy, and has penetrated evermore arenas of social activity over time. The ideological and cultural reach of this civic Islamic component is arguably even more influential and resilient than the militant component usually associated with ‘jihad’.