March 15, 2004

Grad Student Conference on South Asia Held on Campus

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Twenty graduate students from Cornell and other universities presented their research on contemporary issues in South Asia as part of the first annual Graduate Student Conference on South Asia last weekend.

The conferences, which spanned approximately two days, consisted of five panel discussions, each consisting of three to five graduate students and a moderator. Each discussion focused on the panelists’ research papers and encompassed broad themes ranging from political, governmental and sociological issues to ethical questions in the field.

The conference began at 11 a.m. on Friday with opening remarks from Prof. Alaka Basu, sociology, also director of South Asia program, which hosted the event. Afterwards, two panel discussions were held, followed by a keynote address by Amita Baviskar, sociologist at the University of Berkeley. Three more panel discussions followed on Saturday.

“The purpose of the conference was to bring together a lot of different graduate students from different disciplines to come and talk about their research,” said Jason Cons grad, a conference organizer and moderator for the panel discussion entitled “Unsettling Frontiers: Border, State, and Identity Formations.”

Audience members were able to learn about research in the area while graduate students were able to benefit from questions and critiques offered by the audience and other panelists in response.

“[The panel discussions] gave people a chance to see what other people are doing, not just at this university but also in other places as well,” Cons said.

Jessica Falcone grad, who served on the Saturday panel entitled “Locating Violence: Politics, Institutions and Disciplines,” presented a paper entitled “I Spy