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India Research Centre

2011 at the IRC

Following on from a successful launch in November 2010, The India Research Centre has hosted well attended events across its three key areas: academic scholarship, community engagement and high quality live performances.

The Indian immigrant community's interest and engagement with the IRC was highlighted in April with Centre Director, Assoc. Professor Ram, being honoured by the United Indian Associations of NSW for outstanding service to the Indian community on the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day. In her acceptance speech, Assoc. Professor Ram suggested that attention to the experiences of migrant women is central if communities and governments wish to establish adequate service provision and support for the migrant community. She mentioned the establishment of a dedicated PhD project which seeks to better understand the demographic shifts in the South Asian migrant communities since the 1960s.

IRC's PhD project has been generously supported by Macquarie University, as a key element in the commitment to community outreach and the Great India Project as outlined in the vision of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts. After a very competitive application process, this project has been awarded to Ms Nila Sharma further information about the project is available here.

The workshop with Professor Ravi Sundaram which took place in May was an opportunity for scholars and post graduate students from diverse disciplines including sociology, anthropology and cultural studies and comparative literature to explore the intersection of media technology, urban development, and the tensions between the projects of planners and the practices of the informal sectors in contemporary Indian cities. The workshop facilitated the building of relationships between scholars and students working on Indian material across disciplinary and institutional contexts and also furthered our collaborative relationship with the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

On the occasion of Rabindrath Tagore's 150th Birthday which took place at Macquarie University, the Director was invited by the Bengali Association of NSW to address the community and inform them further about the IRC. The Director's speech stressed the synergy between the holistic educational philosophy of Tagore, and the vision of the Centre, with its blend of academic, performing arts, and commitment to sensory forms of education. She also informed them about the endowment of a new Tagore Chair in Art and Culture by the Government of India.

Furthering our collaborative relationship with Indian performing artists, the IRC welcomed the hosting by Music (MMCS) of the internationally renowned tabla player Dr Aneesh Pradhan in May. Dr Pradhan delivered a paper for students and scholars detailing the development of the Indian classical music industry since 1945 as well as putting on an intimate tabla solo recital for members of the public and a further performance with Dr Adrian McNeil.

Our academic program continued throughout the year with workshops from Dr Sanjay Srivastava and Dr Charu Gupta. The Sanjay Srivastava Workshop which took place in June, prompted reflection and debate on the nature of middle class identity in India and the Indian Diaspora. The occasion brought together staff and postgraduates from different disciplines at Macquarie University, as well as from the University of Sydney, the University of Western Sydney and the University of New South Wales. All were given the opportunity to discuss their projects with Dr Srivastava.

Our final workshop for 2011 was led by Dr Charu Gupta, a leading historian from Delhi University. Dr Gupta presented a stimulating paper on controversies over inter-caste marriages during the early to mid twentieth century. Other presenters included noted sociologist, Dr Ursula Rao and Mr John Soloman, a PhD candidate in the School of History and Philosophy and UNSW.

In addition, four of our researchers, Sumant Badami, Monica Dalidowicz, Victoria Loblay and Laavanya Kathiravelu submitted PhD theses which are currently under examination.



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