Four UW-Madison Dissertators Awarded Fulbright-Hays Funding

The prestigious Fulbright-Hays-Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Award was recently awarded to four UW-Madison students: Nicolle Etchart (Ecuador), Lindsay Ehrisman (Uganda), Alicia Wright (India), and Akshay Sarathi (Tanzania). These awards enable researchers to spend a full year abroad completing field research vital to their dissertations. Learn more about the students and their research here.

2017 South Asian Book Award Ceremony October 18

The 2017 SABA Awardees will be honored with a ceremony and reception at the Michigan Library Association Annual Meeting on October 18 in Lansing, Michigan. The 2017 SABA books will be available for purchase, and authors Mahak Jain, Elly MacKay and Eric Dinerstein will be present to sign books.

Non-MLA members who wish to attend, please contact Kevin King ( by October 9th.

For more information on the 2017 awardees, click here.

The Memory Project: Faces of Joy exhibit opens

The Memory Project: Faces of Joy exhibit is currently open in the Ruth Davis Design Gallery (Nancy Nicholas Hall). This is a traveling exhibition featuring seventy handmade portraits based on photographs of Syrian children living in refugee camps in Jordan. The Memory Project initiative, based in Middleton, Wisconsin, invites art teachers and students in the United States to create and donate portraits to youths around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as neglect, abuse, loss of parents, violence, and extreme poverty. Since its founding in 2004, the Memory Project has coordinated production of more than 100,000 portraits for children in 43 countries.

The exhibition is sponsored by the School of Human Ecology with the Memory Project and Open Doors for Refugees, two local advocacy groups engaged in refugee support. Click here for more information, gallery times, and directions.

UW Law Professor publishes new edition on South Asia Law and Identity

Mitra Sharafi

Mitra Sharafi’s LAW AND IDENTITY IN COLONIAL SOUTH ASIA: Parsi Legal Culture, 1772–1947 has now been published in a South Asian edition. It is available in paperback only by Permanent Black and distributed by Orient Blackswan. Originally published in 2014, the South Asian edition was supported in part by matching $2,500 subventions from the Center for South Asia and the American Society for Legal History. Her book won the Law and Society Association’s J. Willard Hurst Prize for socio-legal history in 2015. The book explores the legal culture of the Parsis or Zoroastrians of British India, an ethno-religious minority that was unusually invested in colonial law. Sharafi is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and maintains an active website on South Asian Legal History Resources.

Call for Submissions for 2017-2018 Dissertation Prize

The Institute for South Asia Studies and the Berkeley Pakistan Initiative are delighted to announce the S. S. Pirzada Dissertation Prize for 2017-18. We invite submission of the best Ph.D. dissertation on Pakistan (or the region that is now Pakistan) in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Visual & Fine Arts, Law, and Public Health.

Comparative Ph.D. dissertations will be accepted as long as Pakistan forms at least 50% of the content and the dissertee can make a specific case for the research on Pakistan. Only Ph.D. dissertations submitted at an accredited North American or European Union-based University will be accepted. The prize comes with a $2,500 book subvention. For more submission guidelines and contact information, click here.

Associate Director gives lecture in Melbourne


Lalita du Perron, Associate Director for the Center for South Asia, recently gave a lecture on sexual harassment culture in North India at the Music Research Seminar, co-sponsored by the Monash Asia Institute at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Her lecture, “Boys Will Be Boys and Gods Will Be Gods: Krishna, Courtesans, and Coercion,” was attended by many graduate students and faculty.


South Asia Book Award Committee Announces 2017 Awardees and Honorees

The 2017 SABA Award Committee is delighted to announce the Award and Honoree books for this year!

2017 South Asia Book Award

Maya by Mahak Jain; illustrated by Elly MacKay (Owlkids Press, 2016). The loss of her father and a blackout in her Indian city combine to distress Maya.  Her mother’s bedtime tale of a legendary banyan tree kindles the child’s imagination, bringing her comfort and soothing memories of her father.  Alluring illustrations of the lush dream landscape and animals Maya visualizes will engage readers. (Grades K-3)

What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein (Disney-Hyperion, 2016). In the Nepalese Borderlands, twelve-year-old orphan Nandu realizes his destiny as a “mahout” (elephant driver). Through a vivid jungle setting and Nandu’s first-person narration, this story reveals the rich diversity of the natural world and the connection between humans and animals. (Grades 4-7)

2017 Honor Books

Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami; illustrated by Julianna Swaney (Groundwood Books, 2016). Do you think kids can really make a difference?  Yasmin Kader is usually pretty wrapped up in her own world, but when some very terrible events happen, she pulls herself out, up, and into action!  Will new Mayor Samuel save Book Uncle’s book stall?  Find out in this exciting story for middle-level readers! (Grades 2-4)

A Long Pitch Home by Natalie Dias Lorenzi (Charlesbridge, 2016). A little Pakistani boy’s heartwarming and humorous tale of adjusting to life in America where so much is different from his home country yet so much is similar. Family, friends, baseball, new holidays, and plans for helping his father come home soon keep Bilal busy as seasons change and America becomes home. (Grades 3-6)

2017 Highly Commended Books

The Boy and the Bindi by Vivek Shraya; illustrated by Rajni Perera (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2016). In this celebration of gender and cultural differences, a young South Asian boy becomes fascinated with his mother’s bindi, the red dot commonly worn by Hindu women, and wishes to have one of his own. Rather than chiding him, she agrees and explains its cultural significance, allowing him permission to be more fully himself. (Grades PreK-3)

When Bholu Came Back by Kavitha Punniyamurthi; illustrated by Niloufer Wadia (Tulika Press, 2016). Did you know that camels can be excellent problem-solvers?  When Bholu Came Back shows us just how much a camel can care for his owner and a difficult “situation.”  The Taparia Camel Safari business can always use one more camel, so come along for the ride in this fun story for very young readers. (Grades PreK-3)

One Half from the East by Nadia Hashimi (HarperCollins, 2016). Obayda, a 10-year-old girl in modern day Afghanistan, is shocked when her family informs her she must become a bacha posh, a girl dressed as a boy,  and called Obayd. When her friend, Rahim, is suddenly forced to go back to being a girl, Obayda chases a rainbow to keep the freedom she has experienced. (Grades 4-8)

Rani Patel in Full Effect by Sonia Patel (Cinco Puntos Press, 2016). Rani Patel feels like an outsider. Not only is her family the only Indians on a remote Hawaiian island, but her father has left the family for a younger woman. The only arena in which she feels alive is participating in the island’s underground hip-hop scene as an MC. Rani’s raps tell the story of a strong Indian woman, even though her love life with an older man and memories of a past tragedy threaten to bring her down. Will her rhythmic rhymes give her the strength to confront these demons? (Grades 9-12)

The 2017 South Asia Book Award Ceremony and Presentation will be held in Lansing, MI, in conjunction with the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference, October 18, 2017.