Former UW-Madison Visiting Professor Elaine Fisher Publishes “Hindu Pluralism”

In Hindu Pluralism: Religion and the Public Sphere in Early Modern South IndiaElaine M. Fisher complicates the traditional scholarly narrative of the unification of Hinduism. By calling into question the colonial categories implicit in the term “sectarianism,” Fisher’s work excavates the pluralistic textures of precolonial Hinduism in the centuries prior to British intervention. Drawing on previously unpublished sources in Sanskrit, Tamil, and Telugu, Fisher argues that the performance of plural religious identities in public space in Indian early modernity paved the way for the emergence of a distinctively non-Western form of religious pluralism. This work provides a critical resource for understanding how Hinduism developed in the early modern period, a crucial era that set the tenor for religion’s role in public life in India through the present day.

Read more about the book on the Luminos website

UW Alumna and FSU Professor Kathleen Erndl Passes Away at 63

Kathleen M. Erndl, 63, of Tallahassee died suddenly Sunday (2/19/17) at her home. Born at the Naval Air Station at Patuxent River in Maryland, Dr. Erndl, a beloved professor and noted South Asian religious scholar, was an Associate Professor at Florida State University. Her love of South Asian culture began with her travel to Sri Lanka during her sophomore year at New College of Florida. She conducted research and traveled in India frequently, receiving the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, Fulbright-Hays, and NEH Fellowship. She authored, Victory to the Mother: The Hindu Goddess of Northwest India in Myth, Ritual, and Symbol (Oxford, 1993), co-edited, Is the Goddess a Feminist? The Politics of South Asian Goddesses (NYU Press, 2000), and published articles on Sakta traditions, spirit possession, women’s religious expressions, methodology, and gender issues in Hinduism. Her teaching excellence gave her the Advanced Teacher of Year Award at FSU; she was also faculty advisor to the FSU Indian Students Association. Her knowledgeable and sincere influence touched students, colleagues, and friends globally.

Read the full obituary here.

CSA and SASLI receive UW-Madison Educational Innovations Grant

The Center for South Asia and the South Asia Summer Language Institute are pleased to announce that our project was selected for a UW-Madison Educational Innovations grant of $10,000! This support will supplement costs associated with designing an Elementary Hindi blended course in Canvas and PressBooks. The development of these blended course materials, led by UW-Madison SAFLI Hindi-Urdu Language Coordinator Sarah Beckham, will enhance student proficiency outcomes by creating a flipped classroom experience in which learners acquire and apply foundational knowledge in a distributed learning environment. This approach maximizes face-to-face interaction with instructors in the target language to produce integrated learning outcomes. In collaboration with the Blend@UW initiative, this course will be piloted during the SASLI 2017 summer program and be further developed to create open-access training resources and materials for instructors.

UW-Madison Anthropology alum Michael Youngblood Publishes “Cultivating Community: Interest, Identity, and Ambiguity in an Indian Social Mobilization”


In Cultivating Community, anthropologist Michael Youngblood explores the creation of political meaning and the construction of collective identity in an agrarian social movement in western India. The book’s core questions are fundamental to understanding mass movements anywhere: Where do movement ideologies come from and what makes them compelling? What motivates diverse groups of ordinary people to rise together in common cause? How can we make sense of individual actors when their participation appears irrational and against their own interests? 

2016 South Asia Book Award Ceremony

Please join us for the 2016 South Asia Book Award Celebrations!!


Friday, December 2, 2016
2016 Award Celebration and Presentations
Providence Community Center
3001 Vaden Drive, Fairfax, VA 22031
6:30 – 8:00 pm

Join us as we honor the achievements of award authors:

  • Mitali Perkins (Tiger Boy)
  • Mathangi Subramanian (Dear Mrs. Naidu)
    and highly commended author:
  • Khadija Ejaz (My Friend is Hindu)

This event is free and open to the public! See information below about directions to the award venue!

Visit the website for more information.

Spring 2017 Continuing Ed Online Course: Exploring South Asia through Children’s and YA Literature

This course examines recently published books that reflect stories, characters, and cultures from South Asia for grades pre K through high school. Due to the growing number of books published on this unique region; and the growing number of patrons in our libraries and schools seeking materials that reflect their heritage, this course will offer tools to plan specialized programing and collection development to fulfill this need.

Instructors: Svetha Hetzler is the director of the Sun Prairie (WI) Public Library and has served as the chair of the South Asia Book Award (SABA) committee. Rachel Weiss is the student services coordinator at the UW-Madison Asian Languages and Culture department and the founder of SABA. The course begins February 27 and ends on March 24, 2017.

For more information:

To register:

ONLINE – Exploring South Asia through Children’s and YA Literature

UW Madison Graduate Piyali Bhattacharya publishes “Good Girls Marry Doctors”


We are pleased to announce that Piyali Bhattacharya, recent graduate from UW-Madison’s MFA program, will be reading from her new anthology Good Girls Marry Doctors: South Asian American Daughters on Obedience and Rebellion. The book launch and discussion will take place this Thursday, October 20th at 7pm at the Dragonfly Lounge (401 E. Washington Ave.) Please note that this event coincides with the Annual Conference on South Asia, though it is not part of it.

To learn more about the book and the author, visit the website. You can also read an interview with the author on NBC News.

UW-Madison Students Create Hindi-Urdu Language Association

UW-Madison language students have come together to create the Hindi-Urdu Language Association (HULA).The mission of HULA is to provide students interested in Hindi/Urdu with opportunities to speak and learn about the language, as well as opportunities to connect with other students. These goals are met through biweekly language tables, and through events such as movie screenings that develop appreciation for the language and surrounding culture of Hindi/Urdu. The organization is open to both graduate and undergraduate students. To find out more about upcoming events, contact Elizabeth Thill or visit the HULA facebook page