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Sawyer Seminar

About the Sawyer Seminar:

The Sawyer Seminar was a series of events and activities held on The Ohio State University campus between August 2013 and October 2014, centered around the theme CrossRoads: Culture, Politics, and Belief in the Balkans and South Asia. The seminar was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The activities of the Sawyer Seminar included:

  • A series of nine public lectures by invited speakers
  • Two film screenings with discussions led by the film's directors
  • A two-semester discussion group and graduate seminar course, jointly led by the core Seminar faculty and postdoctoral fellow
  • Undergraduate courses taught on Seminar-related topics
  • A conference that brings together specialists on the two regions
  • A volume of papers by the invited speakers
  • A collection of relevant web resources, articles, and research tools

Principle Investigators:

Dr. Theodora Dragostinova (History)

Dr. Yana Hashamova (SEELC)

Dr. Pranav Jani (English)

Dr. Brian Joseph (Linguistics/SEELC)

Dr. Jessie Labov (SEELC)

Dr. Scott Levi (History)

Dr. Andrea Sims (Linguistics/SEELC)

Dr. Mytheli Sreenivas (History/Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies)

Conference Program:

"Imagining Alternative Modernities:
Interventions from the Balkans and South Asia"

The Ohio State University
October 9-11, 2014

Download the conference program here.


Thursday, 9 October

Opening remarks by Brian Joseph and William Brustein

Roundtable of the Sawyer faculty

Chair: Andrea Sims, OSU

Nostalgia, Loss, and the Politics of Identity

Chair: Yana Hashamova (Ohio State University)
Lukic, Jasmina (Cornell Visiting Professor at Swarthmore College): Transnational literature and nostalgia in post-Yugoslav spaces [abstract]
Zarkov, Dubravka (International Institute of Social Studies, The Netherlands): Post-War Alterities: Cinematic Interventions on Loss, Justice and Fatherhood from Bosnia and Sri Lanka [abstract]
Bose, Purnima (Indiana University): The Capitalist-Rescue Narrative, Afghanistan, and the War on Terror [abstract]

Rucker-Chang, Sunnie (Florida State University): Inclusion in the Face of Exclusion: A Parallel Study of Minority Integration in the European Union South and American South [abstract]


Friday, 10 October


Imperial and Post-Imperial Transformations

Chair: Scott Levi (Ohio State University)
Blumi, Isa (Georgia State University): Transitional Regimes and the Contingencies of Multiple Modernities in the balkans, 1910-1923 [abstract]
Cohen, Benjamin (University of Utah): Introducing Colonial Regionalism: The Case of the Madras Presidency [abstract]
Pece, Ugur (Stanford University): Fear and Trembling in the Mediterranean: The Cretan Civil War and Breakdown of Ottoman Rule, 1895-98 [abstract]
Vemsani, Lavanya (Shawnee State University): Emergence of Geography as Race in Mutli-Religious Country: Tolerance and Conflict in Colonial and Post-Colonial Modern India [abstract]

Keynote I

Tomislav Longinovic (University of Wisconsin-Madison): 
"Words That Hide: Balkan Politics of Translation"
Introduction: Jessie Labov (Ohio State University)

Borderlands and Partitions

Chair: Pranav Jani (Ohio State University)
Akhter, Majed (Indiana University): The Long Hydraulic Partition: Making and Remaking National Space in India and Pakistan [abstract]

Bhan, Mona (Depauw University): Water Wars and New Ecological Imaginaries on the India-Pakistan Border [abstract]
Bego, Fabio (Roma Tre University, Italy): Refusing the State, Defending the Nation: Why Local Albanian Communities Oppose Their Government in the Summer of 1920 [abstract]
Roy, Haimanti (University of Dayton): Paper Rights: Emergence of Documentary Identities in the Partitioned Borderlands of South Asia, 1952-67 [abstract]

Keynote II

Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan (Yale University):
“Ethics of Nature: Historical Lessons from Conservation and Development in India”
Introduction: Mytheli Sreenivas, OSU

Saturday, 11 October


The Second and Third Worlds

Chair: Theodora Dragostinova (Ohio State University)
Petrov, Victor (Columbia University): A Cyber-Socialism at Home and Abroad: Bulgarian Technical Assistance to India and the National Road to Modernity 1967-1989 [abstract]

Isto, Raino (University of Maryland): The Coalescence of Albanian History: Socialist Realism, Nationalism, and the Vlora Independence Monument [abstract]
Kotecki, Kristine (Ball State University): South Asia and the Non-Aligned Movement in Two Post-Yugoslav Texts [abstract]
Cyzewski, Julie (Ohio State University): “[T]orn between conflicting loyalties”: Mulk Raj Anand and the BBC [abstract]

Neoliberal Critiques and Postcolonial Conditions

Chair: Jessie Labov (Ohio State University)
Karkov, Nikolay (SUNY Cortland): Autonomist Marxism in Post-Socialist Eastern Europe: Some Problems of Translation [abstract]
Klein, Kelly (Ohio State University): Darpana Performing Group's Creative Interventions in Neoliberal Globalization [abstract]
Dasgupta, Simanti (University of Dayton): The Contagion and the Condemned: HIV-AIDS, Anti-Trafficking and Sex Work in Sonagachhi [abstract]
Popa, Bogdan (Indiana University): Producing "Bad Subjects": Academic Corruption and Political Protest in Romanian Universities [abstract]
Dhaka, Ujala (Ohio State University, Sawyer Postdoctoral Fellow): Kinship, Labor, and Patronage: North Indian Muslims Negotiating Citizenship in the Urban Mohalla [abstract]

Lunchtime final remarks and discussion

Chair: Mytheli Sreenivas (Ohio State University)
[pdf] Some links on this page are in pdf format. If you need them in a more accessible format, please contact Joseph Ernst (Ernst.150@osu.edu).