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University News Release

Feb. 8, 2006

South Asian Studies Lecture Series Begins Feb. 9

The South Asian Studies Program (SASP) kicks off its spring lecture series on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2006 with a lecture from Meena Khandelwal, assistant professor of sociocultural anthropology and gender in the University of Iowa Department of Anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). Khandelwal's speech, "Foreign Swamis at Home in India: Transmigration Across Time and Space," begins at 4 p.m. in 315 Phillips Hall on the UI campus.

In her talk, Khandelwal will scrutinize the lives of atypical transmigrants, specifically non-Indians who now live as monastics in Rishikesh, India. As transmigrants, they cross national borders and occupy social fields that are transnational. She explores how foreign Swamis experience India as home and point to certain characteristics that make India eligible to become "home" to non-Indians: modern constructions of authentic spirituality, low cost of living, Hindu doctrine of transmigration of the soul and non-dualistic philosophy of Vedanta.

The series consists of seven lectures, which are free and open to the public. Chai and snacks will be served. To arrange for special accommodations or to find out more about the events, contact Vasavi I. Mallena at 319-335-0354 or

The following is the rest of the SASP seminar schedule:

Thursday, Feb. 16: 4 p.m., 302 Schaeffer Hall

Swasti Bhattacharyya, Buena Vista College, Storm Lake, Iowa

"The Mahabharata and assisted reproductive technology"

Thursday, Feb. 23: 4 p.m., 315 Phillips Hall

Susan Wadley, Syracuse University

"Transforming Rural Weddings and Redefining 'conjugality' in North India"

Thursday, March 23: 4 p.m., 302 Schaeffer Hall

Gayatri Chatterjee


Thursday, March 30: 4 p.m., 315 Phillips Hall

Servchetan Katoch, University of Iowa


Thursday, April 13: 4 p.m., 315 Phillips Hall

Adi Hastings, University of Iowa

"Materialities of Devotion in Indian Film going Practice"

Thursday, April 27: 4 p.m., 302 Schaeffer Hall

George James, University of Northern Texas

"Environmental Activism and the Hindu Tradition"

This program has been made possible through the support of International Programs, and is sponsored by the UI South Asian Studies Program.

SASP is devoted to the enhancement of instruction and research and the dissemination of knowledge about India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. SASP supports the bachelor's of arts in Asian Studies offered through the Department of Asian Languages and Literature in CLAS.

SASP is affiliated with UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Program: Vasavi I. Mallena, 319-335-0354,; Writer: Kelli Andresen

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.