Caste and Contemporary India

Course Description

The conference, "Caste and Contemporary India," took place on October 16th and 17th, 2009, at Columbia University in honor of alumnus Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.  The conference was co-sponsored by the South Asia Institute, the Center for Human Rights Documentation & Research, the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures, the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life, and the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. When talking about caste in the context of contemporary India one cannot but talk about Ambedkar.  Born into an untouchable family Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (14 April 1891-6 December 1956) also known as Babasaheb, endured many social and financial difficulties in his lifetime. Fortunately, royal patronage helped him pursue his studies abroad at Columbia University and the London School of Economics. He was the chief architect of the Constitution of India. Fighting against all forms of social injustice, he became the champion of Dalit rights in India. Day one: Welcome address by Janaki Bakhle (History, Columbia University; Director, South Asia Institute) Day one, Panel 1: Affirmative Action, Law and Inequality in India and the United States
Lee C. Bollinger (President, Columbia University and Professor, Law School)
Marc Galanter (Law and South Asia Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison)
Pratap Mehta (Centre for Policy Research)
Moderated by Nicholas B. Dirks (Anthropology and History; Vice-President and Dean, Arts & Sciences, Columbia University) Day one, Panel 1: Question and Answer Period Day one, Panel 2: Contemporary Politics and Caste
Balmurli Natrajan (Anthropology, William Paterson University)
Sivakami Palanimuthu (activist and writer)
Anand Teltumbde (activist and writer)
Moderated by Christophe Jaffrelot (Sciences-Po) Day one, Panel 2: Question and Answer Period Day one, Panel 3: Gender and Caste
Smita Narula (Law, New York University)
E. Sudha Rani (History, Dean of Social Sciences, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Open University)
Jebaroja Singh (Women and Gender Studies, Saint John Fisher College)
Moderated by Anupama Rao (History, Barnard College) Day one, Panel 3: Questions for the panelists from the audience Day one, First Plenary Session
Introduction of Plenary Speaker by Thomas Blom Hansen (Anthropology, University of Amsterdam)
Plenary Address by Gyanendra Pandey (History, Emory University) Day two, Panel 4: Religion and Caste
Gnana Aloysius (Independent Scholar, New Delhi)
Masood Alam Falahi (Islamic Studies, Maulana Azad National Urdu University)
Raj Kumar Hans (History, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda)
Nathaniel Roberts (South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania)
Moderated by Gauri Viswanathan (English & Comparative Literature, Columbia University) Day Two, Panel 4: Questions from the audience Day two, Closing Plenary Session
Introduction by Sudipta Kaviraj (Chair, Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University)
Closing Plenary Address by Gopal Guru (Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University)
Closing Remarks by Janaki Bakhle

Video Lectures

"Caste and Contemporary India" Conference: Day 1: Introduction and Panel 1

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"Caste and Contemporary India" Conference: Day 1 Panel 2

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"Caste and Contemporary India" Conference: Day 1 Panel 2

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"Caste and Contemporary India" Conference: Day 1 Panel 2 Q & A

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"Caste and Contemporary India" Conference: Day 1 Panel 3

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"Caste and Contemporary India" Conference: Day 1 Panel 3 Q&A

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"Caste and Contemporary India" Conference: Day 2 - Panel 1

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"Caste and Contemporary India" Conference: Day 2 - Panel 1 Q & A

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"Caste and Contemporary India" Conference: Day 2 - Closing Plenary Session

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"Caste and Contemporary India" Conference: Plenary Session

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