Past Events

World Environment Day Workshop

10:00 am–1:00 pm
UChicago Center in Delhi


On average, people in India would live 4.3 years longer if their country met the WHO guidelines - expanding the average life expectancy at birth there from 69 years to 73 years. Can youth play a role to clean up India's air? This workshop being organized by Energy Policy Institute at Chicago (EPIC India) is for school students of grade 9 to 12. 

Panel Discussion: Lipi and Sound, Sacred and Otherwise

3:00–5:00 pm
CSSSC Seminar Room 2, Patuli Campus


In the domains of religious, social, or literary studies, texts are now less seen as abstract vehicles of meaning encoded in language, and they are rather considered within the multiple dimensions that led to their production and consumption. What surrounds the text contributes to regiment its meaning and language alone is not enough to turn a text into a source or an object of aesthetic inquiry. With this panel we will discuss the renewed interest in the material and performative dimensions of the study of textual practices in South Asia. We will use as points of entry two recent publications: the volume Text and Tradition in Early Modern North India (OUP 2018), co-edited by Tyler Williams, Anshu Malhotra, and John Stratton Hawley, and Thibaut d’Hubert’s In the Shade of the Golden Palace: Ālāol and Middle Bengali Poetics in Arakan (OUP 2018). Tyler Williams and Thibaut d’Hubert will also introduce their respective book projects, which both address topics related to the history of vernacular literacy in early modern North India.

Information Session: Graduate Studies in the Humanities

4:00–5:00 pm
American Center, Kolkata


Join Professors Thibaut d'Hubert, Associate Professor, South Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago and Tyler Willliams, Assistant Professor, South Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago for an informational session about wide range of graduate programs in the Humanities Division at the University of Chicago.


May 20

This three-day workshop--part of an ongoing book history initiative between the University of Chicago and South Asian institutions--will provide graduate students and early career scholars an opportunity to receive basic training in the paleography and codicology of South Asian material texts and provide more advanced scholars an opportunity to share approaches, receive feedback on current research, and reflect critically on traditions and trends of textual criticism, scholarly editing, book history, and the digital humanities. Participants will interact and learn from scholars working on different languages, regions, time periods, and traditions, making new comparative work possible and helping to establish a network of scholars working on pre-colonial material texts. 


This talk by Borislav Gerasimov will discuss that in order to prevent trafficking, India’s anti-trafficking legislation must be formulated in consultation with various groups of workers, especially those in the unorganised sector, including but not exclusively, sex workers. And anti-trafficking initiatives must address the root causes and be grounded in an understanding of trafficking as a social justice issue lying at the intersections of gender, migration, labour, and development. Unlike many other countries, India has not yet created specific anti-trafficking legislation. Anti-trafficking initiatives, both by state and non-state actors, have seen a steady increase in India over the last two decades, as in other parts of the world. So we see in India a stronger accent on the crime of trafficking and measures to control it. Efforts to ‘rescue’ and ‘rehabilitate’ victims have become more aggressive without paying any heed to human rights violations that routinely occur in the process of providing such ‘assistance’. As the ITPA recognises only trafficking into the sex sector, sex workers bear the brunt of the excesses of the anti-trafficking industry.

Efforts to intervene into situations of egregious exploitation through direct rescue play an important role in anti-trafficking programmes across the globe. In some instances, rescue is legally required whether one has consented to work in that sector or not. India’s Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act (ITPA) has targeted cisgender women who sell sexual services for rescue since the early days of independence, regardless of whether they work voluntarily or under direct force. Recently Parliament considered a new anti-trafficking bill that would expand this rescue mandate beyond the sale of sexual services to other situations as well. While on its face a directive to rescue victims of trafficking is clearly laudable, research suggests that forced rescue and detention in specific should both be closely examined and reconsidered as solutions to the severe problems of human trafficking. Disrupting Traffick? provides a forum for researchers, policy makers, heads of protection homes, human rights experts, activists, and those who have experienced rescue and rehabilitation interventions to share with each other their perspectives on the present use of the ITPA and Sec 370 and 370A and together outline a way forward.

Revitalising Yamuna - Alternate Imaginations

4:30–7:00 pm
UChicago Center in Delhi


This event held in collaboration with the Tata Centre for Development at UChicago and the Centre for Community Knowledge, Ambedkar University Delhi, will comprise a series of activities such as photo exhibition on people living along the Yamuna in Delhi, screening of a documentary on the communities, and a panel discussion—is aimed at understanding connections and disconnections between the river and the residents of the city, and how the Yamuna has changed over time – from its course to pollution load?

Physicians around the world play a major role in shaping and influencing health policy. However, few researchers have systematically explored organized medicine in the context of developing countries, including India. In the increasingly globalized world of biomedicine, there are considerable lessons and ideas to be drawn from examining the experiences of organized medicine and policymaking in different countries. This public lecture brings together academics, practitioners and others interested in the role of professional medical associations as key stakeholders in shaping health policy. Our panelists will draw on exciting new research from India and the U.S that explores the role of these associations in shaping contemporary policy debates. We will examine critical questions in the context of dynamic policy environments in both countries - whose voices do the associations represent? How do they engage with policymakers and the policy process? And, what is the future for these associations in the face of growing corporatization and patient activation? 

Professional medical associations are considered key stakeholders in shaping and influencing health policy. Yet, there has been limited research and discussion on their role in the context of low- and middle-income countries. In the increasingly globalized world of biomedicine, there are considerable lessons and ideas to be drawn from examining the experiences of organized medicine and policymaking across countries. In this workshop, we will share new research on the role of professional medical associations in policymaking, and discuss the experiences of practitioners in influencing policy. In two interactive sessions, panelists will share their research and experiences, and as a group, we will discuss emerging themes, methodological challenges, and ideas for further research and action. 

Demystifying Social Impact Careers: Conference Series

Time TBA
UChicago Center in Delhi


All around the world, more and more people are questioning traditional career paths and wondering how they can set up their careers so that they don’t have to choose between making a living and making a difference. Indians are no exception. And yet, it is still unclear what one’s options are if one doesn’t want to follow the traditional routes and wants to work towards making the country, and the world, a better place.

In India especially, there is still a prevailing mentality that social sector careers necessarily mean self-sacrifices and low prestige. But this does not take into account the wide growth in options in the social sector in recent years – from social enterprises to
impact investing to fellowship programs to even traditional NGOs offering better opportunities than in the past.


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