Schedule      Transportation      Format      Registration


The South Asia Center in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington welcomes you to the annual South Asia Conference of the Pacific Northwest (SACPAN). Founded in 1966 by an interdisciplinary group of colleagues from UW and the University of British Columbia, SACPAN is today a collaborative venture sponsored by South Asia specialists at UW, UBC, the University of Oregon, and other institutions in the region. One of the oldest centers of South Asian migration in North America, the Pacific Northwest is an ideal location for a public conference that promotes a richer understanding of South Asia in global, transnational, cross-border, and transregional contexts.

Stretching across the humanities, social sciences, applied sciences, medical sciences, and professional fields, the South Asia Center is an important intellectual and pedagogical hub for the study of South Asia. A National Resource Center funded by the Title VI program of the United States Department of Education, our mission is to enhance the study of South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) on campus, in the community, across the Pacific Northwest, and throughout the United States. The South Asia Center promotes knowledge about South Asia through innovative research, curricular development, graduate student training, and outreach to educational, civic, and business institutions and the general public.

Welcome to Seattle!

SACPAN Planning Committee

Sunila Kale, Director, South Asia Center and Associate Professor, International Studies
Purnima Dhavan, Associate Professor, History
Radhika Govindrajan, Assistant Professor, Anthropology
Samuel Ostroff, Managing Director, South Asia Center
Lily Shapiro, Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology

The conference program is designed in the hopes that all participants will be able to attend all panels to foster intellectual dialogue, exchange, and collegiality.

Photo: Parijat Jha




Sunila S. Kale (University of Washington)

9:00-10:40 AM: PANEL 1: State, Nation, Citizenship

Deep Pal (University of Washington)

“China in the Indian Imagination: The Case of Tibet (1950-1959)”

Bicram Rijal (Simon Fraser University)

“Defecation Habits, State and Sanitary Citizenship in Post-Earthquake Nepal”

Ali Mehdi Zaidi (University of Washington)

“Tareeqa-e-Tabligh: Performance, Propaganda, and the Pakistan Movement”

Janna Haider (University of Washington)

“Borders, Boundaries, and Sites of Elimination: The Komagata Maru Incident and Settler Colonialism”

Moderator: Sara Shneiderman (University of British Columbia)

10:40-10:55 AM: COFFEE / TEA BREAK

11:00 AM-12:00 PM: PANEL 2: Space, Place, Environment

Jamila Baig (University of Oregon)

“The Vulnerability of High-altitude Lakes of Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan to Climate and Human Settlement”

Olivia Molden (University of Oregon)

“How do Households Define Water Security? Imaginaries and Exploitation in the Kathmandu Valley”

James Binks (University of British Columbia)

“Itineraries of a Himalayan Pilgrimage: Infrastructural Impacts on Religious and Environmental Experience”

Moderator: Pasang Sherpa (University of Washington)

 12:00-1:00 PM: PANEL 3: Global Mental Health

Benjamin Trnka (University of Washington)

“Cognitive Risk Factors for Substance Use: A Study of Juveniles in Conflict with the Law at a New Delhi Rehabilitation Facility”

Megan Ramaiya (University of Washington)

Title TBD

Sauharda Rai (University of Washington)

“Hope and Resiliency: Cases of Child Soldiers and Civilian Children in Maoist Civil War in Nepal”

Moderator: Randall Horton (Seattle University)

1:00-1:55 PM: LUNCH

2:00-3:20 PM: PANEL 4: Caste, Gender, Sexuality

Alka Kurian (University of Washington)

“Digital Feminism in South Asia”

Andrew Wright (University of Washington)

“Queer Transformations and Queer Realities in Hinduism”

Kyle Trembley (University of Washington)

“Rattus Hierarchicus: Human-Rat Relations, Kinship, and Caste in Rajasthan”

Arafat Safdar (University of British Columbia)

“Denzil Ibbetson’s Castes of Punjab: Criminals and Criminality”

Moderator: Arafaat Valiani (University of Oregon)

3:20-3:30 PM: COFFEE / TEA BREAK

3:30-4:30 PM: PANEL 5: Affect, Emotion, Performance

Michael Butcher (University of Washington)

“The Emotionology of Anger in Early Buddhist Literature”

Leah Lowthorp (University of Oregon)

“Kutiyattam Theater and the Sanskrit Cosmopolis”

Parijat Jha (University of Washington)

“Humor as a Place of Critique”

Moderator: Anand Yang (University of Washington)

4:30-5:50 PM: PANEL 6: Textual Communities

Sukhdeep Singh (University of British Columbia)

“Contrived Contradictions: Understanding the Dasam Granth’s Retelling of the Ramayana”

Spencer Pennington (University of Washington)

“The Imam with a Thousand Faces: Localization and Cosmopolitan Spirituality within Early Modern South Asia’s Mystical Islamic Traditions”

Julia Chatterjee (University of Washington)

“Reconstructing Social History from Multi-script Inscriptions of Greater Gandhara: New Models and Methods”

Sravani Kanamarlapudi (University of Washington)

“Tracing the Arc of Nīti Literature”

Moderator: Christian Novetzke (University of Washington)


Radhika Govindrajan (University of Washington)
Purnima Dhavan (University of Washington)

6:00-8:00 PM: RECEPTION (HUB 250)


Campus is accessible for cyclists, those taking public transportation, and for drivers. For general transportation information visit the transportation services website. Events will be held in the HUB.


In keeping with recent SACPAN tradition, we will follow a “10/10” format: ten minutes for presentation and ten minutes for questions and discussion. This gives each presenter a chance to advance a core idea, receive an equal amount of time for feedback, and maximize participation. It also allows us to ensure that each individual paper gets feedback. Given the format, we particularly welcome proposals on work in progress and from early career graduate students that would benefit from substantive feedback.