24 October 2018

Mala Pandurang (Mumbai):

Bandhani, emankeeki and kanga – Three Sisters of an Asian-African Heritage. The Complexities of Gendered and Race Relations in the Work of Sultan Somjee

18:00 c. t. - room IG 454

 
My talk will focus on two novels by Sultan Somjee, a fourth generation Asian African born and raised in Kenya, now located in Canada. Somjee’s first novel Bead Bai (2012) engages with the emankeeki, a beaded ornament worn by married Maasai women. He reinserts into Eastern African history the forgotten life narratives of a group of Indian women known as ‘Bead Bais’ who enabled the flow of coloured beads between the dukawallahs and the indigenous tribes that impacted the expressions of African aesthetics. In his second novel Home Between Crossing, (2016) Somjee engages with the kanga (‘the cloth that speaks wisdom’) as a trope to explore the meeting of the cultures of land and oceanic migrations. I will explore how Somjee’s work offers a fascinating reconstruction of the transnational life histories of Ismaili Khoja women from India to East Africa from the early 20th century to the 1960s, and then the double diaspora to Canada in the post-independence period. My interest is in Somjee’s use of the tropes of material artefacts such as the bandhani (Khoja), emankeeki (Maasai) and kanga (Swahilli) to explore an imaginative space drawn from the interface of feminine art, aesthetics and ideas of both settler Asian and African indigenous cultures. I will particularly focus on how Sultan draws from the oral, the visual and the embodied to address complexities of gendered and racialized Asian-African race relations under British colonialism and African nationalism.


Mala Pandurang is Professor and Vice Principal at Dr. BMN College, Mumbai (affiliated to SNDT Women’s University). She is a postdoctoral alumna of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung (AvH). She has taught as Fulbright Visiting Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and is also a recipient of the Charles Wallace In-UK Research grant. She has also received a Major research grant from the University Grants Commission (New Delhi). She is the Reviews Editor of the Journal of South Asian Diaspora (Taylor and Francis) and series editor of Postcolonial Lives (Brill). Her areas of research are postcolonial writing, diaspora theory and gender studies and she has published extensively on the same. In 2012 she received the SNDT Women’s University ‘Maharshi Karve Utkarshta Shikshak Puraskar’ (Best Teacher Award) from the Governor of Maharashtra.


1 November 2018

Campbell Jefferys:

Soundtrack included:
How music adds an extra layer of storytelling to a Bildungsroman

18:00 c. t. - room IG 411

 

Award-winning Australian author Campbell Jefferys talks about his latest book, Rowan and Eris, a coming-of-age novel about redheads, musicians, pranksters and parents, and which includes an original soundtrack, One Hand Clapping. Campbell will talk about the genesis of the idea, how the story took shape, the creative decisions made along the way, and why it became imperative for the music to be written and recorded. But how does the music accompany the story? Is the soundtrack an epilogue, heard once the book is finished? Or is it an interlude, with each song listened to at the point it’s mentioned in the book? As the talk delves deeper into the power of music, it should open the door to a lively discussion about the role, if any, soundtracks can play in literature.


15 November 2018

Lecture series "Afrasian Futures"
 

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Nairobi/Berlin):

The Return of the Admiral: Re-fashioning Swahili waters in the 'Dragonfly Sea'

18:00 c. t. - room IG 411

 

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor won the 2003 Caine Prize for African Writing for her story "Weight of Whispers". Her critically acclaimed book Dust, which portrays the violent history of Kenya in the second half of the 20th century, was shortlisted for the Folio Prize and won the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature.


Past Events

 2018

  • 7 June 2018: The negotiation of (im)mobility in Anglophone Maori short stories. Guest lecture by Leonie John. Download the flyer here ...
     

  • 17 May 2018: Transcultural competence and English literature classes. A reconstructive study on the use of fictions of migrations in the EFL classroom. Guest lecture by Annika Kreft. Download the flyer here ...
     

  • 3 May 2018: Ngũgĩ in India: A Transcultural Dialogue. Guest lecture by Venugopalrao Nellutla. More information here ...
     

  • 8 February 2018: Can the Slum-dweller Speak? Katherine Boo and the Postcolonial Politics of Literary Journalism. Guest lecture by Alex Tickell. More information here ...
     

  • 1 February 2017: Concepts of Development in Postcolonial Kenyan Writing. Guest lecture by Martina Kopf. More information here ...
     

2017

  • 7 December 2017: ‘Travelling Cultures’:  Reading Nineteenth-Century British Narratives about Movement and Mobility. Guest lecture by Nadia Butt (University of Giessen). More information here ...

     
  • 26 October 2017: In Transition: The Aesthetics and Politics of the ‘Across Factor’. In Transition lecture by Ranjan Ghosh (University of North Bengal). More information here ...
     

  • 4 - 6 October 2017: South Asian Diaspora International Reseacher’s Network (SADIRN) Graduate Academy 2017. More information here ...
     

  • 13 July 2017: Sovereignty On Camera: Documentary, Performance and War in Syria. Guest Lecture by Enrique Galvan-Alvarez. More information here ...

  • 6 July 2017: Towards Transcultural Ecology: Learning | Reading. Guest lecture by Roman Bartosch. More information here ...
     

  • 13 June 2017: Indian Ocean Memories and African Migrants. AFRASO Lecture and Film Screening by Shihan de Silva More information here ...

  • 4 May 2017: Sperm Count. The Scoresbys and the North. In Transition lecture by Graham Huggan. More information here ...
     

2016

Older

  • 1-7 December, 2014, Dakar (Senegal): Photographs of 19th and 20th century Africa: Changing perspectives and object histories in school textbooks and digital archives. More information here ...
     

  • 21-23 September, 2014: Postgraduate Forum Reading Across Cultures. New Comparative Approaches in a Globalized World.  More information here ...