2017 / 2018 Events

GSC Fall Events

“Hawaiian Indians and Black Kanakas: Racial Trajectories of Native Hawaiian Diasporic Laborers in the Nineteenth Century”

Oct. 12, 2017, 5:30 p.m. Clearihue C109

Dr. David Chang, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota

Bio: David Chang is an historian of indigenous people, colonialism, borders and migration in Hawaii and North America, focusing especially on the histories of Native American and Native Hawaiian people. His book The World and All the Things Upon It: Native Hawaiian Geographies of Exploration (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) speaks to a foundational imperative in Indigenous studies: the need to not just understand Indigenous people from their own perspectives, but to understand the world from their perspectives as well.

Abstract: In the maritime economy of the nineteenth century, Native Hawaiian laborers fanned out across the oceans. Some never returned home, instead settling in spots from Vancouver Island to California to New England to Tahiti. Given that race was (and remains) a structuring difference in settler colonial states and capitalist economies, what were these migrants’ experiences of race? How were they categorized by outsiders? What racialized affiliations did they make? This talk will explore the racial trajectories of these Kānaka in multiple sites. In some sites, they entered into what we would now recognize as Indigenous communities. In others, they merged into African-descent populations. In still others, they entered into the privileged status of whiteness. These differing outcomes provide glimpses into the intersections of racial, class, and national identifications. They also shed light on the early roots of what we might today call a global indigenous identity.





“Conjure Women and Coolie Women”

Oct. 26, 2017, 4:30 pm, David Strong Building C126

Gaiutra Bahadur

Bio: Gaiutra Bahadur is a Guyanese-American writer. She is the author of Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture, a narrative history of indenture which was shortlisted in 2014 for the Orwell Prize, the British literary prize for political writing that is artful. She has won residencies and fellowships for creative nonfiction from the MacDowell Artists Colony, Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy, the British Library, the British Society of Authors, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Abstract: The author of Coolie Woman, a narrative history about indentured women, discusses researching and narrating the lives of subjects missing, at least in their own words, from the archives. She speaks on the possibilities of the personal, as well as alternative oral and visual sources, as strategies for navigating elisions and biases in the written record.


Image result for Gaiutra Bahadur book

Bahadur’s Website

“Yoga as Politics: An Alternative History”

Nov. 23, 2017, Location TBA

Christian Novotzke and Sunila Kale

Sunila Kale

Bio: Sunila S. Kale is Associate Professor in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle, where her teaching and research focus on Indian politics, political economy of development, energy studies, and yoga as a political idea. Her first book, Electrifying India, was published by Stanford University Press in 2014.

Bio: Christian Lee Novetzke is Professor of South Asia Studies, Religious Studies, and International Studies at the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington.  His most recent book is The Quotidian Revolution (Columbia University Press, 2016)

Abstract: From the earliest ideas of yoga in the Rg Veda about 3500 years ago to the creation of International Yoga Day in 2015, the practice of yoga has involved not only spiritual and physical pursuits, but also the more mundane world of politics. In our talk, we explore an alternative story of yoga that sees how and when it has been a tool for negotiating politics, in particular the relationship between the self and society.  Our story moves through four key moments: yoga’s origins in the Vedic period (c. 1500 BCE), its articulation in the Bhagavad Gita (c. 100 BCE), the revival of yoga as politics in the nationalist period (c. 1900s), and its newest uses in contemporary India. Does yoga offer a political idea within this long history? Our talk will explore this question.