Upcoming Conferences


Digital South Asia ConferenceOctober 2-3, 2015 | Room School of Social Work Building



CSAS is pleased to announce that it will be holding an international conference on “Digital South Asia” this October. Since media and communication studies began in the 1970s, its object of study has changed in fundamental ways. Media was at first thought of almost wholly within the frame of the nation-state, and its national politics and culture. Since then, the diffusion of continuing technological innovations, driven by the world economy, has changed the media landscape beyond recognition, producing the ‘globalized’ world that we inhabit today. Situated within this larger frame, this conference, organized by Aswin Punathambekar (Associate Professor of Communication Studies), will bring together an international array of scholars with a shared interest in the rise of digital and mobile media technologies, the ongoing transformation of established media industries, and emergent forms of media practice and use that are reconfiguring socio-cultural, political, and economic terrains across the Indian subcontinent. The conference will also focus on the everyday lived experiences of audiences and publics—in South Asia and the South Asian diaspora—in their interaction with different kinds of media: old and new, state and private, elite and popular, global and national.

The rise of digital and mobile media technologies, and new forms of media practice and use associated with them, parallels the emergence of new forms of commercial media and communications enterprises across the global South. Our primary aim in convening this international conference is to draw together hitherto scattered national, comparative and transnational work on media and communication in South Asia; and secondly, in working through the overlapping themes of the conference, to discover common areas of interest and emerging lines of enquiry for future research. The conference is organized around four themes; a panel will be devoted to each of the following: “digital imaginaries,” “digital media and the new political,” “love and longing in digital South Asia,” and “television’s newness.”

We look forward to welcoming: Rohit Chopra (Santa Clara University); Lotte Hoek (University of Edinburgh); Lilly Irani (University of California, San Diego); Sangeet Kumar (Denison University); Shanti Kumar (University of Texas, Austin); Purnima Mankekar (University of California, Los Angeles); Rahul Mukherjee (University of Pennsylvania); Wazhmah Osman (Temple University); Nimmi Rangaswamy (Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad); Biswarup Sen (University of Oregon); Sahana Udupa (Max Planck Institute, Germany); Paromita Vohra (Independent Filmmaker, Mumbai); and Huma Yusuf (Woodrow Wilson Senior Fellow and Control Risks Consulting).

This conference is made possible by generous support from Ranvir and Adarsh Trehan and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.


Past Conferences


New Media and Social Change in PakistanApril 3, 2015 | Room 1636 School of Social Work Building

5th Annual Pakistan Conference

On April 3rd the 5th U-M-Pakistan conference, New Media and Social Change in Pakistan, brings together practitioners (journalists, bloggers) and academics to think through Pakistan’s changing media landscape and its implications for Pakistani society. The conference features:

  • Raza Rumi, consulting editor at The Friday Times and currently a Fellow at National Endowment for Democracy
  • Mahvish Ahmed, co-founder of Tanqeed and doctoral student at Cambridge University
  • Sana Saleem, journalist and blogger, director of
  • Mobina Hashmi, Assistant Professor of Television and Radio, Brooklyn College
  • Marta Bolognani, Research Associate, University of Bristol
Speaker Bios

This conference has been organized in conjunction with the Pakistan Students’ Association, and is co-sponsored by the U-M Department of Communication Studies and Institute for the Humanities.

Future Directions in Pakistan StudiesApril 4, 2015 | Room 1636 School of Social Work Building

This conference focuses on three areas of the study of Pakistan: art and architectural history; urban studies; and cultural history. It brings together leading academics, including:

  • Iftikhar Dadi - Associate Professor​, Departments of History of Art and Art, ​Cornell University
  • Kishwar Rizvi – ​Associate Professor, Department of History and Art, Yale, ​historian of Islamic Art and Architecture
  • Haris Gazdar – ​Senior Researcher, Collective for ​Social Science Research, Karachi
  • Rabia Nadir - Assistant Professor and Acting Head of the Centre for Media Studies​, Lahore School of Economics
  • Manan Ahmed - Assistant Professor​,​ Department of Histor​y, Columbia University
  • Framji Minwalla - Chair​, ​Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts​,Institute of Business Administration, Karachi
  • Kamran Asdar Ali - Associate ​Professor, Department of Anthropology; and Director, South Asia Institute, University of Texas, Austin

Speaker Bios

This conference has been organized in conjunction with the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, with co-sponsorship from the Department of the History of Art.

Recalling Democracy: Lineages of the PresentSeptember 5 & 6, 2014

Recalling Democracy: Lineages of the Present

September 5 & 6, 2014
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building

Conference Schedule                                                                                           Participants

Decolonization is justly claimed as an axial event of the twentieth century. From this vantage, India’s place in social science resided in its relatively early achievement of the status of a nation-state and its illustration of the dilemmas of a conjoined commitment to democracy and development. A range of empirical and theoretical developments in the last few decades has now converged to transform India from an object of received social science to an instigator of new cross-disciplinary approaches. This project builds upon and extends this shift by rethinking conceptions of the political and of the twentieth century in relation to India.

The two-day workshop at Michigan is the second to emerge out of this project. The first workshop was held in New Delhi on January 10 & 11, 2014 with a focus on India's political imaginaries. The Michigan workshop assembles an international group of scholars to rethink India’s democratic politics in the concrete political landscapes of late-colonial and postcolonial India.  Scholarly evaluations of India’s democracy have been as contentious as the phenomenon in question. The purpose of the workshop is neither to adjudicate existing disciplinary debates or definitions of democracy as such nor to offer yet another normative evaluation. It is rather to foster a consideration of India’s democracy as a trans-disciplinary object, paying attention to its long-run making across distinct practices, infrastructures (institutions and concepts), and conjunctures.

Mrinalini Sinha, Alice Freeman Palmer Professor of History, University of Michigan
Manu Goswami, Associate Professor of History, New York University

This conference is made possible with support from Ranvir and Adarsh Trehan and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.