Safar - Kathmandu, Nepal orungupto@gmail.com

PEOPLE

Senior Advisory Council

Prof. Ashish Nandy
Prof. Ashish Nandy is renowned sociologist and clinical psychologist, a bold and respected scholary voice.  He is the senior fellow at the centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi.  He was awarded PhD in Psychology from Gujrat University, Ahmedabad. He has visited Kathmandu a number of occassions and in one of his visits he has conducted workshops on South Asian Cultural Studies at Institute of Advanced Communication, Education, and Research (IACER). Prof Nandy is a prolific writer. Among is many books, some are Alternative SciencesThe Tao of CricketTime WarpsTime Treks.

Prof. Syed Manzoorul Islam                                          
He is professor of English at Dhaka University and is a novelist and critic. He received Bangla Academy award in 1996 for his literary contribution. He completed his doctorate from Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada in 1981. Prof. Islam’s areas of academic interest are Literary Theory, Cultural Studies, Postcolonial Theory and Criticism, and Art Criticism. Among many of his writings, two of the recent ones are The Merman’s Prayer and other Stories (2013) and Dinratriguli (2013).

Prof. Dipesh Chakrabarty
He is professor of History. He holds a PhD degree in history from the Australian National University. He is a founding member of the editorial collective of Subaltern Studies and is one of the leading thinkers of postcolonial discourses, South Asian studies, and contemporary theory. He is currently the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor in History, The University of Chicago. Among his multiple writings, some of the popular ones are: Subaltern Studies Vol. 9 editor, with Shahid Amin (1997)Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (2000)and Habitations of Modernity: Essays in the Wake of Subaltern Studies (2002)

Dr. Herman T. Salton
He holds a Ph.D. degree in Law (Auckland). He works at the intersection of international law and international relations, specializing in human rights and international organization, particularly the United Nations. He has law degrees from the University of Trento (Italy) and Auckland (New Zealand), as well as international relations degrees from the University of Oxford and Wales. He is the author of Veiled Threats: Islam, Headscarves and Religious Freedom in America and France (2008) and Arctic Host, Icy Visit: The Chinese President Comes to Iceland (2010). Herman has published widely on the United Nations, human rights, comparative law and international history, and is currently finalizing a third book on the role of the UN in the Rwandan genocide. He is fluent in English, French, Italian and Spanish.

Dr. Varuni Ganepola
She is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the Asian University for Women (AUW). She received her degrees in psychology and sociology at Australia’s Monash University and the University of Wales Swansea, UK. She began her teaching career in the UK and has also taught in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Australia. Her research interests include conflict and coping with displacement and refugeehood; distress, vulnerability, and resilience; and understanding lives of former child soldiers. More recently, she has undertaken research on domestic violence and suicide in South and Southeast Asia including Nepal; and Muslim women’s empowerment in South Asia. She also does sessional teaching in psychology at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

Dr. Carol C Davis
She is Associate Professor of Theatre at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania, teaching World Theatre, Asian Theatre, Shakespeare, Directing, Acting, and Theatre for Social Change, and directing students in theatre productions. Carol holds a PhD in Dramatic Arts from University of California, Berkeley. She has acted and directed at major California theatres, and in film and TV in California, Korea, and Malaysia. She is the founding artistic director of the Nepal Health Project, an educational and charitable theatre troupe that performed for over half a million villagers in rural Nepal, teaches workshops on emergency first aid throughout the country, creative dramatics in the orphanages of Kathmandu, and sponsors girls’ education. For her work in Nepal, Carol received the Half the Sky prize from The New York Times and author/journalist Nicholas Kristof. Carol was a Fulbright Senior Research Fellow and served on the Fulbright South and Central Asia Peer Review Committee. Her articles have appeared in Asian Theatre JournalTheatre SymposiumMime JournalEducation About Asia, Journal of South Asia Women StudiesThe Encyclopedia of Asian TheatreWorld Encyclopedia of Puppetry ArtsNot For Sale: Feminists Resisting Prostitution and Pornography,Mapping South Asia Through Theatre, and Routledge Handbook of Asian Theatre.

Prof. Fakrul Alam
He is professor of English at University of Dhaka. A writer and translator, Dr. Alam has taught in Bangladesh and abroad. At present is the Pro-Vice Chancellor of East West University, Dhaka He edited Unfinished Memories (Penguin 2012), an unfinished autobiography of Bangladesh revolutionary leader Sheikh Mujubur Rahman. He edited The Essential Tagore (Visva-Bharati and Harvard University Press, 2011) in collaboration with Radha Charabarty. He received SAARC Literary Award in 2012 and Bangla Academy Award in 2013.

Prof. Kaiser Hamidul Haq
Kaiser Haq began teaching English Literature at Dhaka University in 1975, and is currently on LPR from that institution. He has at various times taught part-time at NSU, BRAC, East West, ULAB, Eastern and a number of other universities. Between 2011 and 2015 he was a full-time professor at ULAB. He was a Commonwealth Scholar at Warwick University, a Senior Fulbright Scholar and Vilas Fellow at the University of Wisconsin –Milwaukee (1986-87), a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at SOAS, London University (2002-2003). In the latter capacity he gave writing tutorials to interested students. In the summer of 2003 he was the resident poet (“Café Poet”) at the Poetry Café of the Poetry Society of Great Britain. He was on the panel of judges for the Commonwealth Writers Prize for three years, one year of which he was the chairperson for the Eurasian region. As a poet and translator he has had the pleasure of seeing his work included in the curricula of schools and universities at home and abroad. His recent publication is The Triumph of the Snake Goddess (Harvard University Press, 2015).

Prof. Leonard Schwartz 
Leonard Schwartz is a poet and writer based in Washington and New York. His books include The New Babel: Toward A Poetics Of The Mid-East Crises (University of Arkansas Press), Salamander: A Bestiary (Chax Press), IF (Talisman House), and Benjamin Fondane: Cinepoems and Others (New York Review Books/Poets). He is Professor of Literary Arts at The Evergreen State College and has been a Visiting Professor in Columbia University’s MFA Program, at Naropa Institute, and at Bard College. In addition Schwartz hosts and produces the radio program Cross Cultural Poetics. About his work Mohja Kahf writes “A highly original voice engaged in a creatively subversive way with the issues of our day.” Schwartz is interested in the relationship between religious language, myth, and ecological thinking in the South Asian context.

Prof. Mahalakshmi Ramakrishnan
Prof. Mahalakshmi’s area of interest and specialization are Evolution of state structures in the early medieval period in south India; Tamil influences in early historical and early medieval Sri Lanka; interrogating gender and patriarchy in early India; growth and transformation of brahmanical religious traditions and institutions in the early medieval period in India; the development of brahmanical and Buddhist art and architecture in South and Southeast Asia; and tribal histories of South Asia, particularly the Brahmanical/ Buddhist-tribal interactions in the pre-modern period. At present she teaches at Center for Historical Studies, JNU, India. Her recent publication are The Making of the Goddess: Korravai-Durga in the Tamil Traditions (Penguin, 2011, The Book of Lakshmi (Penguin, 2009).

Prof. Mohit Ul Alam
Prof. Alam is the former Vice-Chancellor of Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, Mymensingh, Bangladesh.  He, at present, is the Dean of Arts and Social Sciences at Premier University, Chattogram, Bangladesh.  Prof. Alam is professor of English. He is a renowned novelist and poet. He regularly contributes articles on cricket and soccer in the leading Bangladesh English dailies. He has been the editor of academic journal Crossings: ULAB Journal of English Studies.

Prof. Rajagopalan Radhakrishnan
Prof. Radhakrishnan is Chancellor’s Professor, English, Comparative Literature at University of California, Irvin, USA. His research interests are Critical Theory, Postcoloniality, Poststructuralism, Postmodernism, Cultural Critique, Nationalisms and Diasporas, Globalization, Ethnicity and Minority Discourse, Gender and Feminisms. His major works are: Edward W. Said: A Critical Dictionary, forthcoming (Blackwell, 2010), Theory After Derrida, Dco-edited with Kailash Baral, (Routledge, 2009). Colonialism, Modernity, Theory, Co-edited with CT Indira, et al, (Pencraft, 2009), History, the Human, and The World Between (Duke U P, 2008), Transnational South Asian and the Making of A Neo-Diaspora, Co-edited with Susan Koshy, (Oxford U P, 2008), Theory as Variation (ed.) (Pencraft, 2007), Between Identity and Location: The Politics of Theory (Orient Longman, 2007), Theory in an Uneven World (Blackwell, 2003), Diasporic Mediations: Between Home and Location (U of Minnesota P, 1996).

Dr. Rakesh Batabyal
Dr. Batabyal is the faculty of Jawaharlal Nehru University. As Deputy Director of the UGC-Academic Staff College (2000-2016), he has trained thousands of teachers from across India, as well as Sri Lanka. For his in-depth understanding in matters both of society and communication, he was requested to contribute to the newly created Centre for Media Studies in JNU, where he has since been teaching and researching. His major works are: Communalism in Bengal from Famine to Noakhali, 1943-47 (Sage Pubications, 2005), Penguin Book of Modern Indian Speeches (Penguin, 2007), and JNU: The Making of a University (HarperCollins, 2014). He has several research articles published in various reputed journals such as Studies in HistoryStudies in People’s HistoryInternational Studies. His monographs on Media in Modern India, and Nationalism in India are due for publication in 2018.

Mr. Pankaj Bharadwaj

Pankaj Bhardwaj is a publishing professional with over 20 years of experience in publishing industry. He has worked with leading international publishing houses and is currently working with Taylor and Francis Group, a leading international academic publishing house, as General Manager. He looks after the Humanities and Social Science publishing business of the company across South Asia region under the company’s flagship brand ‘Routledge’. He is a postgraduate in Economics from  Pune University ( Fergussion College) and has also pursued ‘Master of Business Management’ from Maharshtra Institute of Management, Pune.

SAFAR Officials

Academic Staff
Prof. Dr. Sangita Rayamajhi: Director Research
Prof. Dr. Arun Gupto: Director, Comparative South Asian Studies
Mr. Ajay Bhadra Khanal: Chief Research Advisor

Administrative Staff
Mrs. Soma Gupta: Chief of Administration and Finance
Mr. Prakash Maharjan: Consultant Director of Ethics from CASSA

Academic Counsellors
Shankar Paudel
Sedunath Dhakal
Khagendra Prasad Nepal

Sangita Sigdel (from CASSA)

Communication Officer
Renuka Khatiwada

PROGRAMS AND RESEARCHERS

Under the South Asian Shade (USAS)
(SAFAR is working in collaboration with CASSA in all the projects)
USAS is an umbrella research project on South Asian Studies which focuses on rethinking regional studies.  Prof. Arun Gupto and Prof. Sangita Rayamajhi head the project. There are varieties of research going on in the project which are six at present:

  • Under the South Asian Shade: Rethinking South Asian Studies
  • Critical Digital Humanities
  • Nepal-Bangladesh Memory Studies
  • In and Out of Cultural Space
  • Law and Ethics: Nepal in Globality
  • Visual Culture: Urban Studies

Under the South Asian Shade: Interregional Conversations and Perambulations
How can there be a shade if its other, the cause, is not there?  But the one who creates the shade itself stands between the light and the shade; the creator of the shade is a liminal, an in-between between the the sun and the shade.  The shade is the protector but depends on the object, and depends on the light. The light, to be meaningful needs the other; the shade as complement who complements the light; the light and the shade complement one another when the object is in-between. None meaningful alone. None exists abandoned!

USAS conducts seminar-workshops and works on publication.  It questions the thematic, cartographic, and hegemonic premises; traces, agrees, critiques the commonalities of region; analyzes the pedagogy of area studies; revisits and reworks on methodologies.  It aims to explore the avenues to cut across the conventional scholarships on South Asian Studies, encouraging students and researchers to trace double binds, paradoxes, contraries, and contradictions to contest South Asian Studies.  We observe the history, validity, form and shape of regionalism.  We will include issues ranging from the Himalayas to Phonetics, vernacular epistemology to globality.

The research team consists of the following scholars
Dr. Shreyoshi Chettri
Dr. Subhasree Ghosh
Dr. Pallabi Gupta
Dr. Diksha Dhar
Ms. Aparna Awaal
Ms. Menuka Gurung

Critical Digital Humanities / Rethinking South Asian Studies
The need of information technology in implementing the programs in the Humanities is the primary goal of Ditgital Humanities Divison. Consequently, contemporary research in Nepal requires high levels of communication skills. Representing culture and art in a global platform, participating with the communicative nuances of globalization, comprehending highly competitive commerce and business, and advance scientific knowhow, DH works in the world of new-technologies. DH helps motivate students for research on various fields of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The research team of DH is planning to organize a seminar-workshop in the summer of 2019, in Kathmandu. DH fulfills our needs in the following four categories: Information, Research, Humanistic Values, and Global Communication with archiving projects.

Access to Information: The use of digital technology in teaching and learning allows instructors and scholars to communicate with one another and share information and knowledge more effectively. Access to information helps learn how to frame knowledge data in formal institutional environment. Information provides both textual and visual data for empirical studies and analysis.
Research: DH provides a quick and efficient access to data for study and research. It helps researchers explore, organize and analyze materials or data more quickly and effectively.
Humanistic Values: DH promotes the human thought and activities and our programs help understand the role of technology in the Humanities. DHers generally realize that to be human and to be technologically oriented is not separate or self-contradictory.
Global Communication with archiving projects: Visual and verbal texts, journals, and social media are all around us and we need to learn how to use them in our academic activities. The goal of DH education is to understand culture through technology and access to the means or methods of communication.

DH Management Team: Sedunath Dhakal, Shankar Paudel, Renuka Khatiwada
DHers: Sadat Khan, Sangita Sigdel, Menuka Gurung, Khagendra Nepal, Megh Raj Adhikari, Karuna Karki

Nepal-Bangladesh Memory Studies (the research is on hold due to Covid restrictions)

The perspectival cultural location is Nepal and Bangladesh in relation to the concept of memory.  The research is related with memory as mnemonic human process. It covers a wide range of topics from colonial history, human institutions, ethnicity, diaspora, drama, literature of anxiety, fiction, songs, nature, displacement, nationalism, and language. 

In and Out of the Cultural Spaces: Politics and Aesthetics of Dispora (Comparative Nepali Studies)
How do you look into a particular issue from the locations of home and abroad? How do things look different through spatial oscillation?  What is an aesthetic perception about Nepal from a distance? What political concepts do we form when our locations are changed? Keeping these questions in mind, we welcome Nepali academics, professionals, artists, businesspersons, and students who are ‘living abroad’ to engage with us on various issues like pedagogy, notions of vernacular and global concerns, urbanism, folk memory, Nepal, and the outside in general. How do our ‘outside’ selves see us?
‘In and Out’ is a traveling metaphor of the speaking subjects who are always on the threshold between home and abroad, in the creative magical dailobetween the two worlds that never are distinctly two worlds. We probably never cross the threshold. The traveling metaphor within the threshold is a double bind of moving in and out, in an oscillation of: presence and absence, home and abroad, oceanic journey out and reminiscing mind in. Let us presume that this is a liminal space, which constantly evokes the mind to speak about the space that you have never left by journeying out.
The idea of In and Out of the Cultural Spaces: Politics and Aesthetics of Diasporais a Comparative Nepali Studies project that invites you to speak in webinars, help us publish a journal, a series of anthologies, and work on the archives.  We will be honored to have you participate. SAFAR and CASSA research team is going to organize the program.

Research and Coordinating Team
Senior Editors: Khagendra Prasad Nepal, Menuka Gurung, Sedunath Dhakal
Members: Shankar Paudel, Meghraj Adhikari, Karuna Karki, Renuka Khatiwada

Law and Ethics: Nepal in Globality
Research Team: Prakash Maharjan, Sangita Sigdel

Visual Culture: Urban Studies
The research focus on multi disciplinary areas like studies on South Asian Cities, photography, and documentaries.  At present, a documentary “Art of the Lake: Art and City” is complete. Prof. Arun Gupto, Dr. Shreyashi Nandy Chettri, Renuka Khatiwada are the member of the research team of Comparative City Studies.
Research Team: Dr. Diksha Dhar, Ms. Renuka Khatiwada, and Mr. Shankar Paudel. Pushpa Raj Acharya is the advisor for the documentaries.