Ghostly Pasts and Speculative Futures

Date Range
Wed March 10th 2021, 9:00 - 10:30am
Event Sponsor
Center for South Asia at Stanford University in collaboration with Stanford's Center for Human Rights and International Justice and the Institute of South Asia Studies, UC Berkeley
Zoom Webinar
Ghostly Pasts and Speculative Futures

This conversation will examine the echoes of a divided South Asia that continue to haunt the present and the ways in which artists, writers and activists work alongside each other to imagine futures of collectivity and togetherness. Given recent and ongoing developments in the political landscape in South Asia, this discussion will recognize how the interlocking and intersecting histories of these lands influence the collective memory and continue to impact lives at home and in the diaspora in a myriad of ways. These artists’ and writers’ works are pan-South Asian and intergenerational responses.

Pacific Time: March 10, 2021 | 9:00-10:30 AM

India Time: March 10, 2021 10:30 PM - March 11, 2021 12:00 PM


Ather Zia, Ph.D., is a political anthropologist, poet, short fiction writer, and columnist. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Gender Studies program at the University of Northern Colorado Greeley. Ather is the author of Resisting Disappearances: Military Occupation and Women’s Activism in Kashmir, which won the 2020 Gloria Anzaldua Honorable Mention award and the 2021 Public Anthropologist Award. She is the founder-editor of Kashmir Lit and is the co-founder of Critical Kashmir Studies Collective. 

Naeem Mohaiemen uses films, installations, and essays to research families, borders, and utopias – beginning from Bangladesh’s two postcolonial markers (1947, 1971) and then radiating outward. He is the author of Midnight’s Third Child (Nokta, forthcoming) and Prisoners of Shothik Itihash. Naeem is a Mellon Teaching Fellow at Heyman Center, Columbia University, New York, and Senior Fellow at Lunder Institute of American Art, Colby College, Maine.

Urvashi Butalia is a feminist publisher and writer. Co-founder of India's first feminist publishing house, Kali for Women (1984), she is now Director of Zubaan, an imprint of Kali. Involved in the women's movement in South Asia, Urvashi writes extensively on issues relating to women's rights and feminisms in India. One of her best known publications is the The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India (winner of the Oral History Book Association award 2001 and the Nikkei Asia Award for Culture 2003).

Moderated by:

Aziz Sohail is focused on building interdisciplinary connections and supporting new cultural and pedagogical infrastructures. His research is a meditation on the longue-duree intersections of sexuality and colonialism with migration, law and identity through the work of practitioners who navigate empire(s) and its afterlives. Sohail is an MFA Candidate in Art (Curatorial and Critical Studies) at UC Irvine.


This event is part of the Arts and Justice series, in which all speakers’ interrogations are timely explorations of religious freedom and the freedom of speech. How does the State condone, facilitate, and encourage religion, class, and caste based carceral violence? What is the role of the Arts in visibilizing this violence? This series builds on the Stanford Arts Institute’s program on carceral justice and takes the conversation to South Asia.