South Asia's past is hardly confined to the dusty pages of history but rather is actively remembered, debated, and rewritten in modern times. Frequently political, religious, and cultural stakes hang upon (or are made to hang upon) how individuals and groups of people imagine and reimagine South Asia's deep past. Additionally, our modern assumptions, whether expressed or not, concerning temporality, periodization, religious identities, and so forth that indelibly shape our options for how to invoke and relate to earlier periods in South Asia.
The speaker series, "The Presence of the Past" seeks to highlight the work of scholars who address these many vectors of Indian history in present day scholarly and popular realms. By creating a forum for scholars who use different disciplinary methods and engage with diverse types of materials and time periods, the series aims to engender an ongoing discussion at Stanford University about how we approach and evoke South Asia's many pasts, presents, and possible futures.