2016: Celebrating Another Harmony: South Asian Folklore in the 21st Century

(Sponsored by: the Committee on Degrees in Folklore & Mythology; the Office of the Provost; the Department of South Asian Studies; the Harvard University South Asia Institute; the Mahindra Humanities Center; the Committee on Degrees in Theater, Dance & Media; and the Office for the Arts at Harvard.)

On Friday, April 8th and Saturday, April 9th, 2016, the annual Folklore & Mythology Symposium will be "Celebrating Another Harmony: South Asian Folklore in the 21st Century"!

Please see this page for Participant Titles & Abstracts.

Friday, April 8, 2016
Barker Center 133, Plimpton Room
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm


Margaret Mills, Ohio State University (Professor Emerita)
"How Stories Lodge in Lives"


Saturday, April 9, 2016
Barker Center, Thompson Room
9:00 am – 6:00 pm

 8:30 – Coffee & Pastries

 9:00 – Opening Remarks

 9:15 – 10:45 – Undergraduate Student Panel

Aniket De, Tufts University
“Divided Songs, Altered Gods: Partition, Nationalism, and Performance in the Bengal Borderland”

Benjamin D. Grimm, Harvard University
“Trans-gression: Gender, Divinity, and Cross-dressing in the Krishna Līlāhava”

 Megan Taing, Harvard University
“Brotherhood and Humor: Negotiating the South Asian American College Experience

10:45 – 11:00 – Coffee Break

11: 00 – 12:30 – South Asian Folklore in Historical Perspective

 Frank J. Korom, Boston University
“Three Decades of Folklore Studies in South Asia: Toward a History”

 Adheesh Sathaye, University of British Colombia
“The Scribal Life of Folktales in Premodern India”

 Leela Prasad, Duke University
“Nameless in a Great Garden: When English Imperial Conquest Becomes a Purāṇa”

12:30 – 1:30 – Lunch (provided)

1:30 – 3:30 – South Asian Material Culture & Belief

 Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger, Emory University
“Standing in Cement: Ravana on the Chhattisgarhi Plains”

 Kirin Narayan, Australian National University
“Making and Narrating: Vishwakarma Family Stories among Artisans”

 Puja Sahney, SUNY- Albany
“Transnational Spaces of Belonging: Immigration Process, Social Ties, and Hindu Homes of Purity”

Ülo Valk, University of Tartu
Where the Goddess Spent her Wedding Night: Place-Lore of the Kāmākhyā Temple in Silghat, Assam”

3:30 – 3:45 – Coffee Break

3:45 – 5:15 – The Politics of Folklore

Leah Lowthorp, Harvard University
“Folklore, Politics, and the State: Kutiyattam and National/Global Heritage in India”

Shakthi Nataraj, University of California, Berkeley
“Critical Folkloristics and the Study of Transgender Women’s Communities in South India”

Finnian Gerety, Brown University
“The Amplified Sacrifice: Sound, Technology, and Participation in Vedic Rituals in Kerala”

5:15 – 5:45 – Closing Remarks and Discussion

5:45 – Performance 

6:00 - End

(Cement image of Ravana (protagonist of the Ramayana) looking on as an effigy of himself is being burnt at the end of the Ramlila, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, October 2014.  Photo by Joyce Flueckiger.)