Women in the Indian subcontinent are often associated with the smiling, singing and dancing actresses who appear in Bollywood films (Indian cinema). However, throughout history women in that region have played a significant role in the political, religious and cultural life of their society.
The contributions of these women are the subject of a symposium titled “Patronage and Power: Women Movers and Shakers in the Indian Subcontinent,” which will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 20
, in the Members Room on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public. Advance registration is not required. For a complete program of the day’s events, visit www.lcasianfriends.org/event/symposium
The symposium, which will explore the role that women have played and continue to play in different sectors of South Asian society, is hosted jointly by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who will deliver welcoming remarks; the Library’s Asian Division; the Asian Division Friends Society; and the School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University. The event is made possible by the generous support of Walter and Mrinalini Andersen, Rama and Arun Deva, David Good of the Tata Group and Ranvir and Adarsh Trehan and the Trehan Foundation.
Leading scholars will address topics such as women and religion, Begums and Maharanis (female rulers and nobility), women leaders in India’s independence struggle, and women and art.
Speakers and moderators include Molly Emma Aitken, historian of South Asian art at Columbia University; Debra Diamond, associate curator of South and Southeast Asian art at the Freer and Sackler Galleries; Geraldine Forbes, Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of History at the State University of New York at Oswego; Smita Jassal, anthropologist and professor of gender and development studies at Columbia and American Universities; Padma Kaimal, associate professor of art and art history at Colgate University; Nancy Martin, associate professor of Religious Studies and Griset Lecturer in Ethics at Chapman University; Rachel McDermott, chair of the Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures Department at Columbia University; John McLeod, chair of the Department of History at the University of Louisville; Laurie Patton, chair of the Department of Religion at Emory University; Barbara Ramusack, professor of history at the University of Cincinnati; Kenneth Robbins, scholar of Indian history and art; and Zeenut Ziad, professor of economics and author of “The Magnificent Mughals.”
In conjunction with the symposium, a special display on women in Indian art and history drawn from the Library’s Asian Division collections will be on view in the Asian Reading Room from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on April 20. The curators of the display are Allen Thrasher and Nuzhat Khatoon of the Library’s South Asian Reference Team.