Timothy Dobe and Sumathi Ramaswamy will present, compare and discuss several visual images of M.K. Gandhi, each of which embodies important dimensions of Islamic traditions. They will consider, for example, images of Gandhi by the Indian Sufi writer, Khwaja Hasan Nizami from the 1920s, drawn during Gandhi’s rise to fame, and by three iconic Muslim artists of modern India, who to are drawn to painting the Mahatma. This interdisciplinary conversation will draw on material religious studies and the historiography of visual culture.
Timothy S. Dobe is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Grinnell College and currently a Visiting Fellow at DISC. His work focuses on South Asian ascetic traditions and holy men, colonial history and postcolonial studies, and theory in the study of religion, particularly comparative, performance and material religion studies. His recent book Hindu Christian Faqir: Modern Monks, Global Christianity and Indian Sainthood (2015) historicizes the category of sainthood in colonial Punjab through a comparative study of the Christian sadhu Sundar Singh and the neo-Vedantin swami Rama Tirtha. His next major project draws on recent religious studies models for understanding religiously plural contexts and applies them to M. K. Gandhi, arguing for the importance of local and lived Islamic traditions in the Mahatma’s South African and Indian contexts and contemporary transnational, activist communities.
Sumathi Ramaswamy is James B. Duke Professor of History and International Comparative Studies at Duke University and Co-Director of Duke’s India Initiative, and President of the American Institute of Indian Studies (2018- 2022). She has published extensively on language politics, gender studies, spatial studies and the history of cartography, visual studies and the modern history of art, and more recently, digital humanities and the history of philanthropy. Her most recent monograph is titled Terrestrial Lessons: The Conquest of the World as Globe (University of Chicago Press, 2017). She is the winner of numerous scholarly awards including from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany. She is currently working on a book on the shifting contours of educational philanthropy in colonial and modern India, and on a collaborative digital humanities project titled “No Parallel? The Fatherly Bodies of Gandhi and Mao.”
This presentation is sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Center, the Duke India Initiative, and the Duke Islamic Studies Center. A light lunch will be served. Parking is available in nearby Trent Rd. and Erwin Rd. parking decks. The series provides 1-hour parking vouchers to guests.
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Gulammohammed Sheikh, Kaavad: Gandhiji, 2008, Acrylic and oil on board, 8’ x 3’