New momentous rifts, tensions and enmities are emerging as social aspirations have spread to every village and town across South Asia. Prompted by rapid economic growth, by displacements by civil war and insurgencies, and by agricultural and ecological crisis, more people than ever are on the move: to burgeoning cities, to seek a life, and to reinvent and redefine themselves. These multiple shifts affect everybody and everything: friendships, family dynamics, sexual identities, domesticities, notions of dignity, of labor, of danger and propriety, and of the very limits of what a possible life may look like. At stake are the most basic and complex relationships that define social life.

The second South Asia by the Bay Graduate Conference will explore how large-scale transformations in South Asia touch and condition the individual and intimate lives of ordinary people – both in the present and in a longer historical perspective. The conference features six panels of graduate student research, four keynote addresses, and film screening and discussion of Bengali Harlem, with director Vivek Bald.

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