Events

Instruments of Culture Lecture
A Retrospective: Haiti's Drums of Vodou, and the Mid-Century Ethnographers Who Collected Them
Friday, February 12; 4 to 5 p.m.

From the colonial period to the present, Haiti's sacred drums of Vodou have been revered and celebrated in some circles, while feared and systematically destroyed in others--yet they have consistently been located at the center of Haitian experience. Using several instruments from the Mathers Museum collection as a backdrop for conversation, Rebecca Dirksen, Assistant Professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, will discuss the historical and contemporary significance of tanbou (drums) within Haitian culture and the American ethnographer-collectors whose paths ultimately brought these instruments to Indiana University. This presentation will be amply illustrated with archival recordings and fieldwork video. Dirksen has published in the Yearbook for Traditional Music, Ethnomusicology Review, the Bulletin du Bureau d'Ethnologie d'Haiti, and elsewhere; she is presently writing a book on music, disaster, and development in Haiti. The event is free and open to the public.


Beyond Bollywood Lecture Series
Race, Repression, and Indian Anticolonialism in North America and Across the Pacific
Friday, February 19; 5 p.m

Seema Sohi, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, explores the early decades of the 20th century, when Indian migrants across North America organized a broad, innovative, and heterogeneous anticolonial movement that, according to British authorities, came dangerously close to toppling the British Raj during the First World War. Though their anticolonial politics began as a two-pronged effort to both contest anti-Indian racism in North America and challenge British colonialism at home, they ultimately charted radical visions of freedom that looked beyond the narrow horizon of western liberal democracies for emancipatory possibilities and, in the process, exposed the racialized assumptions and hollow rhetoric of U.S. and British liberalism and modernity. These forms of anticolonial politics provoked a global inter-imperial collaboration between U.S. and British officials to repress anticolonial revolt, in part, through the exclusion and repression of Indians in North America. Indian exclusion, therefore, must be understood not only as part of the broader historical narrative of anti-Asian immigration bans in the 19th and 20th centuries, but also as part of a history of radical repression. This presentation tracks U.S. and British surveillance and repression of Indian anticolonialists who were maligned as both racially and politically objectionable and whose political activism, Sohi argues, contributed to the rise of the American security state.

Seema Sohi completed her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in U.S. history, with a focus on Asian American history. Her work examines the radical anticolonial politics of South Asian intellectuals and migrant workers based in North America during the early twentieth century as well as the inter-imperial efforts of the U.S. and British states to repress them. A history of radicalism and antiradicalism, this project also looks at the racial formations of South Asians through the lens of antiradicalism during the early years of South Asian migration to the United States. She teaches various courses in the Ethnic Studies Department including the Introduction to Asian American Studies, Asian/Pacific American Communities, Race and Citizenship, and South Asian American History.

The lecture will be presented in conjunction with the exhibit Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation, created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. The Mathers Museum's presentation of the exhibit and related programming has been generously funded by Indiana University alumnus Robert N. Johnson, the Madhusudan and Kiran C. Dhar India Studies Program, the Asian American Studies Program, and the Department of American Studies. The event will be free and open to the public.


Crossing Boundaries: Interdisciplinarity and Anthropology
Friday and Saturday, February 19-20

The Anthropology Graduate Students Association will host this conference, which will feature Christina Snyder, Associate Professor in the departments of History and American Studies, as the keynote speaker. Registration begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, February 19, and the keynote speech is at 6:30 p.m.


English Vinglish (at IU Cinema)
Tuesday, March 1; 7 p.m.

English Vinglish tells the story of an Indian woman in the U.S. for a family wedding, whose language barrier isolates her within her own family. Unbeknownst to her relatives she enrolls in an English class for foreigners. Through her eyes we see the challenges of learning to navigate in a new culture in an unfamiliar language and the joys and frustrations those challenges bring. In Hindi, English, French, Tamil, and Telugu with English subtitles. (2012) Directed by Gauri Shinde. Free, but ticketed.


Mathers After Hours
Folklore and Ethnomusicology Student Association Musical and Material Showcase
Thursday, March 3; 7 to 9 p.m.

Indiana University folklore and ethnomusicology students will present music and artifacts from around the world during this free event.


Meet the Charm Club Quilters
Saturday, March 5; 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Come meet the women who made quilts inspired by artifacts from the Mathers Museum's collection, on exhibit in Material Culture: Quilts Inspired by Mathers Museum Artifacts. Ask questions, gain insight, and discuss techniques with these knowledgeable quilters in one-on-one or small group conversations in the exhibit space. The event will be free and open to the public.


Margarita, with a Straw (at IU Cinema)
Tuesday, March 8; 7 p.m.

This film follows a bright young college student from India with a congenital physical disability (cerebral palsy) who comes to New York City for graduate studies. Not only does Laila have to face all the cultural difficulties that any foreign student encounters, but she also has to find ways to negotiate the city, her growing awareness of her own sexuality, and a very visible disability. In English and Hindi with English subtitles. (2014) Directed by Shonali Bose and Nilesh Maniyar. Free, but ticketed.


Beyond Bollywood Lecture Series
Karma of Brown Folk: Fifteen Years Later
Thursday, March 10; 5 p.m.

"How does it feel to be a problem?" asked W. E. B. Du Bois of African Americans in his 1903 classic The Souls of Black Folk. In 2001, Vijay Prashad asked South Asians "How does it feel to be a solution?" In his kaleidoscopic critique, Karma of Brown Folk, Prashad looked into the complexities faced by the members of a "model minority" he claimed was consistently deployed as "a weapon in the war against black America." Fifteen years later, Prashad's lecture revisits the questions and issues raised in his work.

Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History, Director and Professor of International Studies Program at Trinity College. He is the author of seventeen books, including Karma of Brown Folk (2000), Uncle Swami (2013), Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting (2001), Darker Nations (2007), and Poorer Nations (2013). His most recent book is Letters to Palestine: Writers Respond to War and Occupation (2015). He is a columnist for al-Araby al-Jadeed, BirGün, and Frontline, as well as Chief Editor of LeftWord Books (Delhi).

The lecture will be presented in conjunction with the exhibit Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation, created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. The Mathers Museum's presentation of the exhibit and related programming has been generously funded by Indiana University alumnus Robert N. Johnson, the Madhusudan and Kiran C. Dhar India Studies Program, the Asian American Studies Program, and the Department of American Studies. The event will be free and open to the public.


Lotus Blossoms: Seán Cleland and Jackie Moran
Wednesday, March 23; 7 to 8 p.m.

Join 2016 Lotus Blossoms artists Seán Cleland (fiddle) and Jackie Moran (bodhrán) at the Mathers Museum for a powerhouse evening of Irish traditional tunes! Both visiting from the renowned Irish Music School of Chicago, these artists sit at the top of the Celtic music world. Seán Cleland is an Irish fiddle player, music teacher, producer, and executive director of the Irish Music School of Chicago, and is an in-demand Irish musician playing at feisanna (traditional Gaelic arts and culture festivals) all across North America, Canada, and Ireland. The foundation of Irish traditional music is the pulse of its drum, the Bodhrán, and no other percussionist tills that ground better than Jackie Moran. Born in Tipperary, ten-year-old Jackie and his family immigrated to Chicago where he began drumming with the best players in the Irish music scene. Jackie is preeminent in Chicago Irish music, a founding and driving force of bands such as The Drovers, Comas, and Bua. He is a fixture in the studio and in concert settings, accompanying great artists such as Liz Carroll, John Doyle, Martin Hayes, Paddy Keenan, and Jimmy Keane, as well as playing in four Hollywood films. Jackie's talents have also led him to appear on stage with Riverdance, and to perform with the Trinity Irish Dance Company, which he helped to create. The event will be free, and suitable for all ages.


Beyond Bollywood Lecture Series
The Bengali Harlem/Lost Histories Project: Documenting Early Stories of South Asian Muslim Immigration to the U.S.
Thursday, March 24; 5 p.m.

Vivek Bald will draw from his book Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America (2013), and present material from his ongoing documentary film In Search of Bengali Harlem and web space "The Lost Histories Project," to explore the stories of South Asian Muslim peddlers and seamen who settled in the U.S. during the Asian Exclusion era, between the 1890s and 1940s. These two groups of men, who were predominantly from regions in present-day Bangladesh and Indian West Bengal, were highly mobile. Most were sojourners who cycled through clandestine networks in the U.S. Northeast, Midwest, and South to sell "Oriental goods" or to work in restaurants or factories, and then returned to their villages and towns on the subcontinent. But a smaller number settled permanently in the U.S. and married within African American and Puerto Rican neighborhoods: in Tremé, New Orleans; Black Bottom and Paradise Valley in Detroit; and Harlem and the Lower East Side in New York City. At at time when the United States sought to criminalize and exclude Asian immigrants, U.S. neighborhoods of color provided South Asian men with homes, home bases, and the possibility to build lives under the shadows of the immigration laws. Bald will relate these stories of early migration and cross-racial community-making, and discuss their presentation across the multiple media of writing, film, and the web.

Bald is a scholar, writer, and documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on histories of migration and diaspora, particularly from the South Asian subcontinent. He is the author of Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America (Harvard University Press, 2013), and co-editor, with Miabi Chatterji, Sujani Reddy, and Manu Vimalassery of The Sun Never Sets: South Asian Migrants in an Age of U.S. Power (NYU Press, 2013). His films include Taxi-vala/Auto-biography, (1994) which explored the lives, struggles, and activism of New York City taxi drivers from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and Mutiny: Asians Storm British Music (2003) a hybrid music documentary/social documentary about South Asian youth, music, and anti-racist politics in 1970s-90s Britain. Bald is currently working on a transmedia project aimed at recovering the histories of peddlers and steamship workers from British colonial India who came to the United States under the shadows of anti-Asian immigration laws and settled within U.S. communities of color in the early 20th century. The project consists of the Bengali Harlem book as well as a documentary film In Search of Bengali Harlem (currently in production), and a digital oral history website (currently in development).

The lecture will be presented in conjunction with the exhibit Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation, created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. The Mathers Museum's presentation of the exhibit and related programming has been generously funded by Indiana University alumnus Robert N. Johnson, the Madhusudan and Kiran C. Dhar India Studies Program, the Asian American Studies Program, and the Department of American Studies. The event will be free and open to the public.


Reimagining Opera for Kids: The Magic Flute
Friday, March 25; 1 to 1:45 p.m.

Drop by the MMWC for a fun performance of a condensed, all-English version of Mozart's The Magic Flute--as presented by Reimagining Opera for Kids (ROK). Led by Jacobs School of Music faculty coach Kimberly Carballo, and as a community partner in service learning for Indiana University students, ROK has a two-fold goal: to introduce area children to opera through engaging first experiences as audience members, and to give developing professional musicians an opportunity to hone their performance skills. The musicians donate their preparation and performance time, and ROK provides free performances and curriculum guides to K-12 students. The event will be free and open to the public.


Stirring the Pot: Bringing the Wanamakers Home
Friday, March 25; 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Join Joe and Fileve Palmer Stahlman, curators of Stirring the Pot: Bringing the Wanamakers Home, as they and members of the Tusarora Nation discuss the Stahlmans' work to return images of six Tuscarora ancestors to their present-day descendants, and to learn more about the individuals in the photographs through conversations with those descendants--an act they describe as a form of digital repatriation.


Lotus Blossoms World Bazaar Family Day (at Binford Elementary School, 2300 E. 2nd St., Bloomington)
Saturday, April 2; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Lotus Blossoms World Bazaar Family Day is a free multicultural arts-and-education event for kids and families that will feature hands-on activities, explorations of world cultures, and live performances--more than 30 activity stations in all. Appropriate for all ages, but especially fun for kids K-6.


Family Craft Day
Inspired by the MMWC Collections
Sunday, April 10; 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Make your own paper adire cloth, paper quilts, and other items inspired by artifacts from the Mathers Museum. The event will be free and open to the public.


Research at the Mathers
Of Gods, Men...and Tourists
Thursday, April 14; 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

The paantu is considered a protective deity by the people in a small Japanese town. But throngs of tourists that come each year tend to see it as a monster. What happens when a town has to think about how to protect its guardian deity? Kate Schramm, a PhD Candidate in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, and a co-curator of the exhibit MONSTERS! explores "Of Gods, Men...and Tourists" in the free public lecture.


Roundtable on the Indian Diaspora
Friday, April 15, 1 to 4 p.m.

Leading scholars will come together for a roundtable to discuss the concept of diaspora and the role Indians in the United States and elsewhere have had in shaping how connections to the homeland are maintained as well as transformed. Organized by Pedro Machado, Associate Professor of History at Indiana University, and Ishan Ashutosh, Assistant Professor of Geography at Indiana University, the participants will include Sandhya Shukla, Associate Professor of English, Director of American Studies at University of Virginia; Maia Ramah, Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies at Pennsylvania State University; and Aisha Khan, Associate Professor of Anthropology at New York University.


Folk Art, Music, and Root Beer Floats
Sunday, April 24; 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Join us for the premiere of Traditional Arts Indiana's Bicentennial exhibit, Indiana Folk Arts: 200 Years of Tradition and Innovation, and a celebration of Indiana folk arts. Before the exhibit begins its travels across the state, the MMWC will present it to the IU Bloomington campus and local communities, and will celebrate the opening with an afternoon of traditional arts demonstrations, craft discussions, and live music. Folk artists from around the state will join us for this special gathering, and at 2 p.m. we'll serve free root beer floats! The event will be free and open to the public.


Mathers After Hours
Study Break
Thursday, May 5; 7 to 9 p.m.

Take a break from studying and work with a relaxing evening at the MMWC. Play some board and card games, and do some crafts, including mandala coloring and finger knitting, to soothe away the stress. The event is free and open to the public.