Guest: Andrea Gutierrez, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Asian Studies
Host: Christopher Rose, Department of History
Male-dominated narratives, male authors, and male-centered agency and priorities have been the norm throughout history, until the latter half of the 20th-century. So it’s no surprise that in ancient literature and epics, if you consider something like Homer’s Odyssey or other classics, even the Ramayana, the story of King Rama in early India, you see male authors telling the stories, adventures, and histories of men. In the Tamil literature of South India, however, we see something different.
Guest Andrea Gutierrez introduces us to epic South Asian poems from the beginning of the first millennium that past the Bechdel test, when women’s narrative critiqued, cajoled, narrated, and provided guidance for the devout.
Following World War II, a large part of the world was in the hands of European powers, established as colonies in the previous centuries. As one of the nations that came out on top of the geo-political situation, the United States was looked to with hope by aspiring nationalist movements, but also seen as a potential source by European allies in the war as a potential supporter of the move to restore the tarnished empires to their former glory. What’s a newly emerged world power to do?
Guest R. Joseph Parrott takes a look at the indecisive position the United States took on decolonization after helping liberate Europe from the threat of enslavement to fascism.
In the late 15th century, Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope and conquered the Indian Ocean, bringing the rich trade under the direct control of the crowned heads of Europe and their appointed Indian Ocean Trading Companies. Or did he? Did Europe ever really come to dominate the 90,000 year old trade, or did it become just another in a series of actors competing for attention in an antique system of exchanges and commodities?
Guest Susan Douglass offers a nuanced view of the last five hundred years of European encounters with a deeply established international economy, makes the case that the remarkable story of this resource rich region isn’t over just yet.
Every American schoolchild knows that Columbus sailed west to reach Asia with the hope of finding precious metals, expensive fabrics, and exotic spices: all goods that were being traded in the Indian Ocean, and had been for millennia. Ancient Greek texts describe an active Indian Ocean economy. Some scholars have even linked the peopling of Australia to a slow, methodic collecting of resources along the coastal route from east Africa.
In the first of a two part episode guest Susan Douglass, author of the Indian Ocean in World History web site, describes the murky beginnings of trade and travel in the Indian Ocean basin, and the cultural exchanges and influences that the trade had in the days before the Europeans arrived.
Every veteran of high school American history knows that the rallying cry of the American revolution was “No taxation without representation!” But what did that rallying cry actually mean? What were the greater principles behind it? And, in an empire upon which the sun never set, were the 13 North American colonies the only place that Britain’s colonial subjects were agitating for a larger role back in London?
In this second of a two-part episode, guest James M. Vaughn walks us through the long and often painful process that took our founding fathers away from their original goal of from wanting representation and equal standing with the British motherland to the decision to split off from the world’s most powerful empire and go their own way.
How did an expatriate Indian lawyer who’d been living in South Africa for two decades become the leading figure in the movement for South Asian independence from British colonialism? Who were the other major figures in the push for Indian Independence? And when did the path toward the Partition of the subcontinent become the inevitable outcome? And what are the lingering effects on South Asian politics today?
Guest Aarti Bhalodia from UT’s South Asia Institute sheds light on one of the most pivotal, and traumatic, events of the 20th century.
Buddhism is unquestionably one of the world’s major faith traditions, but its origins are somewhat shrouded in mythology and legend surrounding its founder, Siddharta Gautama, the historical Buddha. Who was he? When and where did he live? And what were the social currents and forces in his own time that shaped his worldview and led him to renounce the world in an effort to save humanity from itself?
Guest Keeley Sutton from UT’s Department of Asian Studies helps us understand the historical Buddha and the era in which he lived.
Ancient, or Classical, India (300s BC-400s AD) was a seminal period in history. Nearly everything that is associated with classical India, the epics such as the the R?m?ya?a and the Mah?bh?rata, and great temple architecture, came out of this period. Great kings like A?oka left their mark on the classical world. Moreover, this was the period when oral traditions were written down, and the classical Vedic religion began to take on a form that we understand as Hindusim.
Guest Patrick Olivelle from UT’s Department of Asian Studies describes the Maurya and Gupta Empires and the flourishing period of South Asian history “between the empires.”
At the height of the British empire, India was considered the jewel in Britain’s crown. For over 150 years, a handful of British troops maintained control over a country of 300 million. Finally, after two world wars and a popular independence movement, Britain abandoned its imperial project and withdrew from India in 1947. What was Britain’s motivation in keeping India, and how did they accept the inevitability of losing their most valuable colony?
Guest Snehal Shingavi from UT’s Department of English examines the nature of British colonialism in South Asia and its lasting legacy sixty years after decolonization.