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Dismantling Casteism and Racism: A Symposium “Continuing the Unfinished Legacy of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar”

October 12, 2019 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Dismantling Casteism and Racism: A Symposium

“Continuing the Unfinished Legacy of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar”

The Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies (A/PIA) Program at the University of Michigan & the Ambedkar Association of North America have co-organized a symposium to address the theme “Dismantling Casteism and Racism.”  The symposium will examine the contemporary and historical intersections between anti-racist and anti-caste struggles in South Asia and the U.S.

Vandenberg Room

Michigan League, 911 N. University, Ann Arbor,Michigan

Light lunch will be provided

Saturday: October 12, 2019

Please RSVP here.

Featured Speakers

Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd, Ph.D. is an award-winning scholar, political theorist, and one of the most prominent anti-caste activists and intellectuals in India. He is currently the director of the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at Maulana Azad National Urdu University.  Prof. Shepherd’s most recent publications include Turning the Pot, Tilling the Land: Dignity of Labour in Our Times (with co-writer Durgabai Vyam, 2007) and a memoir titled From a Shepherd Boy to an Intellectual (2019).

Thenmozhi Soundararajan is a U.S.-based filmmaker, transmedia artist, and Dalit rights activist. She is the founder of Equality Labs, an organization that uses community research, socially engaged art, and technology to end the oppression of caste apartheid, Islamophobia, white supremacy, and religious intolerance. In 2015, Soundararajan was was a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation fellow, during which time she helped curate #DalitWomenFight, a transmedia project and activist movement.

Ronald E. Hall, Ph.D. is Professor of Social Work at Michigan State University.  His research specializations includes a focus on intraracial racism, colorism, caste, and mental health.  His publications include The Color Complex: The Politics of Skin Color Among African Americans (edited), and The Scientific Fallacy and Political Misuse of the Concept of Race.

Ankita Nikalje is a Doctoral Student in the Counseling Psychology program at the College of Education at Purdue.  Her research focuses on the continued psychological impacts of colonization in South Asian populations, and seeks to understand how historical oppression and current experiences of racism impact mental and physical health.

Gaurav Pathania, Ph.D. is a sociologist and currently teaches at The George Washington University at Washington DC. His current project explores Dalits and Black activism in the US. In 2018, he published his first book, The University as a Site of Resistance: Identity and Student Politics” with Oxford University Press.

Panel Moderator

Manan Desai, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies and the Department of American Culture at the University of Michigan.  He also serves on the academic council of the South Asian American Digital Archive.

Co-sponsored by the Department of American Culture, Center for South Asian Studies, Barger Leadership Program, Department of History, Department of English Language & Literature, Periyar Ambedkar Study Circle, Association for India’s Development, and American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin.


October 12, 2019
10:00 am - 3:00 pm


911 North University AvenueAnn Arbor, MI, 48104United States (map)
911 North University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48104 United States
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