Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Objects Across Borders: Conversations on South Asian Materialities

Objects Across Borders brings together scholars and creative practitioners working in and on South Asia to reflect on the stories embedded in visual and material artefacts.

Objects Across Borders seminar series poster
Can a matchbook contain and displace known histories of worker struggles in the Sri Lankan hill country? What might the traces of the china root in Persian pharmacopeia suggest to us about 18th century patients across the Indian Ocean? How does a butter yellow can of milk powder illuminate mobilities between the southern Indian state of Kerala and the Arabian Gulf? What does the journey of an audio cassette of popular music from north-western Pakistan tell us about practices of preservation and networks of trade? How might remembering and forgetting among the inner London Bangladeshi diaspora be examined through a 500 taka note from East Pakistan?

Objects Across Borders brings together scholars and creative practitioners working in and on South Asia to reflect on the stories embedded in visual and material artefacts. Through these conversations, we hope to foreground new or overlooked connections, contradictions and solidarities across disciplinary and geographic boundaries. This series is organised by Vindhya Buthpitiya (UCL) and Mallika Leuzinger (Princeton) and hosted by the UCL Centre for the Study of South Asia and the Indian Ocean World, and The Fung Global Fellows Program and Program in South Asian Studies at Princeton University.


April–May 2021

Session 1: Of Matchbooks and Gold Jewellery

29th April, 16.00 –17.30, UK time

With Mythri Jegathesan and Chinar Shah

Session 2: Of Fezzes and China Root

6th May, 15.00 –16.30, UK time

With Shamara Wettimuny and Shireen Hamza

Session 3: Of Master-copies and Video CDs

13th May, 15.00 –16.30, UK time

With Timothy Cooper and Wazhmah Osman

Session 4: Of Nido Cans and Taka Notes

20th May, 15.00 –16.30, UK time

With Mohamed Shafeeq Karinkurayil and Saif Osmani

Session 5: Of Hooks and Handkerchiefs

27th May, 15.00 –16.30, UK time

With Luke Heslop and Adhitya Dhanapal