Global India: Kerala, Israel, Berkeley | An Exhibition in Context

A multi-disciplinary panel discussion
Thu, Nov 21, 2013 9:00am to 11:00am
The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley

The exhibition Global India: Kerala, Israel, Berkeley brought to light the extensive holdings from Kerala, South India, collected by The Magnes since the 1960s, and their relationship with the development of South Indian studies at UC Berkeley, since the pioneering work of David G. Mandelbaum and Walter J. Fischel

A multidisciplinary panel of scholars from UC Berkeley and Stanford, including faculty from the Center for South Asia Studies and the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies, will join Francesco Spagnolo, Curator of The Magnes Collection, in revisiting history and tracing new paths for future collection-based scholarship: 

  • Lawrence Cohen, Professor of Anthropology and South & Southeast Asia Studies, Sarah Kailath Chair of India Studies, and Chair of the Center for South Asia Studies (UC Berkeley)
  • Robert Goldman, Professor of Sanskrit; Catherine and William L. Magistretti Distinguished Professor in South & Southeast Asian Studies (UC Berkeley)
  • Anna Schultz, Assistant Professor, Ethnomusicology (Stanford University)
  • Blake Wentworth, Assistant Professor, Tamil Studies (UC Berkeley)
  • Matthew Baxter, Political Science and Center for South Asia Studies (UC Berkeley)

The panelists will be reflecting on several themes raised by the exhibition, including the cultural mobility of the Kerala Jewish community in the context of South Indian culture; the study of Jewish Malayalam (the language spoken and written by the Jews of Kerala, considered both a dialect of Malayalam, a language spoken today by over thirty million people, and a Jewish language); the important historical documentation contained in the Abraham B. Salem papers at The Magnes; the nexus between Indian nationalism and the rise of Zionism among Kerala Jews in the first half of the 20th century; as well as the relationship between scholarship and material culture, archival sources, and historical photographs. 

The program is free and open to the public.


Co-presented by the Center for South Asia Studies and the Townsend Center Working Group in Modern Jewish Culture at UC Berkeley. 

Support for this program and for the Global India exhibition has beeen provided by the Walter & Elise Haas Fund

Program Information