Keynote Session & Opening Ceremony


Prof. James Scott in conversation with Prof. Pratap Bhanu Mehta


Thursday, July 5th
16:30-17:30
Stein Auditorium



At AAS-in-Asia 2018, we present to you the keynote in an engaging new format: The keynote speaker James Scott (Professor, Yale University) in conversation with Pratap Bhanu Mehta (VC, Ashoka University). The conversation will focus on themes described in Prof. Scott's works including nature of the modern state, methodological challenges of studying society and the philosophical attractions of anarchism. Also, brought into focus will be James Scott's lifelong engagement with field sites in South and South-East Asia.

Speaker Bio



James Scott
Yale University, Connecticut

James Scott is the Sterling Professor of Political Science and Professor of Anthropology and is co-Director of the Agrarian Studies Program at Yale University. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. His research concerns political economy, comparative agrarian societies, theories of hegemony and resistance, peasant politics, revolution, Southeast Asia, theories of class relations and anarchism. His publications include The Moral Economy of the Peasant, Yale University Press, 1976; Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance, Yale Press, 1985; Domination and the Arts of Resistance, Yale Press, 1990; Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, Yale Press, 1998; The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia, Yale University Press, 2008;Two Cheers for Anarchism, Princeton University Press, 2013; and Against the Grain: A Deep History of the First Agrarian States, Yale Press 2017. He is a mediocre sheep breeder and beekeeper in Connecticut.


Pratap Bhanu Mehta
Vice-Chancellor, Ashoka University

Pratap Bhanu Mehta is the Vice-Chancellor of Ashoka University. He was previously President, Center for Policy Research. He has been a Professor at Harvard, JNU, the Global Faculty Program at NYU Law School. He has published widely in political theory, constitutional law, society and politics in India, governance and political economy, and international affairs. His most recent publications includeThe Oxford Handbook to the Indian Constitution(co-edited with Madhav Khosla and Sujit Choudhary); Rethinking India's Public Institutions (with Devesh Kapur and Milan Vaishnav); Non-Alignment 2.0 (with Srinath Raghavan, Sunil Khilnani et al), The Oxford Companion to Politics in India (with Niraja Jayal); India and Multilateralism (with Bruce Jones and WPS Sidhu) and the Burden of Democracy.

Opening Ceremony Cultural Performance


Opening Ceremony Cultural Performance - ‘Where the streets are fragrant with sandal paste…’


Thursday, July 5th, 17:30 - 18:30
17:30 - 18:30
India Habitat Centre, Stein Auditorium





History is flexible. Dance history even more so. With the advent of mechanized documentation, the last century of dance is partially visible to us. But before that? Painted and sculpted references, rich but static. Textual prescriptions, detailed but immobile. We present to you three new ensemble pieces for Bharatanatyam use imagination to speculate on the place of dance in pre-democratic society, in non-public entertainment and in the natural environment.



About the choreographer

Justin McCarthy is a dancer, musician, instructor and choreographer. He has performed extensively as a soloist in bharatanatyam and has choreographed many ensemble works in which he has appeared alongside dancers trained by him at the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra. His first choreography, Maduraikanchi, was premiered in Delhi in 1993. This has been followed by many others, including Abhigyanashakuntalam (1997), Of Longing, Matter and Divinity (2005), Rajavilaasam (2009), Lokaalokam (2010), Naukacharitramu (2013) He has been with the performing arts department of Ashoka University since 2014. McCarthy received the Nartaka award for lifetime achievement in bharatanatyam from Natyanjali Trust, Chennai in 2017.

Cocktail Reception


Opening Ceremony Cocktail Reception

Thursday, July 5th
18:30 - 19:30
Lower Ground Floor, Stein Auditorium


We invite you to join us for snacks and drinks post the Opening Ceremony. Drinks will be served at the lower ground level of the Stein Auditorium upon receipt of the drinks token from the delegates.