Since 2006 Professor Lothspeich has been conducting research for a book on a form of Indian theatre called Ramlila which enacts the story of the Hindu god Ram. Ramlila productions occur across much of Hindi-speaking North India every fall and may run three to five hours per night over the course of two weeks or more. In the last eight years Professor Lothspeich has attended the Ramlila festival in India five times and has seen productions, both amateur and professional, at eighteen different venues across the state of Uttar Pradesh, though she has a special fondness for three amateur productions in and around the city of Bareilly. In October 2014, she curated a photo and video exhibit on Ramlila at the largest annual conference on South Asia, hosted by the University of Wisconsin. Professor Lothspeich regularly incorporates her knowledge, as well as abundant media and oral histories from her research in her courses ASIA 332, ‘The Story of Ram in Indian Culture’. In this course, students perform their own plays based on the Ramayana as a capstone to their learning. Besides ASIA 332, Professor Lothspeich also enjoys teaching a course on the other Hindu epic, ASIA 333, ‘The Mahabharata: Remembered and Reimagined’. The Mahabharata was the subject of her first book, Epic Nation: Reimagining the Mahabharata in the Age of Empire (Delhi: OUP, 2009).
Nadia Yaqub, associate professor of Arabic language and culture, has joined the editorial collective of JMEWS: Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, the official journal of the Association of Middle East Women’s Studies. Edited by Frances Hasso (Duke, Women’s Studies and International Comparative Studies), Banu Gokariksel (UNC Chapel Hill, Geography), and Miriam Cooke (Duke, Asian and Middle East Studies), JMEWS is an interdisciplinary journal that advances the fields of Middle East gender, sexuality, and women’s studies through the contributions of academics, artists, and activists from around the globe working in the interpretive social sciences and humanities. JMEWS publishes area-specific research informed by transnational feminist, sexuality, masculinity, and cultural theories and scholarship. It is particularly interested in work that employs historical, ethnographic, literary, textual, and visual analyses and methodologies. The journal also publishes book and film reviews, review essays, and dissertation abstracts that highlight theoretical innovation in gender and sexuality studies focused on the Middle East. For more information visit https://www.dukeupress.edu/Journal-of-Middle-East-Womens-Studies/.