Monday, March 4, 2024

Join the South Asian Studies Program (SASP), an International Programs affinity group, as they host Shailaja Paik from the University of Cincinnati. Paik will discuss her book The Vulgarity of Caste: Dalits, Sexuality, and Humanity in Modern India which offers the first social and intellectual history of Dalit performance of Tamasha—a popular form of public, secular, traveling theater in Maharashtra—and places Dalit Tamasha women who represented the desire and disgust of the patriarchal society at the heart of modernization in twentieth-century India.

Paik will engage with responses to her book by Arpita Sarker, University of Iowa (UI) postdoctoral research fellow, and Rajorshi Das, UI PhD candidate. SASP Director Aniruddha Dutta will introduce Paik.

This event will take place on Thursday, April 18, 2024, from 4 – 5 p.m. (CDT) in the Iowa Theater located inside the Iowa Memorial Union.


Dr. Shailaja Paik

Dr. Shailaja Paik is the Charles P. Taft Distinguished Professor of History and associate faculty in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Asian Studies at the University of Cincinnati. Her first book Dalit Women's Education in Modern India: Double Discrimination (Routledge, 2014) examines the nexus between caste, class, gender, and state pedagogical practices among Dalit ("Untouchable") women in urban India. Her second book The Vulgarity of Caste: Dalits, Sexuality, and Humanity in Modern India (Stanford University Press, 2022) focuses on the politics of caste, class, gender, sexuality, and popular culture in modern Maharashtra. Her book won the John F. Richards and the Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy prizes for the most distinguished work on South Asia. She is currently working on her monograph “Becoming ‘Vulgar’: Caste Domination and Normative Sexuality in Modern India” and co-editing three books: Dalits: A Reader; Dr. B.R. Ambedkar (Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming) and “Caste and Race in South Asia and Beyond” (Routledge).  

Dr. Arpita Sarker is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies at the University of Iowa.

Rajorshi Das is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of Iowa.

Dr. Aniruddha Dutta is the SASP Director and the associate professor in the Departments of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies and Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Iowa.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Daniel Vorwerk in advance at 319-467-1619 or


International Programs (IP) at the University of Iowa (UI) is committed to enriching the global experience of UI students, faculty, staff, and the general public by leading efforts to promote internationally oriented teaching, research, creative work, and community engagement.  IP provides support for international students and scholars, administers scholarships and assistance for students who study, intern, or do research abroad, and provides funding opportunities and grant-writing assistance for faculty engaged in international research. IP shares their stories through various media, and by hosting multiple public engagement activities each year.