Project Team

Roy, Jamini. Boating, 1920. West Bengal, India. Gouache on paper. San Diego Museum of Art, Edwin Binney 3rd Collection, 1990.1458. 

Project Leaders

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Shane Carter

Shane Carter is a former high school history-social science teacher and currently the Program Coordinator for ORIAS at UC Berkeley. ORIAS offers professional learning programs for educators, focused on helping teachers better understand World History and other international topics across disciplines. Shane is also the author of two podcast series: Points In Between (which explores the experience of newcomer students in US schools) and Future Imperfect

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Sugata Ray

Sugata Ray is Associate Professor of South and Southeast Asian art in the Departments of History of Art and South & Southeast Asian Studies and the co-founder of the South Asia Art Initiative at the University of California, Berkeley. His research and writing focus on climate change and the visual arts from the 1500s onwards. Ray is the author of Climate Change and the Art of Devotion: Geoaesthetics in the Land of Krishna, 1550–1850 (2019; winner of the American Academy of Religion’s Religion and the Arts Book Award) and co-editor of Ecologies, Aesthetics, and Histories of Art (forthcoming) and Water Histories of South Asia: The Materiality of Liquescence (2020). He is currently writing a book on Indian Ocean art histories in the age of Anthropocene extinction. Find him at @SugataRay1

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Emily M. Schell

Emily Schell, Ed.D., is Executive Director of the California Global Education Project (CGEP) at the University of San Diego. CGEP provides professional learning programs and resources for TK-12 educators to promote global competence as preparation for living, learning, and thriving in our ever-changing and interconnected communities and world. She is a former teacher and administrator in San Diego Unified, preservice educator at San Diego State University, and liaison to National Geographic Education Foundation.

Contact Us

If you have questions about the program, email us at orias@berkeley.edu.

Guest Faculty

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Ladan Akbarnia

Ladan Akbarnia is Curator of South Asian and Islamic Art at the San Diego Museum of Art. According to the SMDA, she "previously served as Executive Director at the Iran Heritage Foundation in London and Associate Curator of Islamic Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she was responsible for the 2009 reinstallation of the Islamic gallery and the exhibition Light of the Sufis: The Mystical Arts of Islam, and as research assistant for the Islamic Art Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Additionally, Akbarnia was a consultant for the Aga Khan Trust for Culture Museum Support Unit in Switzerland and taught Islamic art history at Smith College and Wheaton College in Massachusetts. Akbarnia has published extensively on a variety of topics, including cross-cultural transmissions between Iran and East Asia, Sufism and Islamic art, and contemporary Middle Eastern art."

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Marika Sardar

Marika Sardar is currently Curator at the Aga Khan Museum; she has previously worked at the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, the San Diego Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Among the curatorial projects she has contributed to or led are Interwoven Globe (Metropolitan Museum, 2013), focusing on the worldwide textile trade from the 16th-18th century; Sultans of Deccan India, 1500-1700 (Metropolitan Museum, 2015), examining the artistic traditions of the Muslim sultanates of central India; and Epic Tales from Ancient India (San Diego Museum of Art, 2016), looking at narrative traditions and the illustration of texts from South Asia.

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Tamara Sears

Tamara Sears is associate professor of art history at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, where she has also been co-directoring the Global Asias Initiative for the past three years. Her research focuses on the art and architectural history of South Asia, with a particular focus on the Indian subcontinent. Her first book, Worldly Gurus and Spiritual Kings: Architecture and Asceticism in Medieval India (2014), received the PROSE Award in Architecture and Urban Planning. Her essays have appeared in well over a dozen volumes and journals, including The Art Bulletin, Ars Orientalis, and Archives of Asian Art. Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from Fulbright, the J. Paul Getty Foundation, the National Humanities Center, Dumbarton Oaks, and the Clark Art Institute.  At Rutgers, she has been a recipient of an award for Scholarly Excellence from the University Board of Trustees (2017), and she has been recognized for Outstanding Faculty Support to the Graduate Community by the university's Graduate Student Association (2019-2020).

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Cynthia Talbot

Cynthia Talbot is Professor of History and Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where she teaches the premodern history of South Asia as well as world history to 1450 CE.  Early in her academic career, her research focused on medieval South India and its temple inscriptions, but in recent years she has studied the heroic histories of North India, with particular attention to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In addition to martial sentiments in Rajput literature, she is also interested in Hindu perspectives on Hindu-Muslim relations, the historical traditions of the pre-1800 era, and the social history of warrior communities. Talbot is the author of Precolonial India in Practice: Society, Region, and Identity in Medieval Andhra (Oxford University Press 2001) and The Last Hindu Emperor: Prithviraj Chauhan and the Indian Past, 1200-2000 (Cambridge University Press, 2016). She is also editor of  Knowing India: Colonial and Modern Constructions of the Past (Yoda Press, 2011) and co-author, with Catherine B. Asher, of India before Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2006; second edition 2022). 

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Audrey Truschke

Audrey Truschke is Associate Professor of South Asian History at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. She received her Ph.D. in 2012 from Columbia University and held positions at Gonville and Caius College at the University of Cambridge and at Stanford University before joining the History Department at Rutgers-Newark in 2015. Her research focuses on the cultural, imperial, and intellectual history of medieval and early modern India. She is the author of three books, most recently, The Language of History: Sanskrit Narratives of Indo-Muslim Rule (Columbia University Press, January 2021). Audrey believes in talking about history outside the ivory tower, and so you can find her on Twitter (@audreytruschke).

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Anand V. Taneja

Anand Vivek Taneja is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Anthropology at Vanderbilt University.  His research and teaching interests include historical and contemporary Islam in South Asia, inter-religious interactions and ethical life, urban ecologies, Urdu literature and poetry, and Bombay cinema. His first book,Jinnealogy: Time, Islam, and Ecological Thought in the Medieval Ruins of Delhi (Stanford University Press, 2018), won the Joseph W. Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences, as well as an honorable mention for the Gregory Bateson Prize awarded by the Society for Cultural Anthropology. He is currently working on a second book, titled The Gabriel of Madness:Indian Muslim Poetry, Ethics, and Politics in an Age of Hindu Nationalism.