How to find an intellectual / creative community of South Asians in NY?
January 31, 2015 4:36 PM   Subscribe

Seeking advice on how to find out about events, screenings, lectures, workshops, and gatherings organized by and for the South Asian community in New York City.

I'm asking because my boyfriend, a Sri Lankan novelist / philosophy PhD student living in New York, claims it's impossible to find a community that he relates to here in New York. (He has lived here for four years.)

My stance? New York has everything, you just have to know where to look.

Details: He is specifically interested in finding a creative/intellectual community of South Asians here in New York. He is very smart and has great taste in film and books. His politics are far left of center. Experimental stuff is a-ok.

Things already on our radar: NYU and Columbia lectures and events; Platform for Pedagogy; the South Asia Institute; the South Asian Film Festival; the Indo-American Arts Council; the Asian American Writers' Workshop; the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective; Dark Matter.

Do you have any other ideas? I feel like there must be a listserv or (throwback!) a message board out there...

Advice on finding the kinds of events/gatherings where you can actually meet people would be ideal, but any suggestions are welcome; thanks in advance!
posted by coastisclear to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Does his university have an office for international students? They generally organize dinners, outings, support groups, etc. That seems like a great way to meet South Asian people who are also in grad school and therefore really peers he could relate to.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:11 AM on February 1, 2015

DesiLit was started in Chicago; I am pleased to see they have chapters elsewhere.
posted by BibiRose at 8:28 AM on February 1, 2015

I don't know if this is up the right alley but the poets and writers who read with Kundiman are awesome and seem pretty linked in to other stuff. They are a widely pan-Asian community but it does seem to include a lot of South Asians.
posted by Miko at 8:30 AM on February 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

I came here to recommend Kundiman too.
posted by tapir-whorf at 9:22 AM on February 1, 2015

Response by poster: This is great, thanks everyone!
posted by coastisclear at 9:38 PM on February 1, 2015

Hey there--I run the Asian American Writers' Workshop! We're trying to build an Asian American counterculture that's bohemian in aesthetics and radical in politics--which sounds up his alley...

You should tell him to come to our event with Mira Jacob, Sandip Roy and Tanwi Nandini Islam on Thursday: Love, Time Travel and Your Desi Family--though this is less overtly political than a lot of what we do. If you posted this a few months ago, he could have come to our Sri Lanka event with Indran Amirthanayagam, Rohini Moran, Somini Sengupta, and Leslie Jamison.

We're arguably the most active South Asian intellectual event space in NY. Coming up later this year, we'll be having events with Hari Kunzru, Amitava Kumar, Tania James, Amit Chaudhuri, and many other South Asian writers. In the past, we've hosted Amitav Ghosh, Salman Rushdie, Vivek Bald, Gaiutra Bahadur, Naeem Mohaiemen, Sugi Ganeshananthan, Taslima Nasreen, Hari Kondabolu, Das Racist, Meera Nair, Tarfia Faizullah, Saadia Toor, Vijay Prashad, Rana Dasgupta, Bushra Rehman, and many others...

Or if he's looking for things to read, he can check out our online magazines, The Margins and Open City:

The Ghosts They Carried: Shyam Selvadurai’s latest novel reckons with the violence that haunts the lives of many in post-war Sri Lanka.

Our Complicity With Excess: To succeed in America means that at some level you’ve made peace with its rather ugly past. Vijay Iyer’s speech to Yale’s Asian American alumni

The Skin I’m In: Scholar Vivek Bald chronicles an early lost history of a time of Black-Bengali racial solidarity

Known Unknowns of the Class War: A review of Zia Haider Rahman’s In the Light of What We Know

The Body Artist: Treating the invisible wounds of America’s violent past, Rajkamal Kahlon edges closer to finding peace in herself.

Lost Footage from a Dual Pilgrimage Home: Amarnath Ravva’s American Canyon gravitates between Northern California and South India as he reenacts rituals and shares histories of both his homes.

Our Vijay Prashad package: Video at the Brecht Forum on "global Jim Crow"; recollecting his early days as an anti-apartheid activist; in conversation with Aziz Rana.

Being Watched: With alluring and peculiar prose and a playfully erratic approach to structure, Ghalib Islam’s debut novel mirrors the anxiety of buckling under the burden of surveillance.

The Hustle: Cooking with Asha Foods -- the first South Asian Women's Workers coop

Tell him to drop by and say hi!
posted by johnasdf at 9:22 PM on February 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

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