Board Members 2019

The South Asian Studies Association was founded as a nonprofit public benefit corporation in California in 2007.  Immediately thereafter SASA received IRS recognition as a 501(c)3 tax exempt charity.  The SASA Board of Directors consists of both academics and entrepreneurs who share a common vision for the Association and make a significant commitment in both time and expertise its realization.

Emeritus SASA Directors

Lynn Ate
Washington State University
Gunjan Bagla
Amritt Ventures
Dina Bangdel
Virginia Commonwealth University
Christine Everaert
University of Utah
Paul Hanson
California Lutheran University
Veena Howard
Cal State, Fresno
Muthusami Kumaran
University of Florida
Ramdas Lamb
University of Hawaii
Dean McHenry
Claremont Graduate University
Nalini Rao
Soka University
Linda Eilene Sanchez
University of Denver

Ken Silverman         Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Ken Silverman
Chairman of the Board
Chief Executive Officer

Ken Silverman is an international business strategist, executive, and entrepreneur with more than four decades of experience within senior levels of the US and global media and entertainment industries. Since 1997 he has also specialized in US-India cross border collaborations, working with and within leading organizations in both countries. He is currently also Head of North America for Sannam S4 Group, the preeminent India market-entry specialist.

Sannam S4 has offices across India, as well as in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, London, and Sao Paulo. Its 200+ clients are Fortune 500 companies and SMEs, prominent world universities, and multinational nonprofit organizations. His initial US-India cross-border focus was media and entertainment, including 8 years representing the US media industry initiatives of The Tata Group, India’s oldest, largest, and most respected business conglomerate, in addition to clients Annapurna Studios, DIRECTV, Famous Studios, Film City, the Government of Maharashtra, and others.

Earlier Ken was the first head of pay-television distribution for Warner Bros. Pictures and the first head of programming for Warner’s The Movie Channel (originally named Star Channel). He subsequently founded the pioneering pay-TV group, Cinemerica, Inc. and wrote the start-up business plan for Black Entertainment Television (BET). His added US media associations have included the California State Department of Education, Cinema 5/Rugoff Theatres, Columbia Pictures, Dow Jones, General Electric, Liberty Media, Meredith Publishing, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Since 1997 he has also produced, moderated, and spoken at India-related media and business conferences across the US, in India, and elsewhere in Asia. A SASA Board member virtually since its inception, he previously also served for 20 years as Chairman of the Board of nonprofit Caritas Telecommunications, and earlier was Chairman of the Board of the Tierra del Sol Foundation. He has been a member of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) since 1997.

Dr Deepak Shimkhada      President

Dr Deepak Shimkhada

Dr Deepak Shimkhada (PhD, Claremont Graduate University), serves as SASA President and Editor of Exemplar: The Journal Of South Asian Studies. Dr. Shimkhada taught in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Claremont McKenna College, from which he is retired. He also taught at Claremont Graduate University. He currently teaches at Claremont School of Theology. He has published four books: The Constant and Changing Faces of the Goddess: Goddess Traditions of Asia, Popular Buddhist Mantras in Sanskrit, Himalayas at the Crossroads: Portraits of a Changing World, and Nepal: Nostalgia and Modernity. Another book nearing publication is Memories of a Painful Past: Chinese Posters of the Cultural Revolution.

Deepak has contributed chapters to The Constant and Changing Faces of the Goddess, Bhagavata Purana: A Reader, Health and Religious Rituals in South Asia: Diseases, Possession and Healing, and Sangama: A Confluence of Art and Culture During the Vijayanagara Period. Articles have appeared in NAFA Art Magazine, Arts of Asia, Orientations, Artibus Asiae, Oriental Art, The Journal of Asian Studies, The Himalayan Research Bulletin, Voice of Ulan Bator, Himalaya, Folk Dance Scene, The Overseas Times, India West, and The Rising Nepal. He is the president of Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast, founder and president of the Foundation for Indic Philosophy and Culture, founder and president of the Himalayan Arts Council at the Pacific Asia Museum, and editor of two newsletters: Himalaya and Indicator.

Dr. William Vanderbok  President Emeritus   Honorary Board Member

Dr William Vanderbok
President Emeritus
Honorary Board Member

William Vanderbok (PhD, Indiana University) served President of SASA for its first decade before retiring in 2016. He also founded and served as general editor for SASA Books, a fully peer-reviewed boutique imprint specializing in high quality monographs and was the driving spirit behind the SASA’s Exemplar: The Journal of South Asian Studies. He also conceived of and moderated SASA’s “Brown Bag Radio,” an extensive series of podcast interviews highlighting current research in South Asian studies. Bill has held full-time academic appointments in political science at the University of ColoradoIndiana University, Texas Tech University and the University of California, Los Angeles, and was an adjunct professor at California Lutheran University. He received multiple grants from the American Councils for International Education for his work in Russia, and from the East-West Center (Honolulu) and the Smithsonian Institution to support field research on Indian politics. He was President and Treasurer of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) regional affiliate, Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast (ASPAC) and the organizing committee of the “Open Pages in South Asian Studies” project of the Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow.   

Bill has published in Exemplar,  Modern Asian StudiesThe British Journal of Political SciencePolitical MethodologyContemporary South AsiaAsian SurveyThe Canadian Journal of Political ScienceSocial Science HistoryThe Journal of Police Science and AdministrationPolityWestern Political Science QuarterlyThe Journal of Asian Studies and PC Magazine.  He contributed to Open Pages in South Asian Studies and Congress and Indian Natonalism (Sisson and Wolpert, editors). Among other accomplishments as President of ASPAC, he organized the ASPAC conference in 2007 devoted exclusively to South Asia.  Since retirement his research interests have focused on the Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC), the Geoctroyeerde Westindische Compagnie (WIC), and Dutch impact on America’s foundational documents.,

Dr. Vandana Asthana          Executive Chair   SASA 2018 Academic Program Committee

Dr Vandana Asthana
Executive Chair
Program Committee

Dr. Vandana Asthana is a Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Eastern Washington University. She earned a PhD in Political Science from CSJM University in Kanpur, India, and a PhD in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her area of expertise includes International Relation/South Asian security with a focus on unconventional security. Her research specifically focusses on Environment, development and water. She received the Outstanding Faculty Award for Scholarship/Creative Activity at Eastern Washington in 2010. She was a Visiting Professor at the UNESCO Water Center at the University of Dundee, Scotland (2013) and Visiting Fellow at the University of California Irvine, 2014 where she completed a book manuscript on Water Security in India published by Bloomsbury. Her other interests include climate change, gender, displacement and household security. She has participated in the task force on water and adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins.

Among Vandana’s multiple publications are books including Water Policy Processes in India: Discourses of Power and ResistanceThe Politics of Environment, and India’s Foreign Policy and Subcontinental Politics. Her forthcoming publications include a chapter on The Tehri Dam Project in India: Impact on Women’s Household Food and Economic Security in an edited volume on Women and Human Security. Her current work in progress is a monograph on the ‘Renegotiation of Columbia River Treaty and its policy implications for the United States, Canada and the indigenous tribes’. Professor  Asthana is the Founder member of the IC Centre for Governance, New Delhi, and the Founder Secretary and Member of the Advisory Panel of Eco-Friends, an Non profit that works on water issues in India.

   Dr Purnima Bhatt

Dr Purnima Bhatt

Dr Purnima Bhatt is a former Professor of History, Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Hood College, where she taught since 1977.  She is now retired and divides her time between the US and India. She completed her BA and MA in Indian history from Delhi University, did post-graduate work at Harvard University and was awarded her PhD in African history from Howard University.  Her current research interests focus on the historical and contemporary roles of women in Asia and Africa; global perspectives on women, power and politics; women’s leadership in peace movements; the impact of globalization on women; and more recently, the African presence in India.  

Purnima is the author of numerous peer reviewed papers and four books: Scholar’s Guide to Washington D.C.: African Studies (published by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Smithsonian Institution); ‘Reminiscences’, Zubaan Publications; ‘Sharadabehn Mehta: Una Mujer Exceptional en al India de su Tiempo’, a translation of the autobiography of an Indian feminist and pioneer in the field of women’s education, 1882-1970. She has also contributed a chapter in ‘Ethno-Ornithology: Birds, Indigenous Peoples, Cultures and Society’, published by Earthscan. Her more recent book entitled, ‘Her Space, Her Story: exploring the Stepwells of Gujarat’ was published by Zubaan.  She has lectured extensively in India, the United States, UK, Europe, Mexico, Philippines, S. Korea, Malaysia, Tunisia and Kenya.  She is the recipient of many fellowships and honors, including the ‘Excellence in Teaching Award’ and she has presented numerous papers at national and international conferences.

   Dr. David Blundell            Co-Chair  SASA 2018 Academic Program Committee

Dr David Blundell
Program Committee

David Blundell (PhD, University of California) is currently teaching the anthropology of religion at UCLA, and co-directing the Asia-Pacific SpatioTemporal Institute (ApSTi at National Chengchi University in Taipei. He has contributed a number of works on South Asia, including Masks: Anthropology on the Sinhalese Belief System (NY: Peter Lang), Research in Indonesia on Austronesian Voyaging and Maritime Buddhism: An Atlas Project (IEEE, and the making of a feature documentary film, Dr B. R. Ambedkar and the Birth of a New Era in India (Navaloka Productions

David is an international consultant for the Institute for the Development of Community Strengths (INDECOS, an NGO in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka for assisting rural arts and cultural development and programs. His current research collaboration is with the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (ECAI for language and culture mapping. He offers courses such as South Asia as a Cultural Area; Buddhism as Myth, Liberator, and Power in Southern Asia; and Introduction to Development Studies: Economic Development and Culture Change, and Asia-Pacific Studies – at universities in Taiwan, India, Sri Lanka, and the United States.



Navin Doshi

  Dr. Rafiq Dossani

Dr Rafiq Dossani

Dr. Rafiq Dossani is Director of the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy, a senior economist at the RAND Corporation, and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His research interests include education, regional development, security, finance, and technology issues. His diverse work focus has included Muslim minorities in Asia, the role of Chinese and Indian engineers in Silicon Valley, the growth of venture capital in India, regional integration in South Asia, the Trans Pacific Partnership, and India-Pakistan negotiations over Kashmir. His advisory work has ranged from strategic planning for the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq, to the telecommunications industries in India and Pakistan; to the World Bank on improving trade relations in South Asia.

Prior to joining RAND, Rafiq was Director of Stanford University’s Center for South Asia, and a senior research scholar at Stanford University’s Institute for International Studies.  He was earlier the Deputy Editor at Business India magazine and a member of the Bombay Stock Exchange.  He has been a reviewer for several journals and academic groups, including World Development, and the National Science Foundation.  His non-profit work includes serving as a trustee for Hidden Villa, an environmental initiative in the Bay Area, and, earlier, serving as a Director of the Aga Khan Rural Support Program in India.  He holds a Ph.D. in finance from Northwestern University, an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, and a B.A. in economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. In 2017 he was recipient of the Exemplar Award for Academic Achievement bestowed by the South Asian Studies Association,

Dr. Chandrika Kaul

Dr Chandrika Kaul

(BA, MA, D.Phil (Oxon), Senior Lecturer/ Associate Professor, Department of Modern History, University of St Andrews, Scotland.  She is Founding Co-editor of the book series, Palgrave Studies in the History of the Media (Palgrave Macmillan). She sits on the editorial board of the international journals, Media History (Routledge) and Twentieth Century British History (OUP). She is Honorary Fellow, Centre for Media History, Macquarie University, Sydney, and, Associate Fellow, Centre for Media History, University of Aberystwyth, Wales. 

Chandrika has published extensively in the fields of empire and media. Her monograph, Reporting the Raj, the British Press and India (Studies in Imperialism Series, MUP 2003, Indian edition VIVA books 2017), is the first detailed study on the subject. Her new monograph is Communications, Media and the Imperial Experience: Britain and India in the Twentieth Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, paperback 2017). She is also editor or co-editor of several books including, Media and the British Empire (Palgrave 2006, 2013 paperback); Explorations in Modern Indian History and the Media (Routledge, 2009); International Circuits of News (Hampton Press, New York, 2011); News of the World and the British Press 1843-2011 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015); Dossier ‘Imperio Portuguese Comunicacoes’, Revista Brasileira de Historia da Midia, Vol , no. 1, Jan-June 2016, and, Media and the Portuguese Empire (Palgrave Macmillan, London 2017).

Arnold Peter, Esq.

Arnold Peter , Esq.

Arnold Peter is a prominent attorney, executive and entrepreneur within the media and entertainment industries in both the US and India. He is the Managing Partner and Founder of Peter Law Group ( Among other positions, Mr. Peter currently serves on the Board of Advisors for Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces, the hospitality arm of The Tata Group, India’s largest business conglomerate. He is also Co-Founder and a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Media and Entertainment Counsel (AMEC) which as more than 14,000 members worldwide.

Arnold  is a former Legal & Business Affairs’ Vice President for Universal Studios, where began his legal career in the entertainment industry as Director of Labor Relations. There he negotiated more than 40 labor agreements with ten unions representing more than 15,000 employees. He is additionally former President of the US subsidiary of India’s Yash Raj Films, one of the oldest and most successful Indian film studios. He also served multiple terms as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA), and was Chair of the California State Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section.


Dr. Parkes Riley

Dr Parkes Riley

Dr. Parkes Riley is a political science professor at California State University Northridge located in Northridge, California. He received his Ph D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1974. His specialties are Comparative Politics, American Politics, Political Theory, and International Politics; he has regional interest in South Asia and Europe. His recent papers include Parties and Elections in India in the  1990’s, and a manuscript entitled Why Democracies Survive: A Realist Logic. His current research interests include the concept of political realism and the theory of oligarchy.




Mishka Michon    Secretary & Treasurer

Mishka Michon

Mishka Michon has an extensive professional career within higher education institutions and the the broader non-profit arena. Her history include serving in key development roles within leading universities including the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Southern California (USC), and California State University, Northridge.   She has also been affiliated with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), The Museum of Broadcasting, and Steven Speilberg’s Shoah Foundation. During her career to date she has raised more than $25 million

For a decade beginning in 2006, Mishka served as Chief Executive Officer of the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis (CPF). Here she vastly increased the reach of this national patient education and advocacy organization and successfully built strategic alliances between the CPF and leading American medical and corporate entities, as well as establishing patient support programs and local awareness initiatives across the US. She additionally built and expanded the CPF’s support base within the US Senate and House of Representatives. This ultimately resulted in the drafting of first ever bi-partisan bills to support PF research within the US Congress and the first ever Congressional funding to expand PF research by the National Institutes of health.