Board Members

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.

Bill Vanderbok,
President Emeritus

Ken Silverman, CEO & Chairman of the Board

Joe Pellegrino,
President

Vandana Asthana

Purnima Bhatt

David Blundell

Bradley Clough

Cathleen Cummings

Carol Davis

Chandrika Kaul

Ram M. Roy

Ram M. Roy

Parkes Riley

Parkes Riley

Deepak Shimkhada

Joseph Wasler

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

Vandana Asthana (PhD Political Science, CSJM University India, PhD Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is the Book Review Editor for Exemplar: The Journal Of South Asian Studies. She was formerly the Head of the Department of Political Science at Christ Church College, C.S.J.M University in Kanpur, India and currently teaches political science in the Department of Government at Eastern Washington University. In October 2010 she received the Outstanding Faculty Award for Scholarship/Creative Activity at Eastern Washington. Her publications include several books: Water Policy Processes in India: Discourses of Power and Resistance, The Politics of Environment, India's Foreign Policy and Subcontinental Politics, Theory of International Politics and two edited volumes, Security in South Asia: Trends and Directions and Advances in Environmental Biopollution. She has published a large number of research articles in various journals and has contributed chapters in edited volumes. She has been on delegations of Track Two Diplomacy for confidence building measures between India and Pakistan. Dr. Asthana has been associated with premier think tanks in the region and has participated in the Ford Foundation projects in India and Sri Lanka on Comprehensive and Environmental Security in South Asia. She 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 NGO that works on water issues in India. She has served as consultant and completed a project for the Government of India on the Water Security of India. Her forthcoming books include Nuke Waters: Water Security in India and Pakistan.

Purnima Mehta Bhatt (PhD, Howard University)  is Professor of History, Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Hood College, where she has taught since 1977.  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.  She 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 most recent book titled, ‘Her Space, Her Story: exploring the Stepwells of Gujarat’ has just been 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’. She has presented numerous papers at national and international conferences.

David Blundell (PhD, University of California) is based at National Chengchi University in Taipei, and has contributed a number of works on South Asia, including Masks: Anthropology on the Sinhalese Belief System (NY: Peter Lang) and the making of a feature documentary film, Dr B. R. Ambedkar and the Birth of a New Era in India (Navaloka Productions). He is an international consultant for the Institute for the Development of Community Strength (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 for language and culture mapping. Professor Blundell 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 - at universities in Taiwan, India, Sri Lanka, and the United States.

Bradley Clough (PhD, Columbia University) is an associate professor of liberal studies, with a teaching focus on the religions of Asia, at The University of Montana. He has taught previously at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, Bard College, and the American University in Cairo. He holds MA, MPhil, and PhD degrees from Columbia University, and a BA from St. Lawrence University. Dr. Clough has published several articles and book chapters on early Indian Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka, on such topics as social economics, supernormal powers, just war theory, pilgrimage, and soteriology. He also published the book, Early Indian and Theravada Buddhism: Soteriological Controversy and Diversity, with Cambria Press in 2013.

Cathleen Cummings (PhD, The Ohio State University) is associate professor of art history at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  She has completed substantial research projects on early Hindu temple architecture and on Hindu and Buddhist painting—traditional areas of study within South Asia’s vast pre-modern corpus—while her current and future research plans focus on the eighteenth century and concern some of the complex negotiations of identity that are worked out in public architecture and painting.  In 2011 American Institute of Indian Studies awarded her their Dimock Book Prize for best unpublished manuscript in Indian studies.  Entitled  Decoding a Hindu Temple: Royalty and Religion in the Iconographic Program of the Virupaksha Temple, Pattadakal, it was published by SASA Books in 2014.  She is Associate Editor of the volume The Architecture of Hinduism for Cambridge University Press’s forthcoming series, Cambridge World History of Religious Architecture, to be published in 2015 and also serves as webmaster for the American Council for Southern Asian Art.

Carol Davis (PhD, University of California, Berkeley) Associate Professor of Theatre and Chair of the Department of Theatre, Dance & Film at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA.  She is the founding Artistic Director of the Nepal Health Project, an educational and charitable theatre company that treks plays and workshops to villages throughout Nepal, teaches in Kathmandu orphanages, and sponsors girls’ education, receiving the Half the Sky award from Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times for this work. Carol has directed and acted professionally in California (Old Globe Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Festival), Nepal, Malaysia, and Korea. She was a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar to Nepal in 2011-12, served on the Fulbright South and Central Asia Peer Review Committee for three years, and received an Asian Cultural Council grant for her research on Nepali theatre. Her articles have appeared in Asian Theatre Journal, Theatre Symposium, Mime Journal, Education About Asia, Journal of South Asia Women Studies, The Encyclopedia of Asian Theatre, World Encyclopedia of Puppetry Arts, Not For Sale: Feminists Resisting Prostitution and Pornography, Mapping South Asia Through Theatre, and Routledge Handbook of Asian Theatre (2015).

Chandrika Kaul (BA, MA, D.Phil (Oxon) Member of the Faculty of Modern History, University of St Andrews, Scotland.  She   is the Founder and 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) and is Co-Chair of the History section of the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR).   She has published extensively in international journals and book collections. Her monograph titled, Reporting the Raj, the British Press and India (Studies in Imperialism Series, MUP 2003), is the first detailed study on the subject. She has also edited Media and the British Empire (Palgrave 2006, 2013 paperback), Explorations in Modern Indian History and the Media (Routledge, 2009) and co-editor of International Circuits of News (Hampton Press, 2011).   Her new monograph is titled Communications, Media and the Imperial Experience: Britain and India in the Twentieth Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

Joe Pellegrino (PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) serves as the SASA treasurer. He is also the Managing Editor for Exemplar: The Journal Of South Asian Studies. Dr. Pellegrino teaches postcolonial literature and Irish Studies in the Department of Literature and Philosophy at Georgia Southern University. He previously taught at Eastern Kentucky University and The University of South Carolina - Upstate. His most recent work on South Asian issues is as editor for the 2014 volume, Open Pages In South Asian Studies, from SASA Press. Other work includes "We Are All Yaśodā: Creating Future South Asian Scholars," in The Journal of Postcolonial Studies, and "Mughals, Music, and 'The Crown of India' Masque: Reassessing Elgar and the Raj" in South Asian Review. He has coordinated the annual British Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies Conference for several years, and is the web administrator for several academic sites.

Deepak Shimkhada (PhD, Claremont Graduate University), serves as SASA Vice-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 Lincoln University. 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. He 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.

Ken Silverman is the president of Interactive Teamworks, a privately held US consulting and creative services organization.   In late 2013 he was additionally named as Head of North America for India-based Sannam S4 Consulting, Pvt. Ltd.  Mr. Silverman is an internationally prominent media and corporate strategist and entrepreneur with more than 35 years of experience in the front ranks of the U.S. entertainment, communications and global business fields. He has participated in the acquisition, production, distribution, and marketing of content for motion picture theaters, commercial and public broadcasting, cable and pay-television, home video, satellites, interactive media, and the Internet. Since 1997, Mr. Silverman has specialized in electronic media and cross-border development related to the Indian subcontinent. He is a Charter Member of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), former Executive Vice President of Indians in American Media [IAM], and has written often for The India Journal.   He has also addressed audiences in educational and business forums around the world relative to doing business in India and was a Sponsor of the 2006 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles.  A critical member of the SASA board, he brings needed strategic, management and marketing expertise.

William Vanderbok (PhD, Indiana University), serves as SASA President and Director of Publications. Dr. Vanderbok has held full-time academic appointments at the University of Colorado, Indiana University, Texas Tech University and the University of California, Los Angeles. He has received multiple grants from both the American Councils for International Education and the East-West Center (Honolulu) to support research on Indian studies. Besides his work with SASA, he served as both President and Treasurer of the AAS regional affiliate Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast (ASPAC) and is on the organizing committee of the "Open Pages in South Asian Studies" project of the Russian State University for the Humanities,  Moscow. He has published in Exemplar: The Journal of South Asian Studies, Modern Asian Studies, The British Journal of Political Science, Political Methodology, Contemporary South Asia, Asian Survey, The Canadian Journal of Political Science, Social Science History, The Journal of Police Science and Administration, Polity, Western Political Science Quarterly, The Journal of Asian Studies and PC Magazine.  Most recently he contributed a chapter to Open Pages in South Asian Studies, Joe Pellegrino, editor.

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