Goodbye Henke Hall

Sixteen years ago, the Center for Biographical Research moved to Henke Hall when our previous home, a cottage on the grounds of the East-West Center, was demonished. Last week, Henke Hall suffered the same fate (see video link).

Henke was always about to be taken down, so we came to believe that it would last forever. To our surprise, It did not.

We are now housed in the Biomedical Building, a gigantic, poured concrete building with central air conditioning that probably wouldn’t come down if they tried.

So we’re happy in our new home—photos to come!—but we still bid farewell to the rickety, beaten-up clutch of rooms that made so much of the Center’s work possible.

–Craig Howes, Center for Biographical Research

Biography 40.1 Caste and Life Narratives

Our latest special issue, on Caste and Life Narratives, guest edited by S. Shankar and Charu Gupta, is an unprecedented conversation between life writing, and Dalit Studies and Critical Caste Studies.

This special issue is dedicated to Rohith Vemula, a Dalit PhD scholar who committed suicide in January 2016, and whose suicide letter is reprinted in the introduction to this issue. As Shankar and Gupta write: “how does one not read such a life narrative? Wasnʻt Vemula precisely trying to get us to attend seriously to the issues that brought him to his difficult decision? Not reading seems equally a dishonoring of Vemula’s life, activist spirit, and anquished cry from the heart” (13).

Mahalo nui to all our authors and editors for their dedication to bring this issue to us, and reminding us of the ongoing struggle to care for lives that are seen as unworthy, invisible, less valuable than the rest.

Available online at Project Muse (https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/36728) or hard copies through UH Press: (http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/p-8514-biography.aspx?journal=1)

Volume 40, Number 1, Winter 2017
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Editors’ Introduction
“‘My Birth is My Fatal Accident’: Introduction to Caste and Life Narratives,” pp. 1-15
S. Shankar, Charu Gupta

LITERARY LIVES
“Speaking Self, Writing Caste: Recovering the Life of Santram BA,” pp. 16-43
Charu Gupta
“The Dalit Personal Narrative in Hindi: Reflections on a Long Literary Lineage,” pp. 44-63
Tapan Basu
“Tamil Dalit Literature: Aesthetics, Politics, and Life Narratives,” pp. 64-76
Parthasarathi Muthukkaruppan
“Bending Biography: The Creative Intrusions of ‘Real Lives’ in Dalit Fiction,” pp. 77-92
Laura Brueck

LIVES IN VISUAL AND PERFORMANCE CULTURES
“Periyar as a Biopic: Star Persona, Historical Events, and Politics,” pp. 93-115
Swarnavel Eswaran
“Affective Returns: Biopics as Life Narratives,” pp. 116-139
Bindu Menon
“Caste Life Narratives, Visual Representation, And Protected Ignorance,” pp. 140-169
Y. S. Alone
“Mangala Bansode and the Social Life of Tamasha: Caste, Sexuality, and Discrimination in Modern Maharashtra,” pp. 170-198
Shailaja Paik

LAW, SOCIETY, AND NARRATIVES OF THE SELF
“Brahmanical Activism As Eco-Casteism: Reading The Life Narratives Of Bindeshwar Pathak, Sulabh International, And ‘Liberated’ Dalits,” pp. 199-221
Mukul Sharma
“Invisibility of ‘Other’ Dalits and Silence in the Law,” pp. 222-243
Sumit Baudh

OUT OF INDIA
“Stories Of Dalit Diaspora: Migration, Life Narratives, And Caste in the Us,” pp. 244-264
Shweta Majumdar and Anjana Narayan
“Caste in Japan: The Burakumin,” pp. 265-287
June A. Gordon

Select Bibliography, pp. 289-292