Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Ashis Nandy ─ Beyond Trauma: Silence, Exorcism and the Doomed Journey to a Lost Self

Friday, March 14, 2014

2:00 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum

Reception to follow

Watch webcast

Ashis Nandy will deliver the fourth OP Jindal Distinguished Lecture. The series, organized by the Brown-India Initiative, was endowed in perpetuity by Sajjan and Sangita Jindal to promote a serious discussion of politics, economics, social and cultural change in modern India. Dr. Nandy, a political psychologist and social theorist called the country’s “most formidable and controversial intellectual, its most arresting thinker,” and recently listed as among the world’s ‘top 100 public intellectuals’ by Foreign Policy magazine, is a major political and cultural critic in contemporary India.

Ashis Nandy’s work focuses on both the socially creative and destructive potential of human beings, and sources itself primarily in Indian history and contemporary trends as well as seeking to create academic linkages between the Indian subcontinent and other countries of the Global South. He has worked as an activist, coauthoring human rights reports and serving on commissions investigating riots, violence against women, electoral corruption, and other abuses. He has worked as an academic, serving as Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, the World Futures Studies Federation, the International Network for Cultural Alternatives to Development, and at the University of Edinburgh, of Hull, and of Trier (as the Center of European Studies’ first UNESCO Chair) among others. Nandy served as director of the Delhi-based Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) between 1992 and 1997, and has remained closely associated with the center.

One of contemporary India’s most prolific writers, Nandy has published dozens of books and articles on the psychology of politics and culture. These include The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism (Oxford India, 2010), in which Nandy turns colonial studies on its head by examining the impact of imperialism on the colonizing nation itself; and The Savage Freud and Other Essays on Possible and Retrievable Selves (Princeton, 1995), a series of essays in which he “seeks to locate cultural forms and languages of being and thinking that defy the logic and hegemony of the modern West.”

Center for Contemporary South Asia