Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Contemporary South Asia

Steps Towards a Global Thought: Thinking from Elsewhere

Friday, October 6, 2017

9:00am – 5:00pm

McKinney Conference Room, Watson Institute

*Please note the location has changed to the McKinney Conference Room


Arindam Chakrabarti, University of Hawaii
Shahzad Bashir, Brown University 
Veena Das, Johns Hopkins
Leela Gandhi, Brown University 
Sudipta Kaviraj, Columbia University
Micheal Puett, Harvard University
Bhrigupati Singh, Brown University
Behrooz Tabirizi, University of Illinois
Ruth Vanita, University of Montana

This workshop is designed to initiate ongoing conversations addressing questions such as:
How do concepts relate to territories? How do concepts exceed territories? What place might the singular or the local have in relation to such movements, and claims to the global, if partly, but not only as a disruption?  What is western about western thought? In what ways can one work with a range of traditions of thought, in ways that are not looking for “comparison” in terms of sameness? And if not correspondence, then what kinds of movements can one imagine? Or is it impossible today to even speak of “different traditions of thought”? Can there be something called “geophilosophy”, as Deleuze and Guattari say, which makes a claim on the earth rather than “world”? What comes after postcolonial theory? Or is there no “after”? And if there is an after then what might postcolonial theory have been a preparation for?  

Each presenter will give a short 15-20 minute presentation and will be followed by a collaborative discussion. 

South Asia Seminar

Workshop Schedule

9:00am Opening Remarks 
Leela Gandhi, Bhrigupati Singh, Veena Das, Sudipta Kaviraj

Session I: Reorienting the Humanities
9:30am Shahzad Bashir - Islam and Temporality
9:50am Ruth Vanita - The Uneven Ground of Translation
10:10am Discussion 

Session II: How recent is the contemporary?
11:20am Michael Puett - The Ritual of Interpretation
11:40am Veena Das - The Picture of Relations: Objects of Grammar and Objects in the World
12:00pm Discussion

Session III: A global history of madness/reason
1:40pm Bhrigupati Singh - Other Minds as an Intimate and Global Problem
2:00pm Arindam Chakrabarti - "Whose thoughts are these? Not mine! I do not exist": Towards an Inter-Cultural Critique of Unreason
2:20pm Discussion

Session IV: Concepts of the Political
3:40pm Behrooz Tabrizi - Revolutionary Politics and Public Imagination
4:00pm Sudipta Kaviraj - What is Western in Western Thought?
4:20pm Discussion