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State Failure and Medieval Indian Historiography

State Failure and Medieval Indian Historiography published on

The Center for International History and the South Asia Institute at Columbia Present:

State Failure and Medieval Indian Historiography: A New Interpretation of ‘Afīf’s Tā’rikh-i Firūz Shāhī

In a novel interpretation of the work of the major historian of medieval India Shams Sirāj Afīf (fl. 1360) Tā’rikh-i Firūz Shāhī, this presentation will recover and discuss
hitherto understudied aspects of ‘Afīf’s History and foreground its importance as a manual on political reform as exemplified by Firuz Shāh Tughluq’s reign (1351-1388). In addition, the presentation will relate Afif’s narratives about the challenges that confronted the Delhi Sultanate and Muḥammad bin Tughluq’s vagaries (d. 1351) to present-day debates on state failure.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
4:00-5:30 pm
Fayerweather Hall 411

Vasileios Syros, The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America (Columbia)
Vasileios Syros is a Senior Research Fellow at the Academy of Finland. His teaching and research interests converge at the intersection of the history of Christian/Latin, Jewish, and Islamic political thought and Comparative Political Theory. Syros has published Marsilius of Padua at the Intersection of Ancient and Medieval Cultures and Traditions of Learning (University of Toronto Press, 2012); Die Rezeption der aristotelischen politischen Philosophie bei Marsilius von Padua (Brill, 2007); and Well Begun is Only Half Done: Tracing Aristotle’s Political Ideas in Medieval Arabic, Syriac, Byzantine, and Jewish Sources (ACMRS, 2011). His work has appeared in a number of international peer-reviewed journals, including Viator, Journal of Early Modern History, Medieval Encounters, Journal of World History, Philosophy East & West, History of Political Thought, and Revue des Études Juives. Syros is the Principal Investigator for the research project “Political Power in the European and Islamic Worlds” (2014–18). He has taught previously at Stanford University, McGill University, The University of Chicago, and the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris). Syros has received fellowships from the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Beyond the “San Francisco System”: Seeking a Peace Regime in East Asia

Beyond the “San Francisco System”: Seeking a Peace Regime in East Asia published on

Beyond the “San Francisco System”: Seeking a Peace Regime in East Asia

SFConferenceOctober 28, 2016
8:30 AM – 6:00 PM
1501 Kellogg Center
School of International and Public Affairs Columbia University


8:30 – 9:00  Breakfast and Registration
9:00 – 9:15: Opening Remarks: Young-Ho Kim &  Charles Armstrong

PANEL 1: The San Francisco Treaty, History, and International Law

  • Tae-jin Yi (Seoul National University, History): “The San Francisco Treaty and the Problems regarding the Exemption of Japanese Blame on the Colonization of Korea”
  • Jang-Hie Lee (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies,
    International Law): “Limitations of the San Francisco Peace
    Treaty and Peace in East Asia from the Perspective of Colonial State Responsibility”
  • Jeong-Ho Roh (Columbia University, Law); “The San Francisco Peace Treaty and International Law”
  • Etsuro Totsuka (Ryukoku University, Law): Japan’s Re-joining Into the Cold War World and its Freezing of the Decolonization Process”
  • Charles Armstrong (Columbia University, History): Discussant


11:15 – 11:30 Coffee break

11:30 – 13:00 PANEL 2: The San Francisco System and International Order Haruki Wada (Tokyo University, History): “San Francisco Treaty

System and Peace State Japan”

  • Byung-Joon Jung (Ewha Womans University, History): “San Francisco Peace Treaty with Japan and its Legacy in East Asia”
  • Chengyou Song (Peking University, History): “Comments on the San Francisco Conference and Treaty of Peace with Japan”
  • Koh Odagawa (Waseda University, Mass Media): Discussant


13:00 – 14:00 Lunch for participants, Faculty House

14:00 – 15:30 PANEL 3: The San Francisco System, Territory and Memory Dekun Hu (Wuhan University, History): “The San Francisco Peace

Treaty and Territorial Disputes”

  • Fumiaki Nozoe (Okinawa International University, Law): “The Okinawa Problem in the San Francisco Treaty System: A Historical Perspective”
  • Daqing Yang (George Washington University): “War, Decolonization and Memory in Northeast Asia”
  • Kimie Hara (University of Waterloo, History/Political Science): “Exploring Settlements of Regional Conflicts in the San Francisco System”
  • Yang Chan (Wuhan University, History): Discussant


15:30-15:45 Coffee Break

15:45 –17:45 PANEL 4: The San Francisco System, Legacies, and Beyond

  • Young-Ho Kim (Academy of Korean Studies, Economic History): “Beyond the San Francisco System in East Asia – Collision between Historical Legacy and Regional Integration in the San Francisco System”
  • Myung-Lim Park (Yonsei University, International Studies): “The San Francisco System, Northeast Asian Exceptionalism, and Beyond for Perpetual Peace”
  • Alexis Dudden (University of Connecticut, History): “The San Francisco System, and Current Issues of National Borders”
  • Carol Gluck (Columbia University, History): Discussant

17:45 – 18:00 Concluding remarks: Jin-Hyun Kim (World Peace Forum) & Elazar Barkan (Columbia University)

Conference ends



General and Planning Discussion

October 29th, 2016
918 International Affairs Building 9:00 – 12:00
Lunch, participants disperse

The Political in Question

The Political in Question published on

Join us for a talk by
Mrinalini Sinha (Professor of History, University of Michigan):

The Political in Question: Abolitionism in India’s 20th Century

Friday, October 23, 2015
The Institute for Public Knowledge, 20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor

Histories of politics in India frequently distinguish between the domains of elite and of popular or subaltern politics. The latter is typically expressed in the idiom of the fragment and identified with the particular rather than with the universal. This talk engages with the popular politics of the anti-indenture movement in India to raise the following questions: what happens when popular politics makes a claim to the universal? What does such an “impossible” politics suggest about the nature of the political itself?

Co-sponsored by:
South Asia NYU,
Department of History at NYU,
The Center for International History at Columbia University

Nikhil Rao on Urban expansion and the fates of cooperative housing in Bombay

Nikhil Rao on Urban expansion and the fates of cooperative housing in Bombay published on
Department of History
Wellesley College
“From ‘Improvement’ to ‘Slum Rehabilitation’: Urban expansion and the fates of cooperative housing in Bombay”
Friday, February 27, 2-4pm
Fayerweather 411
Discussant: Tania Bhattacharyya




Professor Rao is a scholar of urban history and urban economic and political development in South Asia. Rao is the author of House, but No Garden: Apartment Living in Bombay’s Suburbs, 1898–1964 (Minnesota, 2012)


*(poster image is detail from UGO Architecture‘s imagined redesign of Dharavi)

Indian Secularism on a Global Stage

Indian Secularism on a Global Stage published on

19Nov2014 Indian Secularism on a Global Stage

Indian Secularism on a Global Stage: Reconsidering Muslim Belonging in Nehru’s India

by Prof. Taylor C. Sherman, London School of Economics and Political Science

Discussant: Prof. Manu Bhagavan, Hunter College/CUNY

Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014
208 Knox Hall

Muslim belonging in India since independence has been anchored using the language of secularism. However, the rise to power of the BJP in recent decades and the concomitant anti-Muslim violence in India has led some to declare that India’s secularism is in crisis. Much of the discussion surrounding this issue is predicated upon the assumption that India’s secularism was firmly established under the rule of the first Prime Minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru. This paper takes a new look at secularism in Nehru’s India. Rather than focusing on what Nehru said in his speeches and letters, this paper examines notions of secularism as the term was deployed on multiple levels of government and in wider society. It reassesses Nehru’s influence, and explores the ways in which calculations about the treatment of Indian Muslims in India were often worked out on a global stage.

How and Why did Genocide Become a non-Political Crime

How and Why did Genocide Become a non-Political Crime published on

• “How and Why Did Genocide Become a Non-Political Crime” by A. Dirk Moses (Professor of Global and Colonial History (19th-20th centuries), EUI)
Tuesday, September 23rd
4:00PM to 6:00PM, 411 Fayerweather

International law distinguishes between political and the non-political crimes in the following way: racial hatred is defined as non-political because victims are attacked for who they are: for their identity. Genocide cannot occur where a victim group has agency, as in, say, launching an insurgency, because such action implies politics. This conception of genocide as a non-political, mass hate crime is modeled on the Holocaust of European Jewry, meaning that Holocaust memory intersects in important ways with the humanitarian intervention agenda. To galvanize the “will to intervene,” human rights activists must make contemporary civil wars resemble the Holocaust by casting civilians as victims of murderous racial persecution: for who they are rather than for what some of them may have done. The spurious distinction between racial and political intentions—the depolicitization of the genocide concept—lies at the heart of the relatively new field of genocide studies and its older sibling, Holocaust studies. One consequence is the promotion of toleration as genocide’s antidote. Another is that genocides are misrecognized, as in the case of the UN Darfur report in 2005. In this paper, I explain how and why this distinction was constructed by revisiting the contingent origins of the genocide concept. My discussion mainly concerns two moments in the second half of the 1940s when it was crystallized in international law and the postwar imagination: 1) the latter Nuremberg Trials; and 2) the concurrent UN Debates about the Genocide Convention.

Around 1948: Human Rights and Global Transformation

Around 1948: Human Rights and Global Transformation published on

Leading scholars Rashid Khalidi, Lydia H. Liu, Samuel Moyn, and Deborah Nelson discuss the advent and the global impact of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Moderated by Eugenia Lean.

Panel Discussion
“Around 1948: Human Rights and Global Transformation”
Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, Columbia University
Lydia H. Liu, Wun Tsun Tam Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University
Samuel Moyn, Professor of Law and History, Harvard University
Deborah Nelson, Associate Professor of English, University of Chicago
Moderated by Eugenia Lean, Associate Professor of Chinese History, Columbia University
Wednesday, October 8
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Pulitzer Hall, Third Floor Lecture Hall
No registration required.
Co-sponsored by the Center for International History, Critical Inquiry, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, the Department of History, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and the Middle East Institute

Coolie Woman: A Conversation with Gaiutra Bahadur

Coolie Woman: A Conversation with Gaiutra Bahadur published on



Monday, December 2nd, 2013
Title: Coolie Woman with Gaiutra Bahadur
Abstract: In 1903, a young woman sailed from India to Guiana as a “coolie”—the British name for indentured laborers who replaced the newly emancipated slaves on sugar plantations all around the world. Pregnant and traveling alone, this woman, like so many coolies, disappeared into history. Now, in Coolie Woman, her great-granddaughter Gaiutra Bahadur embarks on a journey into the past to find her. Traversing three continents and trawling through countless colonial archives, Bahadur excavates not only her great-grandmother’s story but also the repressed history of some quarter of a million other coolie women, shining a light on their complex lives.
Speakers: Gauitra Bahadur, Author; Moderator: Bruce Shapiro
Location: Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.
Co-sponsored with the Dart Center.

Digital History Bouquet

Digital History Bouquet published on



The CU Digital History Bouquet is an half-day event geared towards incoming graduate students of the History Department, though open to all its graduate students and faculty. The goal of the event is to introduce students to the digital dispensation in the profession. The event will take place at Fayerweather 310 on August 29, from 8:45am to 11:45am, including coffee. The program is divided into three tracks: scholarly communications, computational methods and theoretical digital humanities. Each of the tracks begins with an overview of the larger issues and ends with a review of local resources available to Columbia graduate students in each of the tracks. We will also make available a page with many resources for each of these panels.

Coffee & Kuchen

Computational Methods
• research methodology vs. tools
• research management and personal archiving: Zotero
• search and discovery: Harnessing Google
• Big Data and API’s
• exhibits, archives: Omeka
• mapping technology: 
Spatial Humanities
• text analysis:
Bamboo Project, TaPoR, ChartEx, PoemViewer, Google N-gram Data

Some useful links:

Local Resources
• studio@butler
• Digital Humanities Center

Scholarly communications
AHA statement on dissertations
• publication genres: SHERPA/RoMEO, Scalar, Creative Commons,
• social media:
• online presence: WordPress
• White House mandate on open access
• peer review experiments
• public history

Local Resources
CDRS: Center for Digital Research and Scholarship, Columbia.
Academic Commons
Digital Humanities Center
• Center for International History

Theoretical Digital Humanities


• Significance of DH
• DH as a Critique Alexis Lothian and Amanda Phillips, “Can Digital Humanities Mean Transformative Critique?” Journal of E-Media Studies. Vol. 3 Issue 1. 2013.
Code Speak
Critical Code Studies
DH Poco
Programming Historian, Code Academy
Local Resources: