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
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.
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?
South Asia NYU,
Department of History at NYU,
The Center for International History at Columbia University
Department of History
“From ‘Improvement’ to ‘Slum Rehabilitation’: Urban expansion and the fates of cooperative housing in Bombay”
Friday, February 27, 2-4pm
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: 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” 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.
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.
“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
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.
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
• 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:
ProfHacker, GradHacker, DHNow
• Digital Humanities Center
• 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
• 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