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
A Panel discussion with Gaiutra Bahadur (journalist & writer), Dai Sil Kim-Gibson (independent filmmaker), Samip Mallick (archivist), Mae Ngai (professor, Columbia University), and Beresford Simmons (activist, musician)
- Gaiutra Bahadur, Journalist and Writer, Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture
- Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, Independent filmmaker, Sa-I-Gu, A Forgotten People: The Sakhalin Koreans,Silence Broken: Korean Comfort Women
- Samip Mallick, Executive Director, South Asian American Digital Archive
- Mae Ngai, Professor of History and Asian American Studies, Columbia University
- Beresford Simmons, New York Taxi Workers Alliance; Creator of Taxi Vibes
Thursday, April 17
406 International Affairs Building
420 West 118th St
What is the place of history in the shaping of narratives in and about immigrant communities in New York City? Immigration is often told as a story that begins with rupture and ends with assimilation – of severing roots, and building new ties. Yet, so often in New York with an immigrant population of 3 million, there are a richer, more complex stories to be found, archived, and told. How do immigrant stories shape New York, the “majority-minority” city? Join the Center for International History for a panel discussion as we navigate the question of immigrant histories and the shaping of NYC — through film, through literature- academic, fictional and journalistic- through music, archiving, and activism.
The event is free and open to the public.
Wine & cheese reception afterwards
Co-sponsored by the Center for International History and the Asian American Alliance
The Chile Reader: National History and Global Context in the Age of Transnational History
A book launch for The Chile Reader: Culture, Politics, History (Duke University Press, 2013) coedited by Elizabeth Quay Hutchison, Thomas Klubock, Nara Milanich, and Peter Winn
Panel discussion with Sol Serrano (Pontificia Universidad Católica, Chile) and Heidi Tinsman (UC Irvine)
Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 5:30 pm
Sulzberger Parlor, 3rd floor, Barnard Hall
Barnard College campus, entrance at 117th Street and Broadway
Sponsored by: Columbia Global Center/Santiago; Institute of Latin American Studies; Center for International History; Barnard Forum on Migration
April 25, 2014
SUICIDE AS EVENT? INTERVENING IN CHARLOTTE SALOMON’S INTERVENTIONS
Location: Fayerweather 411
Speakers: Darcy Buerkle (Smith College)
April 8, 2014
REFRAMING ‘INDIA’ IN EXILE: THE EXCENTRICITIES OF PERIPHERAL VISION AND A VIEW FROM THE CENTRE
Location: Fayerweather 411
Speakers: Benjamin Zachariah (Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, Heidelberg University)
Abstract: In the first half of the twentieth century, political emigres and exiles from India found themselves in a position to become the voice of a colonised and oppressed country before an audience comprising often sympathetic, if not always well-informed, citizens of various countries of the world in which they found themselves. The ways in which they found this voice had much to do with their ability to reframe the problem of India in terms intelligible to these audiences. In so doing, they also embarked on a process of self-education and ideational translation that was transformative of the ways of conceptualising India in the world, and the world for India. The various framings of India, sometimes by the same person for different audiences, is revealing of the ways in which existing and emerging languages of legitimation were mobilised, and affected the reframing of ‘India’ both at home and away from India, by those identified with India as a national entity as well as those foreign to it. The ways in which peripheral subjects speaking from and to the centres of world power were crucial elements in conceptualising the periphery for its own subjects at home is an important aspect of the mobilisation and movement of diverse ideas in the first half of the twentieth century. How did the persons move back and forth? How did this movement of ideas work? How were these transmitted? These questions take us past the themes of the limited or constrained agency of the native informant, towards a more dynamic model of moving ideas.
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March 31, 2014
REMOVER OF OBSTACLES: GANESH AND THE PERSISTENCE OF MYTHOLOGICAL GENRE IN HINDI CINEMA
Abstract: The mythological, the founding genre of Indian cinema, is one of its most innovative forms. In the colonial period, it promoted nationalist ideals while avoiding censorship through its association with religion and tradition. It is usually thought that the mythological genre declined in popularity in Hindi cinema in independent India, eclipsed by the social which foregrounded new ideas of Indianness, a concern which continued through the Bollywood films about the diaspora and the recent flourishing of the biopic. Yet the mythological, ignored by many writers and critics, who saw the massive success of JSM in 1975 as a freak occurrence, has continued as a popular form in Hindi cinema, notably children’s animated films, up to the present, also flourishing in other media ranging from television, to popular English fiction. This paper looks at Hindi mythological films about Ganesh, the Remover of Obstacles, in the wider context of the evolving genre, discussing his changing image while also examining the nature of his gajatva or ‘elephantness’.
Location: Hamilton 303
Speakers: Rachel Dwyer (SOAS)
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Book launch with panel discussion featuring Akeel Bilgrami (Columbia), Pankaj Mishra (Writer), Manu Goswami (NYU) and T.J. Jackson Lears (Rutgers)
Monday, March 31, 2014
The event is free and open to the public.
Refreshments will be served.