Events 2012-13

 

October 5, 2012
HISTORIES OF THE ANTHROPOCENE
Histories of the Anthropocene, with Richard Bulliet, Stefanos Geroulanos, Karl Jacoby, Elizabeth Povinelli, and Anupama Rao. Suggested reading: Dipesh Chakrabarty, “The Climate of History: Four Theses,” Critical Inquiry 35 (Winter, 2009): 197-222.
Time: 10:00 AM to 12 PM
Click here for JSTOR link

October 26, 2012
QUININE, MOSQUITOES AND EMPIRE: REASSEMBLING MALARIA IN BRITISH INDIA, 1890-1910
Rohan Deb Roy (Cambridge University)
Time: 10:30 AM to 12 PM
Location: Barnard College, Diana Center 501

February 1, 2013
DEEP HISTORY: A SEMINAR WITH DANIEL LORD SMAIL
Dan Smail (Harvard), seminar for students and faculty on “deep history”
Time: 10:00 AM to 12 PM
“In recent years, the historical profession has been energized by the turn to international histories that escape the grip of the nation-state. Deep history, the subject of this seminar, builds on the same boundary-crossing impulse, but it works across time instead of space. Rather than the nation-state, the approach hopes to escape the grip of modernity itself. Apart from that, the intellectual agenda and rewards of international history and deep history are essentially the same. Or are they? We hope to explore this large question through the lens of materiality, the body, and the play of scale.”

Daniel Lord Smail is professor of history at Harvard University, where he works on deep human history and the history and anthropology of Mediterranean societies in the later middle ages. In recent years he has joined with others in developing a new kind of history that uses all the available sources for understanding the human past, using evidence ranges from genes and languages to artifacts, fossils, and texts. His recent books include On Deep History and the Brain (2008) and, with Andrew Shryock et al., Deep History: The Architecture of Past and Present (2011).

Recommended reading:
1. “Food,” “Goods,” and “Scale,” in Andrew Shryrock, Daniel Lord Smail, et al., Deep History: The Architecture of Past and Present (University of California Press, 2011). Click here for publisher’s page.
2. David Graeber, “The Very Idea of Consumption: Desire, Phantasms, and the Aesthetics of Destruction from Medieval Times to the Present,” in Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion, and Desire (AK Press, 2007), pp. 57-84. Click here to download.

April 5, 2013
SHIFTING GROUNDS: PEOPLE, ANIMALS AND MOBILITY IN INDIA’S ECOLOGICAL PASTS
Mahesh Rangarajan (Director, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi)
Time: 10:30 AM to 12 PM

April 19, 2013
THE TOCQUEVILLE OF TECHNOLOGY: MICHEL CHEVALIER AND THE COSMIC GEOGRAPHY OF THE USA
John Tresch (University of Pennsylvania)
Time: 10:30 AM to 12 PM
Accounts of the USA in the 19th century often rely on Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. But another French voyager’s report from the same moment, Michel Chevalier’s Lettres sur l’Amérique du Nord (1835) brings neglected aspects of the early nation to light. Chevalier, a polytechnician and political economist, had been a fervent contributor to the utopian, socialist and industrial mythology of Saint-Simonianism. His Système de la Méditerranée (1832) projected peace, progress, and economic and religious unity through railroads, canals, and telegraphs. While much of the the religious register dropped from his report on the USA, his sense of political and even cosmic renewal via technology remained. Comparing Tocqueville and Chevalier’s reports, we see that the consolidation of the USA and above all its status as a budding empire depended not only on representative democracy but on rapid innovations in industry and public works and the development of an institutional and communications infrastructure for the arts and sciences. What Chevalier saw– as did other foreign visitors and Americans– was not a fragile middle landscape of virtuous farmers but rather a new mode of imperial power preparing to redefine the continent and the globe.

May 10, 2013
RECONFIGURING BACKWARDNESS. EASTERN EUROPE AND THE MAKING OF THE POST-COLONIAL WORLD
Malgorzata Mazurek (Marie Curie Fellow, Department of History, Columbia University)
Time: 10:30 AM to 12 PM
In the early forties, Eastern Europe represented one of the most culturally and economically complex areas of the world. For some, a region of overpopulated agrarian societies, for others, the most promising area of future economic growth, the mid-twentieth-century Eastern Europe became unexpectedly both an intellectual matrix and a testing ground for the exploration of colonial and post-colonial projects. The West saw the region as an implicit economic model to study Asia, Africa and Latin America, while under the Nazi and Soviet occupation, Eastern Europe was transformed into a quasi-colonial space of forced labor, starvation, physical extermination and economic exploitation. This talk contributes to the entangled history of eastern and western European, Soviet and colonial concepts of ‘backwardness’ during the mid-twentieth century momentum and investigates the specific role of Eastern Europe in understanding the non-Western genealogies of modernity.

May 17-18, 2013
LATE IMPERIAL EPISTEMOLOGIES: A EURASIAN STUDIES WORKSHOP
(co-sponsored by the Harriman Institute, the Middle East Institute, the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, and the Blinken European Institute)
With Anna Afanasyeva, Tarik Amar, Cemil Aydin, Richard Bulliet, Pey-Yi Chu, Alexander Cooley, Marwa Elshakry, Alison Frank, Markus Friedrich, Emese Lafferton, Tong Lam, Gulnar Kendirbai, Eugenia Lean, Alan Mikhail, Peter Perdue, Christine Philliou, Ruth Rogaski, Jonathan Schlesinger, Steven Seegal, and Larry Wolff
Location: The Harriman Institute