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
The Enclosure of Movement: How Travelers, Officials and Jurists Negotiated Freedom of Movement in the Old Reich
Tuesday, April 28, 4:15-6pm
With Discussant Carl Wennerlind, Barnard
In the fragmented political landscape of early modern Germany, control over moving goods and people was a permanent object of contention between travelers and more than three hundred competing polities. Such conflicts were often framed as matters of “conduct”, a term denoting the sovereign right to escort travelers and to levy customs duties on passing goods and people. Although only certain forms of movement were subject to conduct restrictions, public officials constituted a considerable obstacle for the unhampered movement on the roads and rivers traversing the patchwork empire. Accordingly, attempts at “monopolizing the legitimate means of movement” (John Torpey) clashed at more or less open forms of resistance from the side of those to be controlled. Drawing on the physical, symbolic and intellectual conflicts occasioned in this context, the talk explores the fundamentally controversial nature of these polities’ grasp on human mobility. Confronted with fragmented, multi-layered forms of territoriality, double-edged claims of protection and ubiquitous appeals to free movement, we are called to reflect on the border through the eyes of a past that knew restricted mobility as an all-pervasive but much-disputed principle of socio-spatial organization.
“Sex Work and Day Wage Labor in Mumbai’s Informal Sectors”
Thursday, March 12, 4-6pm
Discussant: Durba Mitra, Fordham University
This talk reviews the major contributions of Svati Shah’s recently published ethnography, Street Corner Secrets: Sex Work and Migration in the City of Mumbai (Duke University Press 2014). The book challenges widespread notions of selling sex in India by examining solicitation in three spaces within the city that are seldom placed within the same analytic frame – brothels, streets, and day-wage labor markets (nakas) – where women who have migrated to the city may solicit clients for sex work alongside other income-generating activities, such as construction work. Shah discusses access to housing and water, policing practices and violence, and the production of urban space in relation to the idea of sexual commerce. Showing that illicit and licit economic activities are often solicited from the same spaces, the talk will review the book’s arguments that pertain to the ways in which different modes of solicitation are signaled through the time codes that operate within these urban spaces. These differential temporalities of solicitation both produce and are produced by the legal liminality through which landless migrants secure a living in the city.
Paul T. Zeleza Department of History Quinnipiac University
“Domestic Transformations in Contemporary Africa:What Role for the Diaspora?”
Wednesday, March 4, 4-6pm Fayerweather 411
Discussant: Ndieme Ouleye Ndoye
— Zeleza’s academic work has crossed traditional boundaries, ranging from economic and intellectual history to human rights, gender studies and diaspora studies. He has published more than 300 journal articles, book chapters, reviews, online essays and short stories. Topics include political, economic development and human rights issues as well as the impact of globalization on Africa, the continent’s relationships with its diasporas and the impact of the Obama presidency in terms of the diaspora paradigm.
Zeleza won Africa’s most prestigious book prize, the Noma Award, for “A Modern Economic History of Africa” and “Manufacturing African Studies and Crises.” His recent books include “Barack Obama and African Diasporas: Dialogues and Dissensions” and “In Search of African Diasporas: Testimonies and Encounters.”
He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Malawi and his master’s from the University of London, where he studied African history and international relations. He holds a Ph.D. in economic history from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Join us for an in depth look into The Little Book of Kabul,with authors, Dr. Francesca Recchia & Lorenzo Tugnoli, in conversation with Professor Manan Ahmed, Columbia University.
Wednesday, December 10th
4:15 – 5:45pm
The Little Book of Kabul, is a book project that depicts a portrait of Kabul through the daily activities of a number of artists who live in the city. With an evocative tone, it focuses on the tiny details that escape grand narratives. Colours and gestures, smells and accents. In 20 short stories and 47 black and white photographs, The Little Book of Kabul dives into the lives of the three main characters exploring what it means to be an artist in Kabul and hence unveiling the beauty and brutality of the city.
Dr. Francesca Recchia is an independent researcher and writer who has worked and taught in different parts of the world, including India, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine. She is interested in the geopolitical dimension of cultural processes and in recent years has focused her research on urban transformations and creative practices in countries in conflict. She was the director of the 4th Afghanistan Contemporary Art Prize and is the author of three books,The Little Book of Kabul (with Lorenzo Tugnoli), Picnic in a Minefield and Devices for Political Action (with a photo-essay by Leo Novel).
Lorenzo Tugnoli is a documentary photographer based in Kabul. His work has been published by The New York Times, Le Monde, Newsweek, Time Magazine, Wired, The New Republic, The Atlantic, Der Spiegel as well as several Italian magazines. He is a regular contributor of the The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.