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A Singular Modernity?

General Programming

dateFebruary 18, 2006 timeSaturday, 9:30am–6:00pm EST location International Affairs Building (IAB), Dag Hammarskjold Lounge (6th Floor), Columbia University
  • Southern Asian Institute
  • Free and open to the public
  • Photo ID required for entry
  • No registration necessary

Discussing the theory of Modernity outside the West, speakers will include Arjun Appadurai, Partha Chatterjee, Sudipta Kaviraj, Steven Lukes, Sheldon Pollock, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, and David Washbrook.

Scholarly opinion remains split on the history of modernity in a global perspective. Older models of a singular transformation with its origins in western Europe and then disseminated across the world have been complicated by evidence of multiple or alternative modernities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Postcolonial critique in South Asia in particular has sought to rethink the centrality of colonialism in this history, whereas contrarily contemporary globalization processes have rekindled the question of convergence as posed in earlier modernization theory. How and why "premodernity" ended, whether there is an "early modern period," what colonialism meant for modernity remain thorny and consequential issues.

  • Arjun Appadurai Paulette Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication New York University
  • Partha Chatterjee Professor of Anthropology Columbia University
  • Sudipta Kaviraj Professor, Indian Politics and Intellectual History Columbia University
  • Sheldon Pollock The Arvind Raghunathan Professor of South Asian Studies Columbia University
  • Sanjay Subrahmanyam Professor and Doshi Chair of Indian History UCLA