Partha Chaterjee—Nationalism, Internationalism, Cosmopolitanism

Partha Chaterjee—Nationalism, Internationalism, Cosmopolitanism

October 02, 2014
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Graduate Center, CUNY Room C204-C205

With a presentation by Partha Chatterjee (Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta and Anthropology, Columbia University) and comments from Ayça Çubukçu (London School of Economics and Political Science).

Reception to follow.

Partha Chatterjee is a Professor of Anthropology and of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University and a Professor of Political Science at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences in Calcutta, India. He is a political theorist and historian and divides his time between Columbia University and the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, where he was the Director from 1997 to 2007. A major focus of Partha Chatterjee’s work is nationalism, but in order to follow his thoughts on this topic, one must simultaneously think also of colonialism, post-colonialism, modernity, and the idea of the nation-state, and also summon up, simultaneously with that cluster of concepts, a not-nationalist and counter-colonial viewpoint about what these terms actually represent (or could actually represent), with special reference to India.

His books include: The Black Hole of Empire: History of a Global Practice of Power (2012); Lineages of Political Society: Studies in Postcolonial Democracy (2011); Empire and Nation: Selected Essays 1985-2005 (2010);The Politics of the Governed: Considerations on Political Society in Most of the World (2004); A Princely Impostor? The Strange and Universal History of the Kumar of Bhawal (2002); A Possible India: Essays in Political Criticism (1997); The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (1993), and Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World: A Derivative Discourse? (1993). He is also a poet, playwright, and actor.

After Gezi, After the Elections, After ISIS: Politics in Turkey Now

October 20, 2014
12:00 am - 8:30 pm
Graduate Center CUNY, Room C198

After Gezi, After the Elections, After ISIS:
Politics in Turkey Now

A Conversation

Friday, October 20, 2014
6:30 – 8:30 pm
Room C198

This panel will present a conversation about the current political context in Turkey, in the wake of popular protests (Gezi and its follow-ups), parliamentary and presidential elections (which have strengthened the hand of the ruling AK Party), and regional politics (particularly the horror of Syria and the rise of ISIS).

Burcu Baykurt is a PhD candidate in Communications at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she studies how technological change is affecting cultures of policymaking, journalism, and politics. She has written about and worked with citizen journalist networks in Turkey such as 140journos.

Ayça Çubukçu is Assistant Professor in Human Rights at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Previously, she taught for the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University and the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies at Harvard University, and is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Committee on Globalization and Social Change at The Graduate Center. She is Co-Editor of Jadaliyya’s Turkey Page.

Aslı Iğsız is Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. Her teaching and research interests include cultural representation and cultural history, narratives of war and displacement, and dynamics of heterogeneity in late Ottoman and contemporary Turkish contexts.

Duygu Parmaksizoglu is a PhD candidate in the anthropology department at The Graduate Center. She recently conducted a year-long field study of urban redevelopment/gentrification in Istanbul. While doing research, she actively participated in the Gezi demonstrations of June 2013, and in the aftermath, she served as one of the spokespersons of the Urban Movements Istanbul Organization.

Cihan Tekay is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at The Graduate Center. Her research interests include gender and the labor movement, secularism and nationalism within the left, and the history of social movements in Turkey. She has been active in various social movements in the US and in Turkey, including antiracist, feminist, ecological, anticapitalist, and international solidarity work. She is a contributor to the Turkish daily Radikal and to Mashallah News, and is Co-Editor of Jadaliyya’s Turkey Page.

Emrah Yildiz is a Joint PhD Candidate in Social Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. His research interests include historiography and ethnography of borderlands, anthropology of Islam and pilgrimage, political economy and contraband commerce, as well as studies of gender and sexuality in the Middle East. He is Co-Editor of Jadaliyya’s Turkey Page, and co-editor of the collection “Resistance Everywhere”: The Gezi Protests and Dissident Visions of Turkey.


November 20/21–Confronting Racial Capitalism: The Black Radical Tradition and the Cultures of Liberation

November 20, 2014 - November 21, 2014
All Day

Co-sponsored with the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics.

Occasioned by the work of Cedric J. Robinson, this symposium brings together leading radical thinkers to consider the history and ongoing struggle against racial capitalism. From Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition to his more recent work, Forgeries of Memory and Meaning: Blacks and the Regimes of Race in American Theatre and Film Before World War II, Robinson’s scholarship has been unafraid to think big. Through two days of conversation, we aim to do the same. We will ask:

  • How has the Black Radical Tradition created tools for liberation?
  • How must we sharpen the analysis of racial capitalism?
  • How are ideological struggles essential to radical politics?
  • What is the contemporary range, strength, and vulnerability of spaces for radical thought?
  • How can we transform individual pleasure into collective joy?
  • How can we learn from past failures without accepting defeat?



NOVEMBER 20, 2014

PANEL 1 (1.30-3.30PM)
Radical opponents of racial capitalism and imperialism have offered bold counters to the dominant ideology. Through poetry, literature, radio, and oral history, they have inspired new visions of solidarity among oppressed peoples beyond borders. This panel features journalists, historians, and activists whose work has illuminated histories and cultures of liberation. Shaped by the intersections of domestic antiracist and global anti-imperialist struggles, panelists THULANI DAVISELIZABETH ROBINSON, and PAUL ORTIZ will discuss their ongoing work to document, enrich, and embolden radical political imaginations. Moderated by JORDAN T. CAMP.

Cedric J. Robinson’s influential works have explored the systems of knowledge and ignorance through which race is proposed as a justification for power relations. These racial regimes, as he calls them, have been intrinsic to U.S. capitalism since its inception. From the standpoint of the early 21st century, this plenary asks what is to be learned from critiques of racial regimes in the early 20th century? As structural unemployment, militarized policing, prisons, and war have become permanent features of the political economy, how do we confront racial regimes at present? RUTH WILSON GILMORE and ROBIN D. G. KELLEY discuss these and other issues with CEDRIC J. ROBINSON.

NOVEMBER 21, 2014

PANEL 2 (10am-12pm)
This panel explores the culture and politics of anti-capitalist traditions that emerged from anti-colonial and anti-imperial struggles across Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe. From anti-imperialist music in the Caribbean, to Pan-African currents in the Comintern, to the anti-colonial radicalism of Frantz Fanon, panelists HAKIM ADI, DANIEL WIDENER, and FRANÇOISE VERGÈS discuss these cross currents and unanticipated global solidarities. Moderated by ANI MUKHERJI.

PANEL 3 (2:00-4:00 pm)
This session discusses the question of solidarity in the struggle against apartheid, racial capitalism, and permanent war from the early Cold War to the present. JACK O’DELLBARBARA RANSBY, and NIKHIL PAL SINGH explore the challenges and opportunities of antiracist internationalism from struggles against apartheid South Africa to the liberation of Palestine to ongoing struggles against settler colonialism worldwide. Moderated by CHRISTINA HEATHERTON


The closing session features ANGELA Y. DAVIS and GINA DENT in conversation about abolition feminism, policing, war, and the prison industrial complex. In consideration of urgent social movements confronting racial capitalism in the present, they discuss struggles for freedom not predicated on the unfreedom of others. Moderated by AVERY F. GORDON.

December 4—On the Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World

December 4—On the Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World

December 04, 2014
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Graduate Center, CUNY Room 9205

Featuring Greg Grandin (History, NYU) in conversation with Laurent Dubois (Romance Studies and History, Duke University) and Duncan Faherty (English, The Graduate Center, CUNY).

One morning in 1805, off a remote island in the South Pacific, Captain Amasa Delano, a New England seal hunter, climbed aboard a distressed Spanish ship carrying scores of West Africans he thought were slaves. They weren’t. Having earlier seized control of the vessel and slaughtered most of the crew, they were staging an elaborate ruse, acting as if they were humble servants. When Delano, an idealistic, anti-slavery republican, finally realized the deception, he responded with explosive violence.

Drawing on research on four continents, The Empire of Necessity explores the multiple forces that culminated in this extraordinary event. Grandin uses the dramatic happenings of that day to map a new transnational history of slavery in the Americas, capturing the clash of peoples, economies, and faiths that was the New World in the early 1800s.


GREG GRANDIN is the author of a number of prize-winning books, including The Empire of Necessity and, just before that, Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City (Metropolitan 2009). A professor of history at NYU and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Grandin writes on US foreign policy, Latin America, genocide, and human rights.

LAURENT DUBOIS is the author of Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution (2004) and Haiti: The Aftershocks of History (2010). Dubois is the Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History at Duke University, where he directs for the Forum for Scholars & Publics.

DUNCAN FAHERTY is the author of Remodeling the Nation: the Architecture of American Identity, 1776-1858. This interdisciplinary study argues that throughout the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a pervasive concern with the design and furnishing of houses helped post-Revolutionary Americans manage previous encounters with settlements, both native and European, and imagine and remodel a new national ideal.

Militarization, Medicalization, Responsibility

Militarization, Medicalization, Responsibility

February 05, 2015
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Room C202, The Graduate Center, CUNY

A public presentation featuring Nadia Abu El-Haj (Barnard, Columbia): “On Combat and Moral Transgression: emerging psychiatric theories of injury, ethics, and responsibility” and Jennifer Terry (UC Irvine): “Attachments to War: militarization and the production of biomedical knowledge in modern America.”

Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World by Gary Wilder (Book Launch)

Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World by Gary Wilder (Book Launch)

February 24, 2015
6:00 pm
Room 9204, The Graduate Center, CUNY

“Freedom Time” is astonishing in its originality, breadth of learning, rhetorical power, interdisciplinary reach, and theoretical sophistication. It thoroughly transforms our understanding of the dialogues and disputations that made up the ‘Black’ / French encounter. With this work, Gary Wilder establishes himself as one of the most compelling and powerful voices in French and Francophone critical studies. Achille Mbembe, author of “On the Postcolony”

Sadia Abbas on “How Injury Travels”

Sadia Abbas on “How Injury Travels”

February 27, 2015
4:15 pm
Room C415A, The Graduate Center, CUNY

February 27 | 4:15–6:15pm | Room C415A

pakistan-blasphemy-lawSadia Abbas  (Rutgers University) explores responses to the colonial construction of religious subjects in South Asia. Undertaken in an effort to manage colonized populations, this construction is captured and continued by the postcolonial state, the most well-known example of which is Pakistan’s blasphemy law. Intricate contestations of religious iconography of the state and of the construction of religionized subjects circulate in a variety of media (videotaped speeches and documentaries and paintings) and texts (novels and poetry). This talk examines how these circulations attempt to create a “poetic” collectivity alternative to the juridical one instituted by colonial law and the postcolonial state.

Sadia Abbas
 is assistant professor of English at Rutgers University, Newark, where she specializes in postcolonial literature and theory, the culture and politics of Islam in modernity, early modern English literature—especially the literature of religious strife—and the history of twentieth-century criticism. She is author of the forthcoming book At Freedom’s Limit: Islam and the Postcolonial Predicament (Fordham University Press).

This event is co-sponsored with the Department of Anthropology Colloquium Series.

Public Presentation — How to Build the House of Taswir?: About the (Public) Transformation of Dreams, Letters and Things

March 17, 2015
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
CUNY Graduate Center, Skylight Room

Tuesday, March 17th | 6–8pm | Skylight Room

First in [Walter Benjamin] mini-series, Thinking Constellations:
A public presentation by A.S. Bruckstein Çoruh, thinker, writer, curator, architect of the House of Taswir and the Taswir Atlas. This event will be followed by a seminar / atlas session on March 18th.


Taswir in Arabic, Persian, Ottoman-Turkish, Urdu, and Hindi, means “image making”, to draw, picture, represent. In her public talk, A.S. Bruckstein Çoruh presents aspects of her House of Taswir, an imaginary institute that behaves like an ancient manuscript, a dream text, piece of poetry, a fluxus score, or surrealist écriture. The House of Taswir takes its visual, formal, and architectural inspirations from such different sources as a Hadith manuscript, talmudic folios, a chapter of Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, or recent contemporary art works related to the House. Bruckstein envisions an epistemic order of dreams, letters, and things, whose architecture is yet to come.

The research of the Taswir Institute is supported by the Udo Keller Foundation Forum Humanum.

Seminar / Atlas Session — How to Build an Altas of the House?: Experimenting with Epistemic Architecture(s)

March 18, 2015
12:00 am
Room 5307

Wednesday, March 18th | 4–6pm | Room 5307

Following a public presentation on March 17th, please join us for a seminar / atlas session with A.S. Bruckstein Çoruh, thinker, writer, curator, architect of the House of Taswir and the Taswir Atlas.

atlas matrix 5

In this seminar we are exploring the Taswir atlas, a digital instrument whose algorithm is apt to associate and dissociate freely among objects, images, sounds, texts, and other things imaginable, free from geo-political and other essentialist boundaries. The matrix underlying the algorithmic order of the TASWIR atlas is modeled after 10th to 13th century Arabic and Judeo-Arabic theories of “relative attributes”, advocating the indeterminacy and relativity of human knowledge concerning the divine subject. What the TASWIR atlas does, as Jewish and Islamic traditions have done before, is to substitute material objects for the divine subject, to “bend” its attributes towards the materiality of the object. What emanates from the correspondences emerging from the matrix of attributes is a variable cartography, an arrangement of objects which suggests an open ended associative process of a non-linear order.

During the time of the seminar we are going to explore the dynamics of the Taswir atlas in various personal constellations. Ideally, every participant of the seminar will be able to imagine, and realize his or her own atlas.

The research of the Taswir Institute is supported by the Udo Keller Foundation Forum Humanum.

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