Distinguished Lecture by Akeel Bilgrami

 Akeel Bilgrami, a Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University and a Faculty member of the Committee on Global Thought delivered a lecture titled “Some Extensions of Edward Said” on Tuesday, 7 January 2014. This Lecture was part of Balvant Parekh Distinguished Lecture Series instituted by the Centre. In the Lecture, Professor Bilgrami discussed “Edward Said asked what did the Orient mean for the West? It is time to ask how does the West appear to the Orient.” He engaged with the Saidean critique of the western perspectives on the east and analyzed how the reverse gaze is also fraught with problems of perception and prejudices.  

Professor Bilgrami has two relatively independent sets of intellectual interests - in the Philosophy of Mind and Language, and in Political Philosophy and Moral Psychology especially as they surface in politics, history, and culture. His published books include Belief and Meaning (Blackwell, 1992) and Self Knowledge and Resentment (Harvard University Press, 2006). He is presently working on a book on the relations between agency and practical reason. His book of selected essays on the moral psychology of politics entitled Secularism, Identity, and Enchantment will be published by Harvard University Press in February 2014.  He is also contracted to publish What is a Muslim? (Princeton University Press); and on Gandhi's philosophy (Columbia University Press). Professor Bilgrami was the Director of the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University from 2004-2011.

Distinguished Lecture by Dr. R. Radhakrishnan

Professor R. Radhakrishnan delivered a lecture titled “The Many and the One: Phenomenology and Politics” on 8 February 2014 as part of Balvant Parekh Distinguished Lecture Series. He began by citing a Sanskrit shloka that expresses a utopian hope that the clamor of the many can be reconciled with the serenity of the preexisting One. He inquired whether this aspiration theological or secular; Hindu or generically religious: denominational or denominational; philosophical or political?  The lecture revisited the One-Many problematic on a double register: phenomenology and politics. Routing his argument through the multiplicity of languages (Derrida, Benjamin) and the precarious fate of secularism in India and elsewhere (Tagore, Gandhi, Bharucha, Said, Connolly, Nandy, Chatterjee), Dr. Radhakrishnan endeavored to rework the critical tension between Home and World, between phenomenology and politics and tried to animate the "between" as a category of ethico-political persuasion. Prof. Radhakrishnan is Chancellor's Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California , Irvine , and is considered one of the leading postcolonial theorists and literary critics in the United States . Radhakrishnan is also noted as a translator and poet of Tamil as well as a master of English and English literary criticism. His works include History, the Human, and the World Between, Theory in an Uneven World, Diasporic Mediations: Between Home and Location, Between Identity and Location: The Cultural Politics of Theory, Edward Said: A Dictionary. He is also the editor/coeditor of Theory as Variation, Transnational South Asians: The Making of a Neo Diaspora (with Susan Koshy), Theory After Derrida (with Kailash Baral), and guest editor of a special issue of Modern Fiction Studies.  Author of a volume of poems in Tamizh, Negizschhi Oru Nigazcchi Alla, he is also the translator of contemporary Tamizh fiction into English.  Winner of a number of fellowships including the Fulbright, he has published extensively in academic journals and collections of essays. His next forthcoming volume is a collection of essays, When is the Political?