Saturday, February 1, 2014

Balvant Parekh Distinguished Lecture by R. Radhakrishnan, 8 February 2014

Balvant Parekh Centre cordially invites you to a Lecture by Professor R. Radhakrishnan titled “The Many and the One: Phenomenology and Politics” on Saturday, 8 February 2014 at 4 pm at the Centre. This Lecture is part of Balvant Parekh Distinguished Lecture Series instituted by the Centre.

Summary of the Lecture

Aakasaath patitham thoyam
Yatha gacchathi saagaram
Sarva deva namaskaraha
Keshavam prathigacchathi.
So goes a Sanskrit shloka in the utopian hope that the clamor of the many can be reconciled with the serenity of the preexisting One. Is this aspiration theological or secular; Hindu or generically religious: denominational or denominational; philosophical or political?  My objective in this lecture is to revisit the One-Many problematic on a double register: phenomenology and politics. If phenomenology is solicitous of existential differences and heterogeneity, the language of politics insists on the production of the imprimatur of the One. The polemical question is which One? Under what conditions is the mantra "Unity in Diversity" a genuine article of faith and knowledge, and when does it degenerate into an inane or virulent shibboleth?  Routing my 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), I will endeavor to rework the critical tension between Home and World, between phenomenology and politics. My hope is to animate the "between" as a category of ethico-political persuasion.

                                             R. Radhakrishnan

R. 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?

address : Balvant Parekh Centre for General Semantics and Other Human Sciences
C-302 Siddhi Vinayak Complex, Behind Baroda Railway Station (Alkapuri Side)
Faramji Road, Baroda-390007   

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