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Time and Limits of the Political: Anti-Historical Excursions from South Asia

Second Berlin Southern Theory Lecture with Indian Historian Prathama Banerjee on December 10, 2020 / Joint press release of Freie Universität Berlin and the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO)

№ 234/2020 from Dec 03, 2020

On December 10, the Indian historian Professor Prathama Banerjee will give a talk on “anti-historical” thinking from a southern theory perspective, with a special focus on South-East Asia. From a starting point of historical critique, researchers in the field of southern theory bring together past and possibilities, creatively addressing time and chronology as a means of understanding the political. Based on this debate, the Global South is creating its own theoretical and linguistic resources with which to shape a decolonial future. Professor Banerjee has been invited to give this year’s Berlin Southern Theory Lecture, which will be live-streamed in English. The discussant, Professor Abdulkader Tayob, is a professor of religious studies at the University of Cape Town. He is currently a Georg Forster Research Award recipient (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation) with the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO). The lecture series is organized by the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin together with the ZMO.

Prathama Banerjee studied history at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi and the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. Besides history, she is especially interested in political theory, philosophy, and literature. Her talk will focus on key aspects of her current research, which she explores more widely in her forthcoming book Elementary Aspects of the Political: Histories from the Global South. Within the interdisciplinary environment of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi, Banerjee is working with colleagues on a historical critique of traditional terminologies and approaches to social theory in the humanities and social sciences. The resulting conceptual reorientation will move constructively beyond the dominating, Eurocentric approach to focus on alternative linguistic strategies from the Global South, especially South Asia.

The Berlin Southern Theory Lecture series highlights contributions to epistemological theory from the Global South, forming part of a global exchange of knowledge and redressing lingering postcolonial asymmetries in order to decenter and diversify theoretical debates in the social sciences and the humanities. The inaugural lecture was given by the economist Felwine Saar from the Université Gaston Berger, Senegal, in December 2019. This year’s event is organized by Freie Universität Berlin and the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), in cooperation with Forschungscampus Dahlem and the initiative co2libri. It is also supported by the Berlin Center for Global Engagement within the Berlin University Alliance.

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Contact for Press and Media

Lena Herzog, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Email: lena.herzog@zmo.de

Contact for Academic Inquiries

Prof. Dr. Kai Kresse, Freie Universität Berlin, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Email: kai.kresse@zmo.de