9/1/09: A new year-long seminar series is being launched by faculty at Brown, Harvard University, and MIT. It aims at filling a long perceived gap in the intellectual discussions of contemporary South Asian politics in the larger Boston-Providence area.
“South Asia is a region of great strategic, political, and economic importance and its politics are of immense relevance to contemporary studies of democracy, inequalities, international security, identity politics, and the politics of economic development and growth,” said Brown Political Science Professor Ashutosh Varshney, who is spearheading the University’s work on the series. Varshney is collaborating with Prerna Singh of Harvard’s Government Department and Vipin Narang of MIT’s Political Science Department. Associate Professor Patrick Heller of Brown’s Sociology Department will also be a co-director of the seminar series.
Each school will host three to four seminars in the coming academic year. The first of the series, “On the Construction of Judicial Authority: Courts and Public Reason in India,” will feature Professor Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a leading political philosopher in India, president of the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, and member of NYU Law School’s Global Faculty. It will take place 4-6pm on Thursday, September 24, at the Watson Institute.
Subsequent events will include:
- “Dalit Politics after the 2009 Elections: Reflections on the BSP,” with Christophe Jaffrelot, senior research fellow at CERI, Paris, and visiting professor of political science at Columbia University, 2-4pm, Friday, October 9, to be held at Harvard
- “In but not Of the State: Claims to Social Citizenship in Western India,” with Niraja Gopal Jayal, professor at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and visiting professor at Princeton University, 4-6pm, Thursday, October 29, to be held at Brown
- “Reconciling with the Taliban? Toward an Alternative Grand Strategy in Afghanistan,” with Ashley Tellis, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 4-6 pm, Thursday, November 5, to be held at MIT
- “Peace through Development: Local Institution Building in Rural Afghanistan,” Fotini Christia, assistant professor of political science at MIT, 4-6pm, Thursday, November 19, to be held at Harvard
Over the course of the coming year, additional events will be listed here.