Recalling Democracy: Lineages of the Present
September 5 & 6, 2014
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building
Conference Schedule Participants
Decolonization is justly claimed as an axial event of the twentieth century. From this vantage, India’s place in social science resided in its relatively early achievement of the status of a nation-state and its illustration of the dilemmas of a conjoined commitment to democracy and development. A range of empirical and theoretical developments in the last few decades has now converged to transform India from an object of received social science to an instigator of new cross-disciplinary approaches. This project builds upon and extends this shift by rethinking conceptions of the political and of the twentieth century in relation to India.
The two-day workshop at Michigan is the second to emerge out of this project. The first workshop was held in New Delhi on January 10 & 11, 2014 with a focus on India's political imaginaries. The Michigan workshop assembles an international group of scholars to rethink India’s democratic politics in the concrete political landscapes of late-colonial and postcolonial India. Scholarly evaluations of India’s democracy have been as contentious as the phenomenon in question. The purpose of the workshop is neither to adjudicate existing disciplinary debates or definitions of democracy as such nor to offer yet another normative evaluation. It is rather to foster a consideration of India’s democracy as a trans-disciplinary object, paying attention to its long-run making across distinct practices, infrastructures (institutions and concepts), and conjunctures.
Mrinalini Sinha, Alice Freeman Palmer Professor of History, University of Michigan
Manu Goswami, Associate Professor of History, New York University
This conference has been generously funded by Ranvir and Adarsh Trehan and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.