In recent years, global intellectual history has emerged as one of the most dynamic academic fields, taking the study of political thought beyond bounded area studies concerns. Simultaneously, the charge of Eurocentrism has occasionally been levelled against the field. This roundtable intervenes within these debates by going beyond conventional frames of Europe-to-non-Europe conceptual diffusion and translation, and by centring, instead, vocabularies of Asian origin which migrated between South and Southeast Asia. By focusing on actors, conjunctures, and itineraries traversing India, Nepal, Thailand, Bali, Java, and beyond, this roundtable foregrounds trans-Asian intellectual fords and their role in the emergence of modern globalized political thought, around issues of sovereignty, labour and political economy, legal theology, colonialism and decolonization, ‘humanity’, and more.
The event is organized as part of the event series ‘Global Intellectual History as Political and Ethical Critique’ in LMU Munich, and is supported by the Bachelor of Arts Program in Language and Culture (BALAC), Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. The roundtable will feature presentations and structured discussions – involving Milinda Banerjee (Munich/Kolkata), Simon Cubelic (Heidelberg), Helena Holzberger (Munich), Paulus Kaufmann (Zurich), Jowita Kramer (Munich), and David Malitz (Bangkok) – as well as open question and answer sessions.
Lecture series "Global Intellectual History as Political and Ethical Critique"
In recent years, global intellectual history has emerged as one of the most transformative scholarly disciplines, raising questions with the potential to radically disrupt the ways in which we view our selves and wrestle with alterity. In the context of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Research Fellowship held by Milinda Banerjee, a series of events has been planned, across 2017 and 2018, to discuss the thresholds of global intellectual history, and especially the ways in which the latter can reshape critical theory and activist discourse. The speakers will investigate issues relating to sovereignty, law, labour and political economy, theology, and social conflict and revolution. While the relations between power and intellectual exertion – between conceptualizations of mastery and subaltern intellectual work which expropriates and resists various kinds of lordship – have often been explored in granular detail with respect to particular socio-cultural formations, we ask as to how these dialectics can be comprehended across the planetary scale in which social forces can be seen to operate, with ever greater intensity, today. Simultaneously, how do we avoid the risks of occluding localized sites of transformation? How do we acknowledge subalternized (along race, class, gender, and so on) actors and categories as originary in transfiguring horizons of ethical-political theory? In cutting through constructed binaries of local and global, indigenous and extraneous, various forms of multi-scalar and transversal methodology will contribute to our dialogues. The figure of the ‘trans-’ calls for movements of going beyond, of fording to other shores. We are impelled to ask as to how we can understand the social habitats of arguments, without incarcerating the arguments into specific contexts. How do we make past arguments productive of novel ethical futures – more just acts and social relationships – through rigorous critique as well as optimistic recuperation? By bringing speakers from different domains of specialization, we hope to generate new directions in pursuing the jagged insights of transversal and global intellection.
November 13th: Ilya Afanasyev (Birmingham/Oxford): The Invention of ‘Dynasty’ between Global Intellectual History and Political Economy
November 20th: Kerstin von Lingen (Wien/Heidelberg): Legal Flows: Exiled Lawyers' Contribution Towards the Concept of 'Crimes against Humanity'
December 15th: Niklas Olsen (Copenhagen): The Sovereign Consumer Goes Global: On the Making of the Neoliberal Political Paradigm
January 17th: Urs Matthias Zachmann (Berlin): Weaponising Particularism: Japan's Critique of Western International Law in the Asia-Pacific War and Its Aftermath
January 23th: Edward Cavanagh (Cambridge): Legal Thought and Empires: Power and Analogy across Time and Space
February 1st: Margrit Pernau (Berlin): Emotions and Modernity in Colonial India
April 24th: Julia C. Schneider (Göttingen): A Non-Western Colonial Power in Early Modernity? The Qing Empire in Post-Colonial Discourse
May 15th: Nicholas Matheou (Oxford): From Methodological Nationalism to an Anarchist Heuristic: Hegemony and Counterpower before Capital
May 24th: Carolien Stolte (Leiden): Pan-Asianism and its Regionalist Afterlives: a View from India, c.1917-1960
July 10th: Neilesh Bose (Victoria, Canada): Islam and Buddhism as World-Making Vehicles in Nineteenth Century India: Global Intellectual Histories of Religion