Professor Vinay Lal
ACCS2017 Keynote Speaker
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA
The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies 2018 (ACCS2018) is pleased to announce that distinguished Indian historian and scholar, Professor Vinay Lal, will be a Keynote Speaker.
Professor Vinay Lal is Professor of History and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He writes widely on Indian history, historiography, public and popular culture in India, the Indian diaspora, colonialism, Gandhi and the architecture of nonviolence, and the global politics of knowledge systems. He has authored or edited sixteen books and is an elected member of the World Academy of Arts & Sciences and his work has been translated into Hindi, Urdu, Kannada, French, German, Spanish, Finnish, Korean, and Persian. His combined lectures on youtube have received 1 million views. He is presently completing two books on Gandhi, a work on Internet Hinduism, and a study of colonial governmentality in British India. He has the distinction of being listed in David Horowitz’s The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, on account of his critical work on American history and foreign policy.
Keynote Presentation | The Challenge of the Global South
It is commonly thought that the idea of the Global South received its first major articulation at the Afro-Asian Conference held at Bandung in 1955. However, the genealogy of the idea is far more complicated, since Bandung cannot be read only as an endeavor to forge solidarity between formerly colonized subjects or to create a third path that would steer clear of both the West and what was then the Soviet bloc. Rather, the challenge of Bandung, one that not only remains with us today but if anything has acquired ever greater urgency, is to understand whether the Global South can mount an intellectual and socio-cultural defense that would facilitate the conditions for an ecologically genuine survival of plurality. Two considerations, as I shall argue, must reign supreme in any such endeavor. First, centuries of colonial oppression had, among other devastating consequences, the effect of eviscerating memories and histories of South-South contacts, many of which preceded the interaction of most countries in the South with nations of the West. One consequence of colonialism that persists with us today is that nearly all intellectual exchanges within the South are mediated by the West. A second related but distinct consideration is that it cannot suffice to understand oppression through the categories made familiar by liberal and Marxist analyses, among them racism, class warfare, ‘economic terrorism’, the military-industrial complex, and so on. Western social science, in particular, has generated a nearly insurmountable imperialism of categories, such that the histories and experiences of people in the South are interpreted through the templates generated in the Western academy. Is it possible for the South to galvanize its intellectual inheritance and socio-cultural resources to offer dissenting frameworks of knowledge? It is in these terms that the challenge of the South must be understood.