February – April 2015
This talk will examine the question: why do Indian middle class citizens seem to have no compelling interest improving sanitation for the poor, despite the fact that their own health is affected due to the close proximity of the poor? By comparing the current conditions of poverty in India and China, presenter Peter van der Veer will examine cultural theories of attitudes towards ‘the dirty outside world’ and will argue that these theories ignore the importance of caste, and especially, untouchability.
Peter van der Veer is Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen and Distinguished University Professor at Utrecht University. He is the author of Gods on Earth (LSE Mongraphs, 1988), Religious Nationalism (University of California Press 1994), Imperial Encounters (Princeton University Press 2001), The Modern Spirit of Asia (Princeton University Press 2014), editor of the new journal, Cultural Diversity in China and a former Fellow of the India China Institute at the New School.
Please join us for a roundtable discussion with experts on China, India, Japan & Russia.
Alexis Dudden, Professor of History, University of Connecticut and Contributor, Dissent Magazine
Nina Khrushcheva, Associate Professor and Associate Dean at Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy, The New School
Ross Perlin, Author and Contributor, Dissent Magazine
Sanjay Ruparelia, Associate Professor of Politics, Eugene Lang College at The New School and former Fellow, India China Institute
China and India: New Urban Forms, New Fields of Inquiry will explore new ways of looking at the interplay of the conceptual and the material in studies of urban India and China. A collaborative and exploratory field-building exercise, this conference will pursue alternatives to theories of social science and design that sometimes draw upon universalist and/or linear assumptions about processes such as capitalism, urbanization, and modernity. Instead, our conference participants, many of whom have engaged in ethnographic, interpretive, or other qualitative approaches to urban forms and processes, will pursue new concepts and expose areas of future inquiry based on their work on urban and urbanized spaces of China and India. ICI believes that a conference engaging scholars committed to theorizing from careful, contextualized studies of Chinese and Indian cities has the potential to create new fields of inquiry. Please check back for updates on logistical information about this conference.
Professor, Former Director
Institute of Asian Research
University of British Columbia