Words, Power and Politics: How Language Shapes Our Political World

Words, Power and Politics: How Language Shapes Our Political World

Words in Motion: Toward a Global Lexicon.

How often have you bristled at a politician's use of the word 'terror'? How about terms like 'liberal,' 'conservative,' 'clash of civilizations,' and 'fundamentalism'? Then there are tougher examples like 'environment' and 'sustainability.' George Orwell reminded us long ago to keep an eye on how politicians use language, but have we?

A fascinating new book of essays examines how the meanings of words change as they move from one culture to another and their usages evolve over time. In the process it discovers some interesting and surprising things about shifting power relations and ultimately about how, as historian Eric Hobsbawm put it, ''globalization' works on the ground.'

Join this conversation with three of the eminent scholar-contributors to this book as they discuss the life history of words like "thug," 'barbarian,' and 'terrorist.' You will see how understanding the way language changes and works can help us better grasp the forces that are shaping our world and future.

With Partha Chatterjee, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, & Columbia University; Carol Gluck, George Sansom Professor of History, Columbia University, and Lydia H. Liu, W.T. Tam Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University. Moderated by Robert Lane Greene, The Economist and author of the upcoming You Are What You Speak.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

Carol Gluck is the George Sansom Professor of History at Columbia University. She is the author of Thinking with the Past: Modern Japan and History and Japan's Modern Myths: Ideology in the Late Meiji Period, and editor of Asia in Western and World History.

Partha Chatterjee is professor of anthropology at Columbia University. His most recent book is The Politics of the Governed: Popular Politics in Most of the World.

Lydia H. Liu is Wun Tsun Tam Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and author of the upcoming The Freudian Robot: Digital Media and The Future of the Unconscious.

Co-sponsored by The Asian American Writers' Workshop (AAWW)

Event Details

21 October 2010
2:30pm - 4:30pm

725 Park Avenue, New York, NY

$10 Asia Society and AAWW members; $12 seniors and students w/ID; $15 nonmembers