India: At the Crossroads of Legacy and DemocracyVIEW EVENT DETAILS
India is rising as a major power in Asia, now the most populous country in the world surpassing China, and poised for rapid economic growth. As India rises, so does global awareness of its complicated history with colonialism, caste, religion, gender, and poverty — all of which continue to pose significant challenges to India’s democracy and modes of governance. This living history has global implications, from caste discrimination to the specter of nuclear war over the disputed territory of Kashmir.
Join us for a conversation that will unpack the effects of these cultural and historical legacies in India on its modern democratic institutions, the tensions between India’s internal conversation on these issues and how they affect the rest of the world, as well as recommendations for creating and sustaining a more equitable future. The panel, moderated by Gauri Viswanathan, Class of 1933 Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University, will feature Kanchan Chandra, Professor of Politics, New York University, Aparna Pande, Director, Initiative on the Future of India and South Asia, Hudson Institute, and Ronojoy Sen, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies and the South Asian Studies Programme, National University of Singapore.
This event is being held alongside Asia Society Museum’s Comparative Hell: Arts of the Asian Underworld exhibit, which is running from February 28 – May 7, 2023. Immediately following the conclusion of the event, we are pleased to offer a discounted private tour of the exhibit, which explores portrayals of hell and conceptions of the afterlife across Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Islam. The tour will begin at 11:25 AM ET. If you would like to join, please purchase a ticket that includes the private exhibition tour. You will not be able to purchase a ticket to the private tour at the event.
Dr. Kanchan Chandra (Ph.D 2000, Harvard), Professor of Politics at NYU, works on questions of ethnicity, democracy, violence, patronage and clientelism, party politics and the politics of South Asia. She is lead author of Democratic Dynasties (Cambridge University Press, 2016) Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics (Oxford University Press, 2012), author of Why Ethnic Parties Succeed: Patronage and Ethnic Headcounts in India (Cambridge University Press, 2004) and of articles in several leading journals. Her work has been supported by fellowships from the Princeton Program on Democracy and Development, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioural Sciences, the Russell Sage Foundation and research grants from the National Science Foundation, and the United States Institute of Peace. Her previous work explores what the constructed nature of ethnic identity means for theories and data on the causes and consequences of ethnic mobilization.
Dr. Aparna Pande is Director of the Initiative on the Future of India and South Asia at the Hudson Institute, Washington D.C. Her major field of interest is South Asia with a special focus on India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Foreign and Security Policy. Born in India, Pande received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in History from St. Stephens College at Delhi University before receiving an M. Phil in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University. She completed her Ph.D. in Political Science at Boston University in the United States. Aparna Pande's books include ‘Making India Great: The Promise of a Reluctant Global Power’ (Harper Collins, 2020), ‘From Chanakya to Modi: The Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy’ (Harper Collins, 2017), 'Explaining Pakistan's Foreign Policy: Escaping India' (Routledge, 2010), ‘Contemporary Handbook on Pakistan’ (as editor) (Routledge, 2017) and ‘Contemporary Handbook on South Asian Foreign Policy’ (as editor) (Routledge, 2020).
Dr. Ronojoy Sen is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of South Asian Studies and the South Asian Studies Programme, National University of Singapore. He has worked for over a decade with leading Indian newspapers, most recently as an editor for The Times of India. His latest book is House of the People: Parliament and the Making of Indian Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2022). He is also the author of Nation at Play: A History of Sport in India (Columbia University Press/Penguin, 2015) and Articles of Faith: Religion, Secularism, and the Indian Supreme Court (Oxford University Press, 2010; revised ed. 2018) and has edited several books. He has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago and read history at Presidency College, Calcutta.
Dr. Gauri Viswanathan (moderator) is Class of 1933 Professor in the Humanities and former Director of the South Asia Institute at Columbia University in New York. She has published widely on education, religion, and culture; nineteenth-century British and colonial cultural studies; and the history of modern disciplines. She is the author of Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India (Columbia, 1989; Oxford, 1998; 25th anniversary edition, with a new preface, Columbia, 2014) and Outside the Fold: Conversion, Modernity, and Belief (Princeton, 1998), which won, among other prizes, the Ananda K. Coomaraswamy Prize awarded by the Association for Asian Studies. She also edited Power, Politics, and Culture: Interviews with Edward W. Said (Vintage, 2001). Prof. Viswanathan is coeditor of the prize-winning book series South Asia Across the Disciplines, published jointly by the university presses of Columbia, Chicago, and California. She has held numerous visiting chairs, among them the Beckman Professorship at Berkeley, and she was an Affiliated Fellow at the American Academy in Rome and a Visiting Mellon Scholar at the University of Cape Town. She has received Guggenheim, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Mellon fellowships. Most recently, she received a grant from Columbia’s Humanities War and Peace Initiative for a project on “Aldous Huxley and Pacifism.” Viswanathan’s current work is on genealogies of secularism and theories of enchantment.