The M.S. Merian – R. Tagore International Centre of Advanced Studies: ‘Metamorphoses of the Political: Comparative Perspectives on the Long Twentieth Century’ (ICAS:MP) in New Delhi is an open, interdisciplinary forum for intellectual exchange. Located in India it critically intervenes in global debates in the social sciences and humanities.
Scholars associated with ICAS:MP will have the opportunity to examine and compare, from a wide array of disciplinary and methodological approaches, how ‘the political’ has been conceptualized, articulated and performed in specific arenas of contestation during what we call the ‘long twentieth century.’ This temporal demarcation is a heuristic tool that allows us to take into account longer historical trajectories, ranging from the ‘age of empire’ to the transformative phase following the end of the cold war in which ‘the political’ emerged as a realm transcending the boundaries of institutional politics.
ICAS:MP researchers will ask: What comes to count as ‘the political’ in distinct locales? What are the historical dynamics of depoliticization and repoliticization: how has the boundary between the political and the non-political shifted over time? What are the material and normative stakes of claiming, redefining or rejecting, the political? How do these dynamics unfold beyond, and unsettle, the West/non-West divide?
These questions about the shifting nature of the political will be addressed through sustained empirical focus on six paradigmatic arenas (Thematic Modules) in which contestation over delimiting the political has been particularly intense: