ICAS:MP Special Lecture by Faisal Devji on 20 October 2020
The Childhood of Politics
Chair and Discussant: Mary E John (Centre for Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi)
Online via Cisco Webex at 1 pm – 2:15 pm CET/ 4:30 – 5:45 pm IST
Abstract: This lecture will argue that the global emergence of children at the forefront of causes from climate change to education reveals a contradiction at the heart of politics. If politics is defined by the making of a future, the children who are meant to be its heirs are crucial to it. Yet after the poor and unpropertied, women, the colonised and ethnic minorities, they represent the last category of persons formally to be disallowed political agency. Is it perhaps their very unfreedom that allows children to exercise power in a novel way? And does their mobilization in contemporary politics signal the limits of its realm?
Faisal Devji is Professor of Indian History at the University of Oxford and Fellow of St. Antony’s College. He has held faculty positions at Yale University and the New School for Social Research in New York, as well as visiting positions at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna, Koc University in Istanbul, the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University and as Yves Oltramare Chair at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. He is Institute of Public Knowledge Fellow at New York University and the Inaugural Chair in Gandhi Studies at Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam, Kerala. His major publications include The Impossible India: Gandhi and the Temptation of Violence; Muslim Zion: Pakistan as a Political Idea; Islam After Liberalism; Landscapes of the Jihad: Militancy, Morality, Modernity; Political Thought in Action: The Bhagavad Gita and Modern India.
Mary E John is Senior Fellow and Professor at the Centre for Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi. She has been teaching, writing and speaking extensively on women, gender and feminist issues for three decades. Her publications include Discrepant Dislocations: Feminism, Theory and Postcolonial Histories; A Question of Silence? The Sexual Economies of Modern India; Women’s Studies in India: A Reader; and Child Marriage in an International Frame: A Feminist Review from India (in press). She was the co-Chair of a Task Force set up by the University Grants Commission to look into sexual harassment in Indian colleges and universities and brought out the report Saksham: Measures for Ensuring Safety of Women and Programmes for Gender Sensitization on Campuses.