#TAIU (The Animals In Us, January 20, 2019):
Of what womb are you born? Are there good & bad animals? ‘Where’ is there no Law? Are the outlawed animal-like? Who gets to be a citizen of the polis? Are Pandavas princes in the forest? Are the freer nobler? Does the wolf look down upon the dog? Are animals truly in the open? Are humans, in a sense, the most abandoned? Is the jungle still within us? Did our ability to exchange (& imagine) enable us to curb our animal instincts and establish ‘humanity’? Where do Gods and demons come from? Is divinity empathy? What exactly is tiger-man? Does hunger lead to evil? Is empathy required in the jungle? Did peasantry play a role in reconfiguring human-animal relationships? Can (all) animals be sacrificed for humans? Do animals have to be attributed with a Being? What do they have in common with us? How do we turn Other humans into animals? Why are inter-species social relationships possible? Do you understand how insects suffer (or, how larvae wait to be captured)? Are we overwhelmingly anthropomorphic? Must species barriers be blurred? Would we, in the future, have everything we desire? Are the werewolves here to stay? &, would the repressed always return? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from comparative literature (Prof. Peter Arnds, Trinity College, Dublin), philosophy (Dr. Prasenjit Biswas, NEHU, Shillong), & mythology (Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik, Mumbai).
SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TAIU show.
Prof. Peter Arnds (comparative literature ) is the Head of the German Department, the Italian Department, and the Director of Comparative Literature at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. His publications include monographs on Wilhelm Raabe and Charles Dickens (Peter Lang, 1997), ‘Representation, Subversion and Eugenics in Günter Grass’s The Tin Drum’ (Camden House 2004), and ‘Lycanthropy in German Literature’ (Palgrave Macmillan 2015), ’Translating Holocaust Literature’ (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015), the translation of Patrick Boltshauser’s novel ‘Stromschnellen’ (‘Rapids’, Dalkey Archive Press, 2014), and ‘A Rare Clear Day’ (RedFox Press, 2015), a collection of his poetry and water colors. In 2016, he spent several months as a Research Fellow at JNU, Delhi and at the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice at the University of Adelaide (Australia) to work on prose and a project entitled ‘Wolves at the Door: History of a Metaphor.’ He was also previously writer in-residence at the Heinrich Boell Cottage on Achill Island, County May, Ireland. Dr. Arnds is a permanent Fellow at the Trinity College, a member of the PEN Centre for German Writers Abroad, and of Academia Europaea. He is currently working on a large research project in the Environmental Humanities, a study of wolves and how their perception in cultural history impacts xenophobia and discourses of migration. He has also recently been co-organizing an international conference on the precarity of cities in Surat, India, in conjunction with Aurobindo University and University of Northampton (UK). His most recent novel ‘Searching for Alice’ was published by Dalkey Archive Press (2018).
Dr. Prasenjit Biswas (philosophy) is currently an Associate Professor of Philosophy at North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong. He has also taught Philosophy at Indian School of Mines (ISM, Dhanbad), IIT Bombay, IIT Guwahati, and, Assam University (Silchar). His research interests are in phenomenology and continental philosophy, philosophy of Northeast India, ethnophilosophy, philosophy of science, & political philosophy. He has published six books including: ‘Between Philosophy and Anthropology: Aporias of Language, Thought and Consciousness’ (Notion Press, Chennai, 2017), ‘Construction of Evil in North East India’ (SAGE, 2012), & ‘The Meaning, Metaphor and Method of Peace in North East India’ (Regency, 2006). His works have been published in multiple peer reviewed journals. Dr. Biswas has also been invited on assignments to multiple universities across the world such as: University of Cambridge, Wayne State University (Detroit), & University of South Florida. Through international media outlets such as Al Jazeera, Voice of America, & South China Morning Times he has presented his views on issues of contemporary social and human rights issues to audiences across the world. Dr. Biswas is also a human rights’ activist, and he currently chairs the Barak Human Rights’ Protection Committee (Silchar). In the past, he has also worked to ensure that compensation is paid to families of people who died of hunger at Assam’s Bhuban Valley Tea Garden in 2011-2012. He has been writing regularly in the Statesman (New Delhi & Kolkata), highlighting the outcome of statelessness due to Assam’s NRC (National Register for Citizens) procedure.
Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik (mythology) is a physician by qualification turned into mythologist and leadership consultant by choice. After serving healthcare industry for several years, he started writing books and columns about mythology and delivering lectures on the subject. His work primarily focuses on deriving management insights from mythology to reveal a very Indian approach to modern business. He has completed his education in Medicine from Grant College, Mumbai and also a Post-Graduate Diploma in Comparative Mythology, offered by the Sanskrit Department of Mumbai University. Dr. Pattanaik has authored close to 50 books, & has illustrated most of his own books. Some of his recent published works are, ‘Shyam: An Illustrated Retelling of the Bhagavata’ (Penguin, 2018), ‘My Hanuman Chalisa. Rupa’ (Publications, 2017), ‘The Girl Who Chose: A New Way of Narrating the Ramayana’ (Puffin Books, 2016), & ‘My Gita’ (Rupa Publications India, 2015). Dr. Pattanaik is based in Mumbai and is now a sought-after public speaker and culture consultant for corporations and business leaders. His columns on management and culture appear regularly in The Economic Times and Mid-Day. He has the natural ability to narrate stories from Indian and World mythology, and provide deep insights into their structures and probable meanings. Dr. Pattanaik also worked as a story consultant to Indian television network Star TV, where, a drama series (titled, ‘Devon Ke Dev…Mahadev) based on his work was produced & broadcasted. He is also a story consultant with Epic Channel, where he presents, another Indian Hindi television series titled, ‘Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik’. [Note: Also a SynTalkr on #TIATC (The Illusion And The Cosmos)]
Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.
#TAIU mentions: Kaśyapa, Aristotle, Shankara, Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Burton, Bram Stoker, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Adolf Hitler, Martin Heidegger, Franz Kafka, Rudyard Kipling, Gilles Deleuze, Giorgio Agamben, & Robert Winder, among others.