#TSOC (The Seeds Of Communities, June 22, 2019):

Do you (only) like people like you? Is belonging ‘necessary’? Are communities homogeneous? How do communities become political actors from being social entities? Are community identities a way of becoming legible for the State? Does the idea of nations pre-suppose the idea of communities? Conversely, how do countries or communities fall apart? Are societies modern, & communities pre-modern? Can communities self-determine themselves as such? How much can communities scale? How is the community enacted, & what keeps it going? Are they all kept together by (filial) feelings? What is the interplay between blood, language, religion, ‘culture’, trade, and subsequent social formations? ‘Where’ are self-interested strangers civil to each other? Is the State natural to human beings? Does language make us human? Are (all) individuals, therefore, social? Are all women a community? &, call centre employees? Do you want to be on the winning side? Are utopias scary? What happens when we turn within? Will communities persist in the future? Or, is the future unhomely and infinitely lonely? Would there be new modalities of drawing connections? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from political theory (Prof. Neera Chandhoke, ex-University of Delhi, Delhi), anthropology (Dr. Mathangi Krishnamurthy, IIT Madras, Chennai), & history (Prof. Gyan Prakash, Princeton University, Princeton).

Listen in…

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TSOC show.

Prof. Neera Chandhoke (political theory) is Former Professor at Department of Political Science, University of Delhi (DU), New Delhi, where she was the Head of Department from 2000-2003. She also served as a Director, Developing Countries Research Centre (DU, 2005-2012), and previously taught as a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer at Lady Shriram College (DU, 1968-1985). Her research interests are political theory, Indian politics, comparative politics, social rights, democracy, communalism, and identity formation. Prof. Chandhoke has published six books including: ‘Rethinking Pluralism, Secularism, Tolerance: Anxieties of Co-Existence (Sage, 2019), ‘Democracy and Revolutionary Politics’ (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), & The Conceits of Civil Society (OUP, 2003). She has also (co)-edited five books including: ‘Protecting the Unprotected: Social Protection Policies in South Asia (Routledge, 2012), & ‘Contemporary India’ (Pearsons, 2009). Her papers have appeared in leading edited volumes (published by Cambridge, Oxford, Orient Blackswan, Palgrave, Routledge, among others) and journals (EPW, Third World Quarterly, among others) over the years. Prof. Chandhoke has also received multiple fellowships, including: Indian Council of Social Science Research National Fellowship (ICSSR, 2013-2015), Senior Fellowship from Justitia Amplificata, Goethe University, Frankfurt (2012-2013), & International Visiting Fellowship from Centre for Civil Society, London School ofEconomics and Political Science, London  (2007). Her other interests include classical Hindustani music, old Bollywood film songs, detective fiction (P. D. James, Colin Dexter, Ruth Rendall, & others).

Dr. Mathangi Krishnamurthy (anthropology) is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), IIT Madras, Chennai. From 2010-2012, she was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA. Her research interests are the anthropology of work and gender, medical anthropology, gender, urban studies, globalization, and affective labour. Dr. Krishnamurthy completed her B.Com in Marketing from Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce (Pune, 1999), and a Masters in Communication (PGDC) from Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA, Ahmedabad, 2006). She then went to The University of Texas at Austin to complete a M.A. (2007) and Ph.D. (2010) in Anthropology. Her book, titled, ‘1-800-Worlds: The Making of the Indian Call Centre Economy’ (OUP, 2018), chronicles the labour practices, life-worlds, and media atmospheres of Indian call centre workers. She has also been a columnist for the blog 3quarksdaily, and writes occasionally on cultural production and practices for popular press. Dr. Krishnamurthy is affiliated with American Anthropological Association, Society for Urban, National and Transnational Anthropology, Society for the Anthropology of Work, & Centre for Technology and Policy (CTaP, IIT Madras). She has received Young Faculty Research Award (IIT Madras, 2016), Wellcome Trust Small Grant (2013), & American Association of University Women International Dissertation Fellowship (2007). Dr. Krishnamurthy has also delivered invited lectures at Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities (2017), & CSL Colloquium, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC, 2008).

Prof. Gyan Prakash (history) is Dayton Stockton Professor of History, Department of History, Princeton University (1988-), NJ, USA. His research interests are urban modernity, colonial genealogies of modernity, problems of postcolonial thought and politics, modern South Asian history, colonialism and postcolonial theory, urban history, global history, and history of science. Prof. Prakash completed his B.A. in History from University of Delhi (DU, 1973), M.A. in History from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU, 1975), and Ph.D. in History from University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA. He has received multiple fellowships and awards including: Fulbright Nehru Fellowship (2017), National Endowment of Humanities Fellowship (2008-09), Guggenheim Fellowship (2000-01), & multiple postdoctoral and doctoral fellowships from American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS, Chicago), among others. Prof. Prakash has published/co-edited 15 books, including: ‘Emergency Chronicles: Indira Gandhi and Democracy’s Turning Point’ (Penguin/Hamish Hamilton, 2018), ‘Mumbai Fables’ (Princeton University Press and HarperCollins (India), 2010), & ‘Utopia/Dystopia: Historical Conditions of Possibility’(Princeton University Press, Co-editors Michael Gordin & Helen Tilley, 2010). Prof. Prakash has presented papers/lectures in more than 150 conferences/universities across the world. Also, he is the member of the editorial board of Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, & member of the Board of Trustees at the AIIS, Chicago. Mumbai Fables was adapted for a film (Bombay Velvet, 2015; director: Anurag Kashyap) for which he wrote the story & co-wrote the screenplay.

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TSOC mentionsAristotle, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson, G. W. F. Hegel, John Stuart Mill, Ferdinand de Saussure, Sigmund Freud, Martin Heidegger, Partha Chatterjee, Michael Ignatieff, Homi K. Bhabha, Wendy Brown, & Lauren Berlant, among others.