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Prof. Mahmood Mamdani on “Neither Settler Nor Native: The Making And Unmaking of Permanent Minorities”

On Friday, October 29th, the Department of English at Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) hosted Prof. Mahmood Mamdani, Herbert Lehman Professor of Government and Professor of Anthropology and Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS) at Columbia University and Director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research in Kampala, for the tenth lecture of the Distinguished Lecture Series, "Neither Settler Nor Native: The Making And Unmaking of Permanent Minorities."

Word For Peace 

The Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), organized the tenth lecture of the Distinguished Lecture Series, “Neither Settler Nor Native: The Making And Unmaking of Permanent Minorities” by Prof. Mahmood Mamdani, Herbert Lehman Professor of Government and Professor of Anthropology and of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS) at Columbia University and Director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research in Kampala, on Friday, 29th October , 2021, 7:00-8:00 PM IST on Zoom.

 Supported by the Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC), Ministry of Education, Government of India, the talk was organized as part of the ongoing academic collaboration with the Department of English and American Studies, University of Würzburg, Germany, and promises to be one in a line of successively pertinent lectures.

The talk was conducted by, Ms. Zahra Rizvi, Ms. Shraddha A. Singh and Ms. Suman Bhagchandani, Ph.D. scholars, Department of English, JMI, and was enthusiastically attended by a large crowd of scholars, students, and faculty from all over the world and across various time-zones.

Prof. Simi Malhotra, H.o.D., Department of English, JMI, Indian PI, delivered the welcome address, greeting the invited speaker, faculty, scholars, and students. She spoke about the talk as a part of the ongoing collaborative project between the Department of English, JMI and the Department of English and American Studies, University of Würzburg, on “New Terrains of Consciousness: Globalization, Sensory Environments and Local Cultures of Knowledge”, supported by the Ministry of Education’s initiative SPARC, “Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration” which aims to facilitate academic and research collaboration between higher education institutes in India and abroad. She, then, introduced the esteemed speaker, Prof. Mahmood Mamdani, who was greeted by a round of applause.

The lecture was grounded on Prof. Mamdani’s recent work Neither Settler Nor Native: The Making And Unmaking of Permanent Minorities which engages with concepts of the nation-state and post-colonial modernity by tracing the history of the two phases of the nation-state: the non-liberal and the liberal. According to him, the beginning of the nation- state can be located in the fifteenth century in Iberia, which was characterized ethnic cleansing and religious wars in what he calls the non-liberal phase of the nation-state. He further traces the liberal turn in the nation-state formation two centuries later that stabilized majority and minority into permanent political identities, albeit on unequal sovereignties. Through his talk, he suggested a careful decoupling of the nation-state and the importance of thinking of alternate modes of alliances that can be created in its place.

This was followed by an engaging, in-depth Q/A session coordinated by Ms. Ann Susan Aleyas, Ph.D. Scholar, Department of English, JMI. The event was brought to an end with a Vote of Thanks by Ms. Zahra Rizvi. To ensure a wide range of viewership and participation, the event was also live streamed on YouTube, and was attended by over a hundred participants.

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