New York and Mumbai in the Times of Dr. Ambedkar

December 9, 2016 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm

New York and Mumbai are two cities that had a profound impact on Dr. Ambedkar’s worldview and imagination. 


This panel marks the centenary of Dr. Ambedkar’s graduation from Columbia University in New York, where he was a student from 1913-16.  It explores the intellectual spaces, forms of cultural expression, labor movements, and discourses of inequality that were part of the urban milieu in his time.  Professor Farah Jasmine Griffin will present her research on jazz, gender, blues and public life on the culture of the Harlem Renaissance in Manhattan.  Professors Robert Gooding-Williams and Anupama Rao will share their work on key transformations associated with historical inequality and social justice in the United States and India.

Date: Friday, December 9, 2016

Time: 5 pm onwards

The Event will be followed by a Reception

Venue: Godrej India Culture Lab, Auditorium, First Floor, Godrej One, Vikhroli (E)

(Entry from Eastern Express Highway)

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About the Speakers

Dr. Farah Jasmine Griffin is a Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African American Studies at Columbia University, where she has served as Director of the Institute for Research in African American studies. 

Professor Griffin’s major fields of interest are American and African American literature, music, history and politics. The recipient of numerous honors and awards for her teaching and scholarship, in 2006-2007, Professor Griffin was a fellow at the New York Public Library Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. Her publications include of Who Set You Flowin’: The African American Migration Narrative (Oxford, 1995), If You Can’t Be Free, Be a Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday (Free Press, 2001), Clawing At the Limits of Cool: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and the Greatest Jazz Collaboration Ever, and Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II

Professor Robert Gooding-Williams holds appointments in both the Philosophy Department and the Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS), where he is a member of the Core Faculty and founding director of the Center for Race, Philosophy, and Social Justice.  His areas of research and teaching interest include Social and Political Philosophy, the History of African-American Political Thought, 19th Century European Philosophy (especially Nietzsche), representations of race in film, and the literary theory and criticism of African-American literature).  Dr. Gooding-Williams is the author of Zarathustra's Dionysian ModernismLook, A Negro! Philosophical Essays on Race, Culture, and Politics; and In The Shadow of Du Bois: Afro-Modern Political Thought in America.  Over the course of his career, he has been awarded numerous fellowships, including an NEH Independent Scholars and College Teachers Fellowship, two Andrew Mellon Faculty Fellowships, and a Laurance A. Rockefeller Fellowship awarded by Princeton University’s University Center for Human Values.

Dr. Anupama Rao is Associate Professor of History at Barnard College. She is the author of The Caste Question: Dalits and the Politics of Modern India, and numerous essays on colonialism and humanitarianism, and on non-Western histories of gender and sexuality. Professor Rao has been a Fellow-in-Residence at the National Humanities Center; at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford) and at REWORK (Humboldt University, Berlin).  She is currently working on a book on the political thought of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar; and on a project titled Dalit Bombay, which explores the relationship between caste, political culture, and everyday life in colonial and postcolonial Bombay.


Ramesh Kamble (Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Mumbai) who has extensively researched the social and political experiences of Dalits in urban settings such as Mumbai will join the panel as a discussant.


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