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10-08-2015 Gaurav Desai


Center for Interpretive and Qualitative Research

Presenter: Dr. Gaurav Desai, Professor of English and African and African Diaspora Studies, Tulane University
Dates: October 8-9, 2015


Bio: Dr. Gaurav Desai is Professor of English and has a joint appointment in the Program of African and African Diaspora Studies at Tulane University. Author of Subject to Colonialism: African Self-fashioning and the Colonial Library (Duke University Press, 2001) and editor of Teaching the African Novel (MLA, 2009) he has guest edited a volume of essays on "Culture and the Law" (South Atlantic Quarterly, 100.4, 2001), on "Actually Existing Colonialisms" (Journal of Contemporary Thought, 24, 2006), on "Asian African Literatures" (Research in African Literatures, 42.3, 2011), and co-edited a volume of essays on "Multi-Ethnic Literatures and the Idea of Social Justice" (MELUS, 28.1, Spring 2003). Postcolonialisms: An Anthology of Cultural Theory and Criticism (Rutgers University Press, 2005) which he co-edited with Supriya Nair has become a standard reference and classroom text since its publication. Among Desai's other publications are articles in edited collections and journals such as PMLA, Genders, Representations, Boundary2, Interventions, Research in African Literatures, African Studies Review and Cultural Critique. Recipient of a residential fellowship at the National Humanities Center in 2001, Desai has also been awarded a Rockefeller Foundation award for a residency at the Bellagio Center in Italy, a visiting fellowship at the Center for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and the Humanities at Cambridge University, and an ACLS Burkhardt Fellowship for his research. In 2004, Desai was made a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. His latest book on narratives of Indian Ocean connections between Africa and India, Commerce with the Universe: Africa, India and the Afrasian Imagination Columbia University Press, 2013) received the 2014 Rene Wellek Prize from the American Comparative Literature Association and was a finalist for the Bethwell Ogot Prize from the African Studies Association.

Public Talk Details:
Date: October 8, 2015, 7:00-9:00pm
Location: 608 Union Building, Duquesne University
Title: Gandhi as Allegory
Abstract: This paper arises out of some of the central concerns in my recently published book, Commerce with the Universe: Africa, India and the Afrasian Imagination (Columbia University Press, 2013) but is not a part of it. The book is interested, among other things, in the long history of cultural exchange in the Indian Ocean between Africa and India, and attempts to tell a story that bridges the world of twelfth century Indian Ocean trade with more contemporary, twentieth century narratives. It focuses, for the most part, on narratives by Indian authors and attempts to sketch their varied imaginings of Africa. This paper on Mohandas Gandhi, who spent two formative decades in South Africa in his early career, focuses on Gandhi's conceptions of race. How, the paper asks, are we to evaluate ideological claims across history?

Symposium Details:
Date: October 9, 2015, 10am-12pm
Location: 119 Union Building, Duquesne University
Topic: "Ocean and Narration," the opening chapter of Dr. Desai's recent book, Commerce with the Universe: Africa, India and the Afrasian Imagination (Columbia University Press, 2013)

Those interested in attending the symposium it is recommended to read the chapter, which can be found at: http://issuu.com/columbiaup/docs/desai-commerce-excerpt

All interested faculty, graduate students, and other parties are invited. Refreshments will be served at the symposium.

For inquiries concerning CIQR, please contact the Center Coordinator, Fred Evans, Dept. of Philosophy, at evansf@duq.edu, 396-6507, or visit the CIQR website atwww.duq.edu/ciqr.

*The Center has been officially approved by the Dean of the College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts, The Graduate Council of the College, and the Council of Deans for the University. It is based in the College but open to members of all the schools of the University. It includes interpretive and qualitative research in both the humanities and the social and behavioral sciences (including the practice of the latter in Nursing, Education, Occupational Therapy and other professional schools).