Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 7 PM at Smith Student Union, Room 333.
Cosmopolitanism has been understood as a contemporary phenomenon and aspiration. This talk will examine the history of Enlightenment Orientalism, or various forms of fictional imagination and thought-experiment pertaining to the East in the eighteenth century, as a hitherto unappreciated type of cosmopolitanism. While Orientalism has been dismissed as a mode of representation that demonizes the other, this talk argues for a different and more complex history of cross-cultural understanding.
Srinivas Aravamudan is a Professor of English and the Dean of Humanitiesis at Duke University where he specializes in eighteenth century British and French literature and in postcolonial literature and theory.
He received his Ph.D. from Cornell and came to Duke in 2000. Aravamudan specializes in eighteenth century British and French literature and in postcolonial literature and theory. His study, Tropicopolitans: Colonialism and Agency, 1688-1804 (1999, Duke University Press) won the first book prize of the Modern Language Association in 2000. A second book, Guru English: South Asian Religion in Cosmopolitan Contexts was published in 2006 and republished in 2007. He is currently working on two book-length studies, one on the eighteenth-century French and British oriental tale, and the other on sovereignty and anachronism.
Aravamudan was co-convener of the 2002-03 FHI Seminar on “Race, Justice, and the Politics of Memory.”
Portland Center for Public Humanities