Theory from the South with Borderlines

Olga Verlato and Antara Chakrabarti, contributing editors at Borderlines, talk about the concept of theory from the south, which critiques the notion that theory originating from the global north exhausts the possibilities of critical theoretical understanding.

Olga Verlato is a PhD candidate at New York University in History and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies, and a Contributing Editor for the Middle East at Borderlines. She works on the modern history of Egypt and the Mediterranean, focusing on the impact of multilingual practices and language ideologies on politics, society, and culture.

Antara Chakrabarti is a Doctoral Student in the Sociocultural track of the Dept. of Anthropology in Columbia University. Her research strives to ethnographically and historically understand the intersections of environment, mobilities, and infrastructures in contemporary South Asia. She is a Contributing Editor for South Asia at Borderlines.

Borderlines is a student-run, open-access site mentored by the editors of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (CSSAAME). It seeks to rethink ideas of region and area studies by exploring different categories and histories within and across borderlines that have constructed areas of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

Antara and Olga also interview Saronik about High Theory in this episode, about its origins and the work that it does. Find the full transcript of the episode at Borderlines.

Image: “Binoculars” © 2021 Saronik Bosu

Music used in promotional material: ‘Early Rising’ by Dlay

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Diaspora with Diasporastan

In our second crossover episode, Saronik talks to Maryyum Mehmood and Aditya Desai, the hosts of Diasporastan, a podcast for discussions on the South Asian diaspora, both as topic and lens through which to view the world. They talk about the podcast, and what the word ‘diaspora’ has meant to them in identitarian and generative capacities.

Maryyum is a socio-political analyst, cultural commentator and community cohesion expert. Along with her interfaith work, she teaches in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham.

Aditya is a writer, teacher, and activist in Baltimore. His stories and essays have appeared in in B O D Y, Barrelhouse Magazine, The Rumpus, The Millions, The Margins, District Lit, The Kartika Review, The Aerogram, and others.

Image: The logo of Diasporastan, created by Nirja Desai (@kalakar on Instagram)

Music used in promotional material: ‘The Beginning or the End’ by Nicholas Mackin

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Decolonization

Kim speaks with Jini Kim Watson about decolonization.

In the episode she quotes John Kelly and Martha Kaplan’s book Represented Communities: Fiji and World Decolonization, University of Chicago Press, 2001. She also references Odd Arne Westad’s book The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times, Cambridge UP: 2005; Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o, Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Culture, Currey, 1986; Lorenzo Veracini’s work on settler colonialism and decolonization; and Patrick Wolfe’s argument that invasion and colonialism is not an event, but a structure.

To learn more about the “opening” at the moment of decolonization after WW2; she suggests you consult Gary Wilder, Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World, Duke UP, 2015.

Jini teaches in the English Department at NYU. Her book on decolonization in the Cold War, Cold War Reckonings: Authoritarianism and the Genres of Decolonization is forthcoming from Fordham University Press.

This week’s image is a 1942 proposed map for a New World Order.

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