The Idea of Alternative Modernities
We are pleased to launch our Master Class ‘The Idea of Alternative Modernities’ today with Professor Akeel Bilgrami on Recasting Political Ideals: A Perspective from the South
This Master Class, which will take place at the Institute for Social Justice in North Sydney from 8 – 12 December, will be co-taught by our Institute Director, Professor Nikolas Kompridis, and our Professorial Fellows, Professor Akeel Bilgrami (Columbia University) and Professor Rajeev Bhargava (CSDS, New Delhi).
The idea of alternative modernities usefully challenges the widespread view that modernity is uniquely and distinctively western, arising around a set of values such as freedom or equality radically different in form and meaning from values available to humanity in the past. It suggests that there are multiple modernities – Asian, Latin American, other non-western, and even other marginalized European modernities – which can offer a moral challenge to an entrenched, mainstream western modernity. Rajeev Bhargav will explore the idea of alternative modernities with reference to Indian religions and secularisms, and to discussions of axiality, in particular, an axial moment in the history of the Indian sub-continent. Akeel Bilgrami will explore whether it make sense to say today that there is a distinct perspective of the South? If so, what conceptual links does it have with dissenting voices in the political and intellectual outlooks of the North —ranging from Marxism and before to post-structuralism and after? Taking this one step further, Nikolas Kompridis will explore the question of whether romanticism represents an alternative (possible) modernity within the west, whose possibilities have been marginalized and misunderstood.