Inaugural Global Thought Lecture

Homi K. Bhabha: Living Side by Side: On Culture and Security

April 29, 2013 · 6:00-8:00PM

Columbia University, Low Memorial Library Rotunda

  • Homi K. Bhabha, Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University
  • Discussant: Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and Co-chair of the Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University

Does the concept of security assume a distinctive cultural form in the midst of deafening patriotic calls for protection and precaution?

In the First Global Thought Lecture, Bhabha used the works of W.E.B. Du Bois, Toni Morrison, Kathleen Battle, artist Zarina Hashmi, and dozens of other thinkers to explore the role of culture and the arts in cultivating an aesthetic of “living side by side” that contributes to our contemporary understanding of “cosmopolitan right”. Bhabha addressed how the partial sovereignties and necessary exclusions of the era of globalization impact one’s sense of self, of belonging and of dispossession. In doing so he argued that many people experience globalization from a quasi-colonial position—neither fully incorporated into modern politics nor excluded from it.

About Homi K. Bhabha

The first Global Thought Lecturer, Homi K. Bhabha is the Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. He is also Director of the Mahindra Humanities Center and Senior Advisor to the President and Provost at Harvard University. He is a leading cultural and literary theorist. His seminal work, The Location of Culture, presents a theory of cultural hybridity to understand the connections between colonialism and globalization. In 2012 he was conferred the Government of India’s Padma Bhushan Presidential Award in the field of literature and education.

About the Global Thought Lecture

The Committee on Global Thought launched its signature Global Thought Lecture in 2013 as a platform to highlight new and innovative global thinking, and as a forum to create and strengthen linkages within the University among scholars with a diversity of disciplinary perspectives. The Global Thought Lecture is designed to feature new or under-represented perspectives on global thinking. Future invited speakers will draw from the fields of culture, humanities, sciences, and law, in addition to the social sciences, which often occupy the forefront of conversations about globalization.

The Global Thought Lecture engages members of the Columbia community, other regional universities and the larger community with scholarship that deepens and expands understandings of global phenomena. This programming includes a dinner with faculty and a breakfast meeting with the Undergraduate Committee, in which students have the opportunity to enhance their understanding of global issues and interdisciplinary interactions by participating in a small discussion with the lecturer.

Click here to read more about the Global Thought Lecture series.

Special thanks extended to the Asia Society, the Heyman Center for the Humanities, the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, the Center for Global Economic Governance (SIPA) and Columbia Journalism School

Photo Gallery

Homi K. Bhabha is the Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, where he is also Director of the Mahindra Humanities Center and Senior Advisor to the President and Provost at Harvard University. He is a leading cultural and literary theorist. His seminal work, The Location of Culture, presents a theory of cultural hybridity to understand the connections between colonialism and globalization. In 2012 he was conferred the Government of India’s Padma Bhushan Presidential Award in the field of literature and education.

Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and Co-Chair of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. Her recent books are Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages (Princeton University Press 2008), A Sociology of Globalization (W.W. Norton 2007), and the 4th fully updated edition of Cities in a World Economy (Sage 2011). She is currently completing Expulsions: When complexity produces elementary brutalities (Harvard University Press forthcoming). Her books are translated into over twenty languages. She has received multiple honors and awards.

Undergraduate Global Thought Breakfast

Homi Bhabha: On Culture and Security

April 30, 2013

Homi Bhabha met with the Undergraduate Committee the morning after his Global Thought Lecture to delve more deeply into globalization and post-colonial identity. Participants used the work of W.E.B. Du Bois, Toni Morrison and Walter Benjamin to discuss notions of agency, sovereignty and representation in an interconnected world, as well as the practical applications of Bhabha’s theories.

The Committee believes that it is essential that the next generation of scholars be exposed to cutting edge work on global issues. In this spirit, the Undergraduate Committee of the Committee on Global Thought meets with the Global Thought lecturer for a student-driven round-table discussion of major themes and practical applications of theory.

Read more about the Undergraduate Committee on Global Thought