The Limits of Global Thought: Western Social and Human Sciences on Trial

Professor Kian Tajbakhsh

Moderated by Professor Richard W. Bulliet

September 22, 2016 · 12-1PM

Columbia University, Fayerweather Hall, Room 411

The Committee on Global Thought (CGT) Lunchtime Seminars are a forum for Columbia University faculty and visiting scholars to discuss current research characterizing and assessing issues of global importance. Open to Columbia affiliates only. No registration is required. Light lunch will be available.

About the speaker

Kian Tajbakhsh is Visiting Professor of Urban Planning at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP). He has taught at both American and Iranian universities. Tajbakhsh’s academic research spans both theoretical and policy projects related to the culture of urbanism as well as the governance of cities and metropolitan regions. He has conducted empirical research on decentralization, the role of social capital in local government performance, and local economic development in a number of countries.

He is the author of two books, The Promise of the City: Space, Identity and Politics in Contemporary Social Thought (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press 2001), and Social Capital: Trust, Democracy and Development (Tehran: Shiraze Publishers 2005, in Persian). He co-edited the book City Diplomacy: The role of local governments in conflict prevention, peace-building, post-conflict reconstruction (Arne Munsch, 2008 The Hague). Tajbakhsh has also published scholarly articles, as well as essays on cinema and culture in Iran and India.

Tajbakhsh is an international expert in the areas of local government reform, urban planning, civil society capacity building and international public policy research collaboration. He has also directed international projects in the areas of public health and social policy. Tajbakhsh’s policy-related research and consulting has examined decentralization and local government institutions in Iran and other developing societies with a focus on increasing the legitimacy of local political institutions and the effectiveness of local participation.

Read more about the CGT Lunchtime Seminars.

Fall 2016 Schedule

Below is the schedule for Fall 2016. The seminar takes place on Thursdays from 12-1pm in Fayerweather Hall, Room 411 unless otherwise noted. Please check back for updates to the schedule.

September 22

Kian Tajbakhsh on "The Limits of Global Thought: Western Social and Human Sciences on Trial"

October 6

Joseph R. Slaughter on "Hijacking Human Rights: Neoliberalism and the End of the Third World"

October 27

Brian Larkin on "Generators, Electricity and the Infrastructural Life of Cities"

November 11 (Fri. in 301M Fayerweather)

Rosalind Morris on "Movement without Mobility, Settlement without Belonging: A Proposal for Theorizing 'Unsettlement' Today"

November 17

Henry Rousso on "The Latest Catastrophe: History, the Present, the Contemporary"

December 1

Vegard Skirbekk on "Global Aging" (title TBD)


The seminar takes place on Thursdays from 12-1PM in Fayerweather Hall, Room 411 (unless otherwise noted). Please check back for updates to the schedule.