April 29, 2013

The Honorable Homi K. Bhabha

Living Side by Side: On Culture and Security

  • 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 Annual 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.

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