Venue: Room 1505, 1555 Century Avenue, NYU Shanghai
Date: Monday, August 22, 2016 to Wednesday, August 24, 2016
The Center for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai serves as the hub within the NYU Global Network University system to promote the study of Asian connections and comparisons, both historical and contemporary. The inaugural annual conference of the Center will focus on China’s place in intra-Asian interactions and the issues of conceptualizing, researching, and teaching Asia.
Dr. Amitav Ghosh was at the Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai, from August 10 to September 12, 2016 as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar. During his stay in China, Dr. Ghosh delivered the keynote address for the annual conference of the Center for Global Asia and engaged in various educational activities at NYU Shanghai. He also gave talks on India-China connections in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Kunming, and Shanghai. A detailed schedule of his talks can be found below.
The objective of Dr. Ghosh’s stay in China was to promote the study of intra-Asian interactions, particularly the colonial connections between India and China. He also spoke on his training as a scholar of anthropology, his experiences with historical research, and his contribution to the genre of historical fiction.
Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He studied in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria and is the author of The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, In An Antique Land, Dancing in Cambodia, The Calcutta Chromosome, The Glass Palace, The Hungry Tide, and the Ibis Trilogy (Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke, and Flood of fire). His most recent book is entitled The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable. His books have won prizes in India, Europe and Myanmar and he has received honorary degrees from the Sorbonne, Paris, and Queens College, New York. He divides his time between Brooklyn, Goa and Calcutta.
The extreme nature of today’s climate events, Ghosh asserts, make them peculiarly resistant to contemporary modes of thinking and imagining. This is particularly true of serious literary fiction: hundred-year storms and freakish tornadoes simply feel too improbable for the novel; they are automatically consigned to other genres. In the writing of history, too, the climate crisis has sometimes led to gross simplifications; Ghosh shows that the history of the carbon economy is a tangled global story with many contradictory and counterintuitive elements.
Ghosh ends by suggesting that politics, much like literature, has become a matter of personal moral reckoning rather than an arena of collective action. But to limit fiction and politics to individual moral adventure comes at a great cost. The climate crisis asks us to imagine other forms of human existence—a task to which fiction, Ghosh argues, is the best suited of all cultural forms. His book serves as a great writer’s summons to confront the most urgent task of our time.
To our visitors:
• RSVP may be required for this event. Please check event details
• Visitors will need to present a photo ID at the entrance
• There is no public parking on campus
• Entrance only through the South Lobby (1555 Century Avenue)
• Taxi card
• Metro: Century Avenue Station, Metro Lines 2/4/6/9 Exit 6 in location B
• Bus: Century Avenue at Pudian Road, Bus Lines 169/987