Wednesday, April 6, 2016
A two-part conversation with Aishwary Kumar, professor of History at Stanford.
In Part One, they discuss B.R. Ambedkar, the moral and political philosopher
who was in charge of drafting the constitution after India gained independence in 1947.
In Part Two, they review the thought and career of Mohandas Gandhi, and his troubled relations with Ambedkar.
Aishwary Kumar is assistant professor of history at Stanford and works as an intellectual and political historian of modern South Asia.
He works in areas of legal and political thought, political philosophy and democratic culture, religion, caste, and moral psychology, in addition to global histories of empire, constitutionalism, and citizenship.
A parallel set of his interests concerns the formation of Hindi literature, classical rhetoric and conceptual traditions, and philosophy of history.
Most recently, he has examined the relationship between religious conceptions of freedom and the ethics of democratic dissent in the modern nonwest, with an emphasis on the transformation of liberal and theological categories over the last two centuries.
On these, he has recently published his first book, Radical Equality: Ambedkar, Gandhi, and the Risk of Democracy (Stanford University Press, 2015).
He is now completing his second book, A Different Force: Ambedkar's Critique of Violence, on traditions of mystical anarchism and democratic judgment.
In progress also are two related studies on global genealogies of modern political thought and its religious reflexes, especially as they've mediated 19th and 20th-century arguments on secrecy, war, and the minority.