Speaker: Dr. Purushottama Bilimoria (South and Central Asia Regional Travel Grantee)
Date: October 20, 2019 (Sunday)
Time: 4:00 PM
Venue: IACER, Bhimsengola Chowk, Old Baneshwor, Kathmandu
Title: Gandhi, Tagore, Lyotard and Habermas: Fissures between Vocational, Instrumental, Aesthetic and Intellectual Learning and Teaching
The lecture undertakes to tread the tenuous ground between modernity and the post-modern which has reverberated with debate in the second half of the twentieth century when both the theoretical framework and the political hegemony of the Western European tradition began to be challenged. This is achieved basically through an analysis of three issues of comparative concern between three as it were avatars of after-modernity engaged in this critical debate on language and human rights: Gandhi and Tagore (in South Africa/Asia), Lyotard (in France) and Habermas (of the Frankfurt School, Germany); (i) the role of the intellectual in the critique of the project of modernity’s universality; (ii) via the intellectual and intelligentsia, the pragmatics of de-conditioning the ruse of tradition, the sway of the Enlightenment, re-educating ṛta (dharma, morality) and (iii) questioning the excesses of modernity’s handmade culture of technology.
Eager to critique modernity, each protagonist in our inquiry seems to backtrack a little, either as a critical apologist for modernity, albeit unfinished (Habermas), deconstruct and rein in on after-modernity but without an interventionist pragmatics (Lyotard), or mildly dissimulate but actually shame modernity in an anti-Empire challenge (Gandhi). The strands here bespeak differend approaches in each to the question of education, interpreting discourse, its violence, and aesthetics. Yet the project of modernity remains un-‘liquidated’ in as much as the capitalist technoscience and globalization foreclose education in the arts.