Nationalism, Internationalism, and Cosmopolitanism: Some Observations from Modern Indian History

Watch the videorecording of Partha Chatterjee’s talk, Nationalism, Internationalism, and Cosmopolitanism: Some Observations from Modern Indian History, the 2015-16 Christopher Ondaatje Lecture on South Asian Art, History and Culture. The event took place at the Centre for South Asian Studies at the Asian Institute, Munk School of Global Affairs, on October 1, 2015.

This lecture looked at nationalism, internationalism and cosmopolitanism as an interconnected triad of movements and ideas from the beginning of the 20th century. Armed nationalist revolutionaries in India established connections abroad to seek arms and training. Indian communists joined the Communist International launched by the Soviet Union in order to move the anti-colonial movement in India in the direction of a people’s democratic revolution. Following World War II, with an emerging Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, a space was created at Bandung in 1955 for a new internationalism of the new independent nations, demanding the end of colonial rule and racial discrimination and the formal establishment of equal sovereignty of all nation-states. This lecture argued that despite the recent call for a cosmopolitan global order superseding the nation-state, these historical achievements of nationalism and internationalism cannot be erased.

Partha Chatterjee is Professor of Anthropology and South Asian Studies at Columbia University, New York, and Honorary Professor, Center for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta. Among his many books are Natinalist Thought and the Colonial World (1986), The Nation and Its Fragments (1993), The Politics of the Governed (2004) and The Black Hole of Empire (2012).

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