The Enduring Relevance of Liberal Arts in India: Henry Derozio and the Bengal Renaissance

In 1852, the Indian mathematician Radhanath Sikdar became the first person to accurately measure Mount Everest, known until then as Peak XV, which the British had been trying — and failing — to do for decades. Two years later, Harachandra Ghosh, Sikdar’s friend from college, was elected judge in the Small Causes Court, the first … Continue reading The Enduring Relevance of Liberal Arts in India: Henry Derozio and the Bengal Renaissance

Chomsky and Foucault: justice versus power — Aeon (video on Youtube)

I've had many discussions with both humanists and social scientists on this debate, about who won. I've had them in my own head too. Different people look at this and have fundamental different views about who won. I think it's a classic example of the impossibility of communication when the a priori of their discourse … Continue reading Chomsky and Foucault: justice versus power — Aeon (video on Youtube)

Maximum Profits and Maximum Power: Talking to Zephyr Teachout

Teachout is one of the best public intellectuals out there now, in my opinion. In her focus on political corruption in all its forms and the consolidation of power in corporate behemoths as its root, she what Chompsky was decades ago. It's telling that like him, she barely ever gets heard on the networks. When … Continue reading Maximum Profits and Maximum Power: Talking to Zephyr Teachout

Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?: Addaing with Noam Chomsky and the Illustration of Genius

The beauty of Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy is that Gondry is able to flesh out this Chomsky; though it must also be said that their conversations do talk about his biography and social beliefs. Yet the focus of the film is their conversation about language and how human beings might think, which Gondry illustrates in beautiful, little animation. Though not a linguist, academic, or philosopher, or because he is none of those things, Gondry is able to present a picture of Chomskyan linguistics and philosophy that is clear and subtlety thoughtful.

Arundhati Roy’s “The Greater Common Good” and the Narmada Protests

The case of the Sardar Sarovar dam is an extremely complex one: involving the cost of massive environmental damage, internal displacements (of mostly adivasis, or tribals, dalits, or untouchables, and poor village populations) and the pull of economic development, of “India Shining.” The Sardar Sarovar dam, the largest of 30 dams to be constructed on … Continue reading Arundhati Roy’s “The Greater Common Good” and the Narmada Protests