May 5, 2005 – Sanjay Seth: “Western Knowledge and Its Indian Object”

Thursday, May 5 / 4 PM / Oakes Mural Room

Sanjay Seth is Senior Lecturer in Politics at Latrobe University in Melbourne, Australia. He has published widely on political theory, postcoloniality, Indian history and politics, and Marxism. His Marxist Theory and Nationalist Politics: The Case of Colonial India (Sage) appeared in 1995. He is also founding co-editor of the journal Postcolonial Studies. His talk is from his recently completed book manuscript, “Subject to Pedagogy: Western Knowledge and Colonial India.” He writes about his paper, “The episode in question was that of the alleged ‘moral crisis’ of the educated Indian, who, many argued, had been plunged into confusion and moral disarray following his exposure to Western knowledge in the schools and universities established by his British ruler. In the discourse of moral crisis, the knowledge being disseminated through Western education was simultaneously put to use in explaining an unanticipated effect of this education. How adequate was Western knowledge to explaining its own effects? More generally, what is the status of the knowledge we produce when we ‘apply’ the categories of modern Western thought in order to understand or explain India?”