Vikram Visana (University of Leicester) speaks at the Oxford South Asian Intellectual History Seminar on 7 March 2023.
Uncivil Liberalism studies how ideas of liberty from the colonized South claimed universality in the North. Recovering the political thought of Dadabhai Naoroji, India’s pre-eminent liberal, this book focusses on the Grand Old Man’s pre-occupation with social interdependence and civil peace in an age of growing cultural diversity and economic inequality. It shows how Naoroji used political economy to critique British liberalism’s incapacity for civil peace by linking periods of communal rioting in colonial Bombay with the Parsi minority’s economic decline. Innovating an Indian liberalism characterized by labour rights, economic republicanism and social interdependence, Naoroji seeded ‘Western’ thinkers with his ideas as well as influencing numerous ideologies in colonial and post-colonial India. In doing so, the book reframes so-called Indian ‘nationalists’ as global thinkers.
Dr Vikram Visana is Lecturer in Political Theory at the University of Leicester. He was awarded his PhD in the history of Indian Political Thought under the supervision of Chris Bayly at the University of Cambridge in 2016. He has taught at the University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, and the University of Huddersfield, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Global History, Freie Universität Berlin.
Dr. Visana’s research focuses on Indian political thought from the nineteenth century to the present. His book, Uncivil Liberalism: Labour, Capital and Commercial Society in Dadabhai Naoroji’s Political Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2022), is an original and radical reinterpretation of the political thought of Dadabhai Naoroji, and studies how ideas of liberty from the colonised South claimed universality in the North. Dr. Visana has also published on Indian iterations of liberalism, republicanism, sovereignty, peoplehood, populism, and political economy. Ongoing research has articles in preparation for leading political theory journals and edited volumes. These new publications consider contemporary Indian political theory from the mid-20th century to the present with a particular focus on authority, multicultural justice, and majoritarianism in Indian conservative political philosophy and Hindutva.
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