2 December 2013

Wagging the dog: the use and abuse of science in marine conservation

Abstract:  In this talk I examine three important questions about conservation using sea turtles in Orissa, India as a case study:

(a)   Does biology inform the conservation of these species?

(b)   How have sea turtles been used as flagships of conservation? and

(c)    How have various conservation actors engaged with science and used it to promote conservation of sea turtles?

Olive ridley sea turtles nest en masse at a few sites in the world, including Pacific Central America, and Orissa on the east coast of India.  More than a hundred thousand turtles nest at these beaches each year, but several tens of thousands are also killed in mechanised fisheries, while habitats are degraded by coastal development.  Alongside the various threats that have affected this population over the past three decades, there has been a slew of research and a suite of conservation responses and actions.

As background, I trace the history of conflict in Orissa, and provide a contemporary socio-ecological view of the conflict between sea turtles and fishing communities. In order to examine the first question, I document the conservation biological research in Orissa over the last three decades and compare this to the threats to examine if and how the research assists conservation and management. Second, I examine how biologists and conservationists have used marine turtles as flagships or icons of marine conservation. Finally, I dissect the conservation actors – including the State, international organisations such as IUCN, Greenpeace and WWF, and several national and local conservation groups –  in the state to examine how they have used science to promote the conservation of sea turtles. Here, I will ask: do all the players (the state, conservationists, corporations, academics, fishers) intentionally or institutionally continue to pursue agendas and strategies that are geared to helping themselves regardless of what the science says and whether it helps conservation in the long run?

About the presenter: Kartik Shanker is Faculty at the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.  He works on the community ecology and biogeography of various taxa, including marine invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds, in both terrestrial and marine systems. He also works on the biology and conservation of sea turtles including olive ridley turtles in Orissa, leatherback turtles in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and green turtles in the Lakshadweep Islands. He is the Founding Editor of the Indian Ocean Turtle Newsletter and Current Conservation, and Editor of Conservation and Society. He is a Founding Trustee of Dakshin Foundation, which aims to inform and advocate conservation and natural resource management through inter-disciplinary research and action.


25 September 2013

Independent and Alternative: Key Issues and Debates in Documentary Filmmaking in China and India

This discussion features two scholars of Indian documentaries and two scholars of Chinese documentaries. In the form of brief individual presentations, conversations between presenters, and Q & A with audience, the forum aims to establish some key points of connection, similarities and differences in the area of documentary filmmaking in China and India. Issues to be discussed range from the state intervention and regulation of documentary filmmaking, censorship, the political economy of production and reception, relations with mainstream culture, and the circulation of documentaries in transnational intellectual and cultural circuits.

About the speakers

Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayasankar are Professors at the  School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Monteiro has a Masters degree in Economics and a Ph.D. in Sociology. Jayasankar has an M.A. in German Studies and a Ph.D. in Humanities and Social Sciences. Both of them are involved in media production, teaching and research. .  A presiding thematic of much of their work has been a problematising of notions of self and the other, of normality and deviance, of the local and the global, through the exploration of diverse narratives and rituals. Jointly they have won thirty national and international awards for their films. Their most recent  award is the Basil Wright Prize for So Heddan So Hoddan  (Like Here Like There) at the 13th RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film 2013.  An adaptation of their film ‘Saacha‘ (The Loom) is a part of the exhibition ‘Project Space: Word. Sound. Power.‘  currently showing at the Tate Modern, London. They have several papers in the area of media and cultural studies. They also serve as visiting faculty to several institutions in India and abroad and are currently at the University of Technology, Sydney as an ICCR visiting professor/Key Technology Partner fellow, for a semester.

Ying Qian is a post-doctoral fellow at the Australian Centre on China in the World, the Australian National University.  Her research interests include modern Chinese cultural and social history, cinema, visual art and image ethics, and historiography and memories of China’s revolutions and socialism.  Ying received her doctoral degree from Harvard University in Chinese history with a secondary field in Film and Visual Studies, and has published extensively on Chinese cinema, visual art and cultural politics, including a survey of contemporary independent Chinese documentary cinema entitled “Power in the Frame” in New Left Review, and articles in Oxford Handbook of Chinese Cinemas and China Heritage Quarterly.  Presently she is completing a book manuscript on documentary cinema in China’s socialist period, while beginning a new research project on histories of cinema and experience in China’s multi-lingual and multi-ethnic border regions from the 1930s to the present.  Besides academic research, she is also a film critic, programmer and practitioner herself.  Her film criticism has appeared in Chinese, English and Czech language newspapers and journals, and her own documentary and short films have been exhibited and broadcasted in a number of countries.  Having served for three years as the founding co-curator for Emergent Visions, a film program showcasing independent Chinese documentary cinema based at the Fairbank Centre for Chinese Studies, Harvard University, she has upon arriving in Australia co-founded Asia and the Pacific Screens (APS), a monthly film program at the ANU, showcasing thoughtful, provocative and socially engaged cinema from Asia and the Pacific.

Wanning Sun is Professor of Chinese Media and Cultural Studies at China Research Centre, UTS.  Wanning was Visiting Professor at Asian and Asian American Studies Program at State University of New York from 2005 to 2006. Wanning researches and supervises research students in a number of areas, including Chinese media and cultural studies, gender, migration, and social change in contemporary China, and diasporic Chinese media. Wanning is the author of two single-authored monographs Leaving China: Media, Migration, and Transnational Imagination (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), and Maid in China: Media, Morality and the Cultural Politics of Boundaries (Routledge, 2009). Wanning is currently completing a monograph on the media and cultural practices of China’s rural migrant workers. She has undertaken longitudinal ethnographic research on NGO-sponsored media activism through video-making and rural migrant activists as documentary filmmakers.


13 August 2013

Public Lecture – Climate Change, Capitalism and Double Consciousness with Professor Dipesh Chakrabarty

Professor Chakrabarty’s lecture will focus on some areas of cognitive dissonance that arise when we seek to bring together our concerns about global warming and our unavoidable investment in the idea of development as freedom.

About Professor Chakrabarty: Professor Dipesh Chakrabarty is the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor at the Department of History and Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations and a Faculty Fellow at the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory, The University of Chicago.


20 September 2012

Keynote by Visiting Professor Akeel Bilgrami from Columbia University, US:

Secularism: Genealogical and Definitional Issues

The lecture will characterize secularism after some historical observations, with a focus on Islam and on India.


31 July 2012

Professor Dipesh Chakrabarty (University of Chicago, US)

Faith and Bad Faith in Public Life: Some Thoughts from India

Abstract: Faith, variously understood, occupied a large space in Indian public life in the colonial period while post-colonial India has been marked increasingly by secular and calculative use of religion in the interest of partisan electoral politics. The lecture examines the contrast to see if the Indian experience with faith in public life holds any global relevance today.


16 August 2011

Dipesh Chakrabarty

Misunderstanding and Cosmopolitanism

Can unintended or strategic misunderstanding enable cosmopolitan practices? This lecture will speculate on this question using some examples from colonial India.


2 August 2011

Professor David Hardiman (University of Warwick):

‘On writing a global history of nonviolent resistance’

‘People power’ that involves predominantly nonviolent protest against authoritarian regimes has become a major force in the modern world.  Political theorists such as John Rawls have seen it as a major force for democracy in our times.   It asserts the moral right of the unarmed masses to self-determination against the violence of the elite few who wield power.   This nonviolence was not always the case in mass protest, for in the past the so-called ‘mob’ was seen generally as an unruly, violent, and backward-looking force.   My project seeks to understand how this very important change has come about.

In this paper, I shall say something about how this history has been written in recent years – largely by political strategists and theorists whose grasp on historical method is often poor.  I look at the way that such a form of protest emerged historically from dialogues between Christian pacifists and radical politicians, as well as nationalists, in the nineteenth century, and the emergence of the notion of ‘passive resistance’.    I shall then see how Gandhi transformed this into his own ‘satyagraha’, which he came to translate for a global audience as ‘nonviolent resistance’ (a new concept in the English language), and to see how Gandhi created a particular form for this which involved not only protest, but training and social construction.   After Gandhi, the method was taken up by civil rights campaigners in the USA and in time modified into what became known as ‘strategic nonviolence’.  This lacked the moralistic dimension found with Gandhi and many Christian pacifists.   Finally, I shall say something about the feminist critique of such resistance, and the forging of a method based on ‘the ethic of care’.


9 June 2011

Anatol Lieven (King’s College London):

‘How Pakistan works’

Professor Lieven will discuss some of the theses of his new book ‘Pakistan: A Hard Country’

His presentation will be followed by responses from Ian Bedford (Macquarie University) and Adeel Khan (University of New England). There will also be time for extended discussion accompanied by lunch.

Professor Anatol Lieven is Chair of international relations and terrorism studies in the War Studies Department at King’s College London., and a senior fellow of the New America Foundation in Washington DC. His areas of expertise include Islamist terrorism and insurgency; contemporary warfare; US and Western strategy; the countries of the former Soviet Union; and the Greater Middle East, especially Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.  His latest book, Pakistan: A Hard Country was published in April 2011.


28 March 2011

Ravi Sundaram
Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi

‘The secret and the transparent digital media and everyday life in India’

Abstract: Recent technological interventions in India like the biometric ID schemes have little parallel in any postcolonial society, dwarfing many such schemes worldwide in their ambition. The new technological initiatives in the city have tapped into an information populism that cuts across activists, judges, elite managers and liberal modernizers. Transparency, once associated in urban debates with modernist discussions on surface (glass, steel), has now emerged in public discourse ethical filter through which infrastructure is made visible. At the same time, information seeks to leak constantly, from states, corporations, and everyday life, as if without limits.

This presentation uses infrastructure as a site to reflect on the relationship between fuzzy boundaries between ‘media’ and ‘life’, where transparency through media technologies seems to vitalize both modernizing schemes as well as new stories of empowerment.


7 September 2010

Kavita Philip
UC Irvine

‘Stinking Hot: Technoscience, Development, Postcolonialism’

Abstract: The revolution in information and communications technologies appears to have rendered obsolete many fundamental assumptions in Development Studies, Modernization theory, and various modes of “Third World” studies. But is the new world really a rupture with the old, in terms of social science and humanities heuristics? This paper explores continuities and ruptures in theories of development and culture, using examples from contemporary India.

Kavita Philip is author of Civilizing Natures (2003 and 2004), and co-editor of the volumes Constructing Human Rights in the Age of Globalization (with Monshipouri, Englehart, and Nathan, 2003), Multiple Contentions (with Skotnes, 2003), Homeland Securities (with Reilly and Serlin, 2005), and Tactical Biopolitics (with da Costa, 2008). Her research interests are in transnational histories of science and technology; feminist technocultures; gender, race, globalization and postcolonialism; environmental history; and new media theory. Her work in progress includes a monograph entitled Proper Knowledge, and a co-authored book with Terry Harpold entitled Going Native: Cyberculture and Postcolonialism.


18 August 2010

Prof Dipesh Chakrabarty
University of Chicago/ANU

Can Global Climate Change Change History?

This lecture will use as its point of departure the different and often opposed views of the human that lie embedded in the literature on globalization and global warming. It will also review some aspects of contemporary debates around climate-change policy and climate justice to explore how this human-induced crisis of planetary proportions challenges our conceptions of human agency in history and how it requires us to revise our strategies for telling the story of human civilization.


9 June 2010

Prof Natalie Stoianoff

Director of the Master of Industrial Property Program, Faculty of Law, UTS

Traditional Knowledge Protection in India:
The Significance of Intellectual Property Laws andThe Biological Diversity Act 2002.

Click here for the lecture abstract and Professor Stoianoff’s biographical details.


24 February 2010

Amina Wadud
Visiting Professor at the University of Melbourne

“Islam and Gender Reform”

Please click here for the lecture abstract and biographical information on Amina Wadud.


1 September 2009 Shamsie Kamila credit Mark Pringle

Kamila Shamsie
Novelist from Pakistan

“The Fictions of History”

Lecture followed by a reading.

Please click here for the lecture abstract and biographical information on Kamila.


18 August 2009

Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago/ANU

“Once Colonial, Now Global: India’s Engagement with the West”

Click here for more information on Dipesh Chakrabarty and on his lecture.UTS logo

3 Responses to “Public Lectures”

  1. Naazli Asgar Says:

    Please notify me of events and public lectures
    Thank you


  2. [...] click here for the lecture abstract and biographical information about Kavita [...]

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