The 2nd Annual Postcolonial Higher Education Conference

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Second Annual

Habib University Conference on Postcolonial Higher Education October 25, 2014 Habib University Auditorium


About the cover The 'post-colonial' implicitly gestures towards the 'pre-colonial.' The knowledges of our past are, in particular, crucially at stake in the question of the postcolonial – for even though they may have 'passed,' they have not passed without a trace. What is to be done with the traces of our inheritance? This intense miniature depicting an elderly Mughal-era scholar-scribe, gestures towards this question that resonates throughout the postcolonial world today, but especially across its Muslim districts. Cover illustration: A Scribe, attributed to Payag, Mughal, circa 1630, 10.5 x 7 cm (entire page 31.9 x 23.1 cm), Private Collection.


You are cordially invited to the Second Annual Habib University Conference on Postcolonial Higher Education Date: Timing: Venue:

October 25, 2014 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Habib University Auditorium

To register: www.habib.edu.pk/phec RSVP Misbah Jawed Email: misbah.jawed@huf.org.pk Phone No.: +92 21 38797082


About the Conference The developmentalist imperative that emerged as the charter of anti-colonial nationalism variably limited the vision of postcolonial education that was instituted by national states in the wake of decolonization. In particular, what in German is called the Geisteswissenschaften – the ‘sciences of the spirit’, i.e., the knowledges of the humanities and social sciences – were given an even lower priority than is their general fate in technocratically advanced capitalist societies. This is because these knowledges bear an intrinsic relation to local contexts, cultures, histories and languages, which in postcolonial societies were intrinsically thought to be anachronistic and an impediment to modernization and national advancement on the global stage of development. This had an impact on the hard sciences themselves, since the latter intrinsically depend on the ‘soft sciences’ for the considered determination of their goals and character. In South Asia, the marginalization of the Geisteswissenschaften is particularly marked in Pakistan, for instance, where the model of development adopted under the neo-colonial tutelage of the United States was even more narrowly focused on the paradigm of economic development. The results are glaringly obvious. Even as national- and world-historical crises gather apace, we are increasingly lacking in the specific moral and intellectual resources that would enable us to forcefully engage with them. Developments within the domain of ‘religion’ – which is being rapidly evacuated of its critical ethical and intellectual content – are only the most obvious example of this process of moral and intellectual erosion and privation. This example also shows that the regnant paradigm of education in the West (where the Geisteswissenschaften are themselves under


unprecedented attack from the forces of technocratic neoliberalism) may itself be lacking in the specific cognitive and intellectual resources required at the present conjuncture. The Habib University Conference on Postcolonial Higher Education will invite global scholars, thinkers, activists and writers to reflect on the crisis, direction and goals of higher education at the present conjuncture.

Dr. Nauman Naqvi

Acting Dean & Founding Faculty School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Habib University


Conference Keynote Speaker Prof. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is one of the world’s foremost postcolonial and feminist thinkers. Born to a feminist mother and a gender-neutral father, Professor Spivak is University Professor at Columbia University, the first woman of color to receive this highest award. This is not to be confused with the rank of full professor, which she attained at the University of Iowa in 1975. She is deeply involved in feminism across the spectrum and beyond a single issue. Her latest books include Other Asias and An Aesthetic Education in An Era of Globalization. She won the 2012 Kyoto laureate in Art and Philosophy, and was awarded the prestigious Padma Bhushan in 2013. She also trains teachers and guides ecological agriculture in western Birbhum district, West Bengal, India. Some of her more current projects are consortial initiatives, continental Africa; Himalayan studies initiatives, Kathmandu-Kolkata-Kunming; thinking globality together, French, India and Senegambia; re-translating Of Grammatology; and finishing a book on W. E. B. Du Bois. Her book Readings is forthcoming from Seagull Press in Kolkata. She is a member of the Council on Values of the World Economic Forum.

Conference Chair Dr. Nauman Naqvi is Acting Dean of the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Founding Faculty at Habib University. He received his PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University, though his thought and work are interdisciplinary – ranging across anthropology, history, literature and philosophy. His recent publications include “Acts of Askesis, Scenes of Poesis: The Dramatic Phenomenology of Another Violence in a Muslim Painter-Poet,” Diacritics: A Review Journal of Criticism and Theory (2012), and “Profession on the Cusp of Saturn’s House: Weighing the Wager & Wages of the Time of a Postcolonial-Historical Pedagogy (or, Teaching History at the Limit of Time),” Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies (2013).


Conference Speakers Dr. Nadeem Omar Tarar is the Director of the National College of Arts, Rawalpindi Campus. He holds a PhD in Art History and Theory from the University of New South Wales and has also been affiliated with the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, as a Post-doctoral Researcher, and with MIT as a Post-doctoral Fellow. He is author of Anthropology in Pakistan: the State of Discipline in State of Social Sciences in Pakistan, and has also been published in Economic and Political Weekly, International Journal of Art and Design Education, and the Journal of Germanic Mythology and Folklore. His areas of research include colonial and post-colonial art/education, and the history of books in South Asia. His current interests include research on the sociology of indigenous and colonial knowledge in Pakistan. Dr. Nukhbah Langah recieved her PhD from the University of Leeds, UK, and returned to Pakistan in 2009. Her area of interest is postcolonial literatures with an emphasis on Siraiki language and literature. Her research interests broadly include postcolonial theory, translation studies, resistance poetry, and ethnic literatures from South Asia. She has published various articles and poetry translations in international journals. Her forthcoming book is titled Poetry as Resistance: Islam & Ethnicity in Postcolonial Pakistan (Routledge 2011). She is currently an Associate Professor and Chairperson at the Department of English at Forman Christian College University.


Dr. Syed Nomanul Haq is a historian, noted especially for his contributions to the fields of Islamic history, Islamic philosophy, and literature in Muslim societies. He has been a senior faculty member of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), and has now joined IBA Karachi as Professor and Advisor to steer its Social Sciences and Liberal Arts initiative. He has also held faculty positions at Tufts, Brown, and Rutgers, and is a member and advisor of several international academic bodies and institutions. His book Names, Natures, and Things – a work on the history of alchemy – has already appeared in two editions, published by Kluwer of the Netherlands. He is general editor of the book series Studies in Islamic Philosophy, published by the Oxford University Press, and is co-editor of a work on the science-religion dialogue, God, Life, and the Cosmos. Professor Haq has also been published in numerous periodicals and has contributed to several encyclopaedias. Dr. Haq studied physics as an undergraduate at Hull University, and then, at University College London, the history of philosophy and of science as well as Islamic studies. At the doctoral level, he went as a London University transfer student to Harvard, where he did his graduate work in the history of Arabic science, and Near Eastern languages and civilizations. Prof. Vibodh Parthasarathi trained in Development Studies at the Institute of Social Studies (The Hague), in Mass Communication at Jamia Millia Islamia (New Delhi), and has an undergraduate degree in History from St. Stephens College, Delhi University. Parthasarathi’s research explores the transnational history of the music industry; the Indian communication industry under globalisation; comparative media policy; and environmental movements and communication practices. He also maintains an interest in the political economy of communication and comparative media practice. He has co-edited three anthologies on Communication Processes published by Sage: Media and Mediation (2005), The Social and the Symbolic (2007), Culture and Confrontation (in press). As the International Coordinator of a research/publishing project on ‘Citizenship and Communication’, involving scholars from Brazil, France & India, he was also the co-editor of the anthology L’idiot du Village Mondial (Editions Luc Pire, Brussels, 2004).


Dr. Nasir Abbas Nayyar teaches Urdu at Punjab University, Oriental College Lahore. Dr. Nayyar’s research interests include modern and postmodern literary theory, linguistics, modern Urdu literature and postcolonialism. He has published over a dozen books in Urdu. He is the author of the first book on the postcolonial study of Urdu language and literature, published by the Oxford University Press, Karachi.


Habib University: A Preeminent Institution of Higher Learning Habib University is a unique liberal arts and sciences university that offers interdisciplinary education in science, engineering, arts, humanities and the social sciences. It was established in Karachi under the patronage of the House of Habib. Committed to providing the highest standards of excellence in higher learning, the University has formal partnerships with several leading international institutions. It commenced classes on August 25th, 2014. A first-of-its-kind learning space, Habib University is dedicated to enriching individual lives and engaging society through teaching, research and service. Its mission is to educate promising students from all backgrounds and enable them to become excellent professionals, as well as caring and critically-conscious members of society. It also wishes to engage outstanding academics to work with the University, and enrich the minds and lives of our students, promoting creativity, academic freedom and the exchange of ideas in an intellectually stimulating environment of mutual respect and collaboration.


The campus is located in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Block 18. It is a part of Faisal Cantonment and is surrounded by Civil Aviation areas, including the Airport. Both the Cantonment and the Civil Aviation areas are highly secured and protected.


Habib University: Block 18, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, University Avenue, Off Shahrah-e-Faisal, Karachi. habib.edu.pk

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+92 21 38797082


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