Gravensteen Lectures (GI-AMT Collaboration)

The Gravensteen Lectures hosts leading international scholars at the forefront of thinking through historic, contemporary, and emergent transcultural and international connections and their impacts. First Fridays, Gravensteen, 3:00-5:00pm.

This series features leading international scholars who lecture on key issues and ideas that our shape our understandings of ‘the global’ and ‘modernity’, both in their contemporary and historical forms. The series seeks to explore perspectives that forefront the dynamics of interconnection and rupture at various scales. It will provide a platform for the discussion and debate of various intersections and the key formations (capitalism, urbanization, democracy, disaster, social movements, etc.) and experiences (mobility and immobility, violence and suffering, inclusion and exclusion, etc.) they produce and enable. 

Organized by GI
Co-sponsored by GI & AMT

Lecture Information

Each lecturer will speak for 45-60 minutes, and a Leiden faculty member will be invited to give a first response.

Lectures will be tailored to a broad, multi-disciplinary audience. Discussion and debate are encouraged. All members of the Leiden community are welcome.

The Lectures will generally take place on the first Fridays of each month from 3:00-5:00pm at the Gravensteen, rm 11 (map). *Please note exceptions on the schedule.

Lecture titles and abstracts will be posted to the LGI and AMT websites and newsletters, along with brief speaker bios. If you would like to receive these updates, please subscribe the the GI or AMT mailing list.

To recommend a speaker for this series, please click here .

2016-2017 Program

Friday September 9, 2016
Laleh Khalili (Professor of Middle East Politics, SOAS)

Wednesday October 12, 2016
Manuela Carneiro da Cunha (Professor of Anthropology, Universidade de São Paulo)

Friday November 4, 2016

Thursday December 1, 2016 - Special LUCIS-Gravensteen Lecture
Wen-Ching Ouyang (Arabic and Comparative Literature, SOAS)

Friday February 3, 2017
Akeel Bilgrami (Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University)

Friday March 3, 2017
Simon Gikandi (Robert Schirmer Professor of English, Princeton University) TO BE CONFIRMED

Friday March 31, 2017
Walter Scheidel (Dickason Professor in the Humanities/Professor of Classics and History, Stanford University)

Friday May 12, 2017
Lisa Lowe (Distinguished Professor of English/Director of Center for the Humanities, Tufts University)

Friday June 9, 2017
Tim Barringer (Paul Mellon Professor of the History of Art, Yale University)

2015-2016 Program

Friday October 30, 2015** DATE & ROOM CHANGE 
Sally Engle Merry (Anthropology, Law & Society, NYU)
Gravensteen Rm 1.11

Firday December 4, 2015
Ann Stoler (Anthropology and History, New School for Social Research) - CANCELED, rescheduled for GLASS

Friday, December 11, 2015** SPEAKER, DATE & ROOM CHANGE
Anthony Alessandrini (English, CUNY)

Friday, February 5, 2016
Robin Derby (History, UCLA)

Friday April 1, 2016
Carl Nightingale (Transnational and American Studies, State University of New York Buffalo)

Friday May 13, 2016
Finbarr Barry Flood (Humanities and Fine Arts, NYU) - CANCELLED

Friday June 3, 2016
Lydia Liu (East Asian Languages and Cultures/Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University)

2014-2015 Program

Friday September 5
David Nirenberg (History, University of Chicago)

Friday, October 31 
Sebastian Conrad (History, Freie University Berlin)

Friday, February 6
John Sidel (Government and International Relations, London School of Economics)

Friday, March 6
Vivek Chibber (Sociology, New York University)

Friday, May 8
Lynn Meskell (Anthropology/Archaeology, Stanford University)

Friday, June 5
Filip de Boeck (Anthropology, KU Leuven)

2013-2014 Program

Kick-off of the Gravensteen Lectures.

*FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27th (room 1.11)
Asef Bayat (Professor of Global and Transnational Studies and Professor of Sociology and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Illinois)
Anomalies of the Arab Revolutions
Arab Revolutions have come to surprise many observers in terms of their unexpected occurrence; the role/absence of Islam in them ; and the trajectories of their post-revolution transition. How can we explain these unexpected mass uprisings? What are the peculiarities of Arab revolutions when compared with the 20th Century counterparts? And why they assumed their particular characteristics and tortured trajectories that they have so far. The lecture attempts to address some of these key questions.

Peer Vries (Professor of Economic and Social History, University of Wien)
Escaping Poverty: The Origins of Modern Economic Growth
The lecture deals with the question what up until now economists, historians and other social scientists have said about the emergence of modern economic growth in certain parts of the world (roughly 'the West') and about the ensuing Great Divergence between rich and poor countries. I will present my own position in this everlasting but very fascinating debate focusing on the active role of the state in promoting and hampering economic growth and development. In contrast to what mainstream economists claim time and again, in those countries that took off, government always did far more than just creating a level playing field for economic agents. Countries that developed tended to have developmental states. There are, however, no quick fixes or one-size-fits-all political or institutional solutions. Outcomes always depend on circumstances.

Frederick Cooper (Professor of History, New York University)
Beyond Empire: France and French Africa in the Post-World War II Context
Empires have come and gone throughout world history, but the situation after World War II was different. New claimants to imperial power and new forms of empire had come onto the scene in the twentieth century, but as the war came to an end the very category of empire as a legitimate form of polity was in question. Nevertheless, the story of French Africa in the post-war years does not fit well into a narrative of global history as a long and inexorable transition from empires to nation-states. My talk examines the way political leaders from France and French West Africa perceived the alternatives to empire in the context of their time. It asks a question that would not even be posed if one assumed the standard narrative of nationalism: how did French and African political actors end up in 1960 with a form of the state that few of them had wanted in 1945?

Jan Nijman (Professor of Urban Studies, University of Amsterdam)
India's Urban Future
About 32 percent of the Indian population presently lives in cities and the national and state governments are intent on increasing that number. Urbanization is considered integral to modernization and progress, as has been the past experience of most of the developed world today. But India’s urbanization rate is actually slow and the economic structure and labor market of major Indian cities is quite different from those in the West (then or now). Urban slums have expanded and slum populations have increased, in absolute and relative terms, despite successive policies aimed at slum eradication or rehabilitation. It may well be that slums are and will remain a structural presence in modern Indian cities. The lecture consists of two parts. The first posits a general argument about urbanization in India at large. The second examines the persistence of India’s urban slums and explores the mindset of slum dwellers. Based on extensive surveys, this paper reports on views and perceptions from inside Dharavi, Mumbai, on environmental issues, matter of work and livelihoods, and community. The findings underline how the very definition of ‘the slum’ is inherently a matter of contestation.

Sylvia Yanagisako (Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Stanford University)
From ‘Made in Italy’ to Made in Translation: Italian-Chinese Ventures in Transnational Capitalism
Ethnographic research on collaborations between Chinese and Italian textile and clothing manufacturers reveals how the entrepreneurs and managers engaged in these transnational business ventures are themselves being refashioned along with the commodities they produce. The formulation of entrepreneurial strategies and managerial practices in overseas production sites offer rich material for a re-examination of key analytic concepts in the study of capitalism, including labor power and value, affective labor, and the fetishism of commodities. Professor Yanagisako’s lecture explores these topics by drawing on her earlier research on Italian family firms in the silk industry of northern Italy and her research in the last decade on the manufacture and sale of “Made in Italy” clothing in China.

Donna Gabaccia (Professor of History, University of Minnesota)
Beyond the Feminization of Migration: Cross Disciplinary Perspectives
Half of all international migrants today are women and girls. Is that a problem? While social scientists attribute to the feminization of migrations to the disruptive globalization of the late twentieth century, global migrations were already gender balanced in 1960. Migrant gender composition at the regional and global scales has swung about several times over the past 400 years and many types of gender relations have been mobilized to explain variations in the relatives numbers of male and female migrants. Using historical perspective, empirical data on forced and free migrations, quantitative methods and insights from gender and cultural studies on how knowledge is created, the lecture will compare the gender composition of early modern slave trades, the proletarian mass migrations and the refugee and labor migrations of the twentieth century. Global convergence toward heavily male migrations began already in the eighteenth century and feminization already at the begin of the twentieth century. Restrictions on migration, policy preferences, the normal aging of earlier waves of migrants and a global economic shift toward light industry and care work can all help us to understand twentieth century feminization. While the discovery of the feminization of migration has often provoked a sense of moral panic among both advocates and critics of immigrants, gender-balanced migrations are not themselves problematic. The impact of the feminization of migration on both sending and receiving societies has been quite modest.

Christophe Jaffrelot (Professor of Indian Politics and Sociology, Kings College, London / Research Director, CNRS)
The Rise of the BJP
The 16th general elections are bound to see the rise of the BJP which will register an unprecedented large number of valid votes and - probably - seats. This achievement is partly due to the personality of Narendra Modi but it has also something to do with the new political culture of the Indian middle class, the communal polarization of Northern and Western India and the decline of the Congress.  The impact of the rise of BJP on the Indian democracy will depend on the scale of its electoral victory and the attitude of its coalition partners.

Last Modified: 28-11-2017