UCL Anthropology


CIVILISATION & ITS CRITIQUES - Horizons of History: Framing Religion and Politics in India and Beyond

14 November 2014, 2:00 pm–5:00 pm

Horizons of History Poster

Event Information

Open to



UCL Anthropology, 14 Taviton Street, London, WC1H 0BW

a workshop with Wendy Doniger on the politics of the longue durée and other temporal frames.

UCL Friday November 14th 2014
Department of Anthropology, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW
2 to 5pm, with a reception from 5 to 6pm


Wendy Doniger's lecture on 13th November will examine different 'civilization[al]' possibilities that have co-existed in India since the 6th century BCE. The lecture proposes an encounter between this longue durée and the short durée of a new Hinduism that imagines itself to be ageless. The accepted response up until now has been to describe these encounters as the difference between history and historicity or historical consciousness.

We are used to thinking about the politics of spatial framings and historiographical metaphors (short-term and long-term histories; 'micro' versus 'oceanic'), but what about temporal horizons? We are all aware of the dangers of 'foundational' approaches. Yet how might we reconcile them with arguments (such as that of Dipesh Chakrabarty) about 'geological' time in relation to narratives of human intervention in climate change and the predicament of species survival?

Such wide horizons also raise the question of what is sometimes called the 'ontological turn': how can 'local' histories be reconciled with the wider frame of longer term histories? What are the modalities through which the political claims of short and longue dureés can be best evaluated?

The workshop will pursue these issues through the interventions of an invited group of panellists including:

  • C.A. Bayly (Cambridge)
  • Jo Cook (UCL)
  • Faisal Devji (Oxford)
  • Kevin Fogg (Oxford)
  • Dave Rampton (LSE)
  • Nira Wickramasinghe (Leiden)