International author/historian to speak at UT Nov. 5

November 3, 2014 | Events, UToday, — Languages, Literature and Social Sciences
By Lindsay Mahaney

Known for his hard-hitting journalism and prolific writing, noted historian and author Dr.Vijay Prashad will speak at the English Department’s 25th annual Richard M. Summers Memorial Lecture this week.



Prashad will give a presentation, “Letter From a Wound: The World We Live in Today,” Wednesday, Nov. 5, from 5 to 6:15 p.m. in Libbey Hall. The free, public event will be followed by a reception, where he will sign books.

Prashad is the author of 16 books, including his most recent Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South, in which he analyzes neoliberalism, the World Social Forum, the Latin American revolutionary revival, and alternatives to the neoliberal project.

“Most of the books he has written have been very influential,” said Dr. Parama Sarkar, UT assistant professor of English. “He has given us new ways to think about race and class, both within a U.S. and a global context. Plus, he is a really engaging speaker.”

Sarkar’s graduate seminar, Postcolonialism and the City, has been studying some of Prashad’s work, including his seminal The Karma of Brown Folk. According to Sarkar, it is important to provide adequate historical and social context when studying postcolonial literature, which she believes Prashad’s work does.

Currently, Prashad is working on two books, No Free Left: The Futures of Indian Communism and Dispatches From Greater Arabia, based on his reporting from Arabia in 2003 through 2014.

Prashad also writes for various online and print publications, including British newspaper The Guardian, political magazine Counterpunch and English-language Indian daily newspaper The Hindu. He is also a regular presence on the show “Democracy Now!”

In 2013-14, Prashad was the Edward Said Chair at the American University of Beirut. Currently, he is the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.

“His writing deconstructs a lot of social and cultural myths that we hold dear,” Sarkar said. “He helps us go beyond the surface narrative and question our underlying assumptions about race and class. His incisive analysis might make the reader uncomfortable at times, but, ultimately helps us become critical thinkers.”

The Richard M. Summers Memorial Lecture is an annual event that honors Summers, who was a respected member of the Department of English and served as director of freshman English and as an adviser for both graduate and undergraduate students from 1966 until his death in 1988.

For more information, contact the English Department at 419.530.2318.

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