Distinguished historian, writer, and political theorist, Prathama Banerjee examined the relationship between time, history, and politics and the ways they shape contemporary discourses about the notion of the Global South at Northwestern University in Qatar’s (NU-Q) Dean’s Global Forum.
Banerjee discussed her intellectual trajectory and how it shaped her perspective of the notion of the Global South in a conversation with NU-Q dean and CEO, Marwan M Kraidy.
Kraidy began the conversation by asking Banerjee about her upbringing and political activism and how they would later contribute to shaping her intellectual trajectory and work. “Growing up in the mid to late 1990s in India, we were all immersed in left politics, what we used to call at that time ‘the third left,’ to distinguish ourselves from the communist orthodoxy,” said Banerjee.
Banerjee explained how, early on in her career, when she was engaged in social sciences in local communities in India, she came to understand the intellectual importance of language and history. “We were told the actual language with which we talked politics and mobilised each other had little fit with the language of political analysis we were learning in the classroom,” said Banerjee. “That really took me towards taking language itself very seriously and to the question: ‘What in a language acquires conceptual status and what in a language remains at the level of the empirical word?”