Former New York Public Library Cullman Center fellows Pankaj Mishra and Ian Buruma discuss Mishra's new book, From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia. Through a mix of history and biography, Mishra examines the Asian world's responses, in "the ruins of empire," to western modernity. He begins with Japan's stunning victory in the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, and looks at key intellectual figures -- in India, China, and the former Ottoman Empire -- who led the revolts against the West and aimed to create a post-colonial greater Asia. Mishra writes with equal acuity about East and West, the past and the present, the complexities of globalization and the current emergence of Asian nations.
Pankaj Mishra, who lives in London and India, writes frequently for The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and Bloomberg View. His books include Butter Chicken in Ludhiana: Travels in Small Town India, and Temptations of the West: How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan and Beyond.
Ian Buruma, the Henry R. Luce Professor of Human Rights and Journalism at Bard College, was educated in Holland and Japan. He writes for The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Corriere della Sera, and NRC Handelsblad. His recent books include Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents; Murder in Amsterdam: Liberal Europe, Islam, and the Limits of Tolerance; and Inventing Japan, 1853-1964.
* Location: Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor Monday, September 24, 2012 7pm
Ian Buruma is an Anglo-Dutch writer and academic. Much of his work focuses on Asian culture, particularly that of 20th-century Japan.
He was born in the Netherlands, to a Dutch father and English Jewish mother. He studied Chinese literature and then Japanese film at Nihon University in Tokyo. He has held a number of editorial and academic positions and has contributed numerous articles to the New York Review of Books.
He has held fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C and St. Antony's College, Oxford. In 2003, he became Luce Professor of Democracy, Human Rights & Journalism at Bard College, New York.
Pankaj Mishra was born in North India in 1969. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in commerce from Allahabad University before earning his Master of Arts degree in English literature at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
In 1992, he moved to Mashobra, a Himalayan village, where he began to contribute literary essays and reviews to The Indian Review of Books, The India Magazine, and the newspaper The Pioneer. His first book was Butter Chicken in Ludhiana: Travels in Small Town India (1995), a travelogue that described the social and cultural changes in India in the new context of globalization.
His novel The Romantics (2000), an ironic tale of people longing for fulfillment in cultures other than their own, was published in eleven European languages and won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum award for first fiction. His recent book An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World (2004) mixes memoir, history, and philosophy while attempting to explore the Buddha's relevance to contemporary times.
Temptations of the West: How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan and Beyond (2006), describes Mishra's travels through Kashmir, Bollywood, Afghanistan, Tibet, Nepal, and other parts of South and Central Asia.
In 2005, Mishra published an anthology of writing on India, entitled India in Mind (Vintage). His writings have been anthologized in The Picador Book of Journeys (2000), The Vintage Book of Modern Indian Literature (2004), and Away: The Indian Writer as Expatriate (Penguin), among other titles.
Mishra writes literary and political essays for The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Guardian, and New Statesman, among other American, British, and Indian publications. His work has also appeared in The Boston Globe, Common Knowledge, the Financial Times, Granta, The Independent, the London Review of Books, n+1, The Nation, Outlook, Poetry, Time, The Times Literary Supplement, Travel + Leisure, and The Washington Post.