War, Race and Empire in the Anthropocene

Author: Anne Riordan


Highly acclaimed Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh will deliver the 23rd Annual Hesburgh Lecture in Ethics and Public Policy on Tuesday, April 4 at 4 p.m., in the Jordan Auditorium at the University of Notre Dame.

Ghosh’s lecture, “War, Race and Empire in the Anthropocene: Some Occluded Aspects of Climate Change”, will address how the discussion of climate change has largely been centered in Western universities—produced by scientists, engineers and economists. This has skewed the dialogue in certain directions, including conceptualizing it as an economic program, which can be dealt with through technological and technocratic fixes. Ghosh will also identify a more political approach to climate change. Yet these dominant frameworks tend to exclude many of the overarching cultural, political, geographical and historical contexts of global warming leading to the question: what other frameworks could be relevant to this subject? 

“The Kroc Institute is delighted to partner with the Department of English and the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies in welcoming Amitav Ghosh to campus to address this important topic,” said Ruth Abbey, interim director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

Born in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), Ghosh grew up in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. He studied in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria and is the author, most recently, of The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, a work of nonfiction. His work, which has been translated into more than 20 languages, includes The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, In An Antique Land, Dancing in Cambodia, The Calcutta Chromosome, The Glass PalaceThe Hungry Tide, and the first two volumes of The Ibis Trilogy; Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke, and Flood of Fire. Ghosh's essays have been published in The New YorkerThe New Republic and The New York Timesand collections of his essays have been published by Penguin India (The Imam and the Indian) and Houghton Mifflin USA (Incendiary Circumstances).

The Circle of Reason was awarded France’s Prix Médicis in 1990, and The Shadow Lines won two prestigious Indian prizes the same year, the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Ananda Puraskar. The Calcutta Chromosome won the Arthur C. Clarke award for 1997 and The Glass Palace won the International e-Book Award at the Frankfurt book fair in 2001In January 2005, The Hungry Tide was awarded the Crossword Book Prize, a major Indian award.

In addition to his literary success, Ghosh has taught in universities throughout India and the United States, including Delhi University, Columbia University, Queens College, and Harvard University. In January 2007, he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest honors.

The annual Hesburgh Lecture in Ethics and Public Policy, established by the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies in 1995, honors the late Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., president emeritus of Notre Dame, a global champion of peace and justice, and the founder of the Kroc Institute. Each year a distinguished scholar, policymaker, and/or peace advocate is invited to deliver a major lecture on an issue related to ethics and public policy in the context of peace and justice.

This lecture is free and open to the public.

Co-sponsored by the Department of English and the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies.