Opening & Lecture The Task of the Humanist: Bringing Hannah Arendt Home to Bombay

Homi K. Bhabha © Homi K. Bhabha

Fri, 18.10.2019

6:00 PM

Tata Theatre, NCPA

Keynote lecture: Professor Homi K. Bhabha

In October 2019, Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai celebrated its Golden Jubilee with a three-day festival acknowledging the role played by different individuals, institutions and partners over the years in shaping the work of the institute in Mumbai. 

The festival opened on 18th October at the Tata Theatre with a keynote lecture "The Task of the Humanist: Bringing Hannah Arendt Home to Bombay" by Professor Homi K. Bhabha. Professor Bhabha is the Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities in the Department of English, the Director of the Mahindra Humanities Center, and the Senior Advisor on the Humanities to the President and Provost at Harvard University.

He is the author of numerous works exploring postcolonial theory, cultural change and power, contemporary art, and cosmopolitanism, including Nation and Narration, and The Location of Culture, which was reprinted as a Routledge Classic in 2004. His forthcoming book projects will be published by some of the leading university publishers in the United States: Harvard University Press will publish A Global Measure, and Columbia University Press will publish The Right to Narrate, and a book on contemporary art to be published by the University of Chicago Press. Bhabha has written on contemporary art for Artforum and has written a range of essays on William Kentridge, Anish Kapoor, Taryn Simon, and Mathew Barney, amongst others

Bhabha is one of the most important figures in contemporary postcolonial studies. He has developed a number of the field's key concepts, such as hybridity, mimicry, difference, and ambivalence, terms that, according to Bhabha's theory, describe ways in which colonised peoples have resisted the power of the coloniser.

His honours include the Padma Bhushan award, a prestigious award from the Republic of India that recognizes outstanding contribution in literature and education (2012); the Humboldt Research Prize (2015), and honorary degrees from Université Paris 8, University College London, and the Free University Berlin. Professor Bhabha is a member of the Academic Committee for the Shanghai Power Station of Art, and the Mobilising the Humanities Initiating Advisory Board (British Council). He is an advisor on the Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives (C-MAP) project at the Museum of Modern Art New York, a Trustee of the UNESCO World Report on Cultural Diversity, and the Curator in Residence of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. In 1997 he was profiled by Newsweek as one of “100 Americans for the Next Century.”

Bhabha served on jury for  the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 and the 2018 Sharjah Biennial. With the support of the Volkswagen and Mellon Foundations, Bhabha is leading a research project on the Global Humanities.