AAPIHM 2018 Keynote Address. Professor of History at Columbia and Activist Manan Ahmed explores the links between the imperatives of US Empire and the emergence of "Area Studies."
Manan Ahmed is a scholar-activist, historian of early modern South Asia and Professor of History at Columbia University. He is from Pakistan, lives and teaches in New York City and studied at Punjab University, Lahore, Miami University of Ohio and obtained his PhD at the University of Chicago. Beyond his work in early modern South Asian history, he runs the blog Chapati Mystery which engages with current events, scholarly debates and controversies, and activism and brings together many progressive scholars of South Asia and the Middle East to write on various subjects from an academic perspective. Professor Ahmed’s writings have engaged with US imperial imaginings of Muslims, the US-Pakistan relationship in the aftermath of 9/11 and the so-called “war on terror.” Ahmed published Where the Wild Frontiers Are based on some of his writings on Chapati Mystery on US failures in their relationship with Pakistan and Pakistanis. He has spoken and written on US Empire, America’s drone policy and Muslim belonging under the drone, and hate crimes against Muslims and Sikhs in the aftermath of 9/11 (which appears in NYT, The Guardian, The Nation, etc). His address for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2018 at Dartmouth, titled "Technologies of Power: From Philology to Algorithm and the Study of Asia" will engage with and explore the links between the imperatives of US Empire in ordering and categorization of identity and the emergence of paradigms like "area studies." This is a particularly relevant issue at many institutions of higher learning in the US given the ubiquity of demands for Asian-American studies programs and given continuing US interventionism abroad. How might we detangle, move forward and reclaim the history of "area studies?"
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