The AIPCT is pleased to announce that, in recognition of its seventh anniversary, we will have Scott R. Stroud, Professor of Communication Studies, University of Texas, Austin, presents “Why is Bhimrao Ambedkar so Important for the History of Pragmatism?”
The lecture will be an in-person event, October 11, 2023, at 7 PM at the AIPCT. It is free and open to the public.
Those who wish to attend by Zoom may request a link at email@example.com.
This event is held in cooperation with the conference: John Dewey and His Legacy for Education, October 12-14, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Why is Bhimrao Ambedkar so Important for the History of Pragmatism?
Scott R. Stroud, University of Texas at Austin
If one attends to its history, pragmatism is revealed to be an international phenomenon. It resisted and evolved from European movements, and figures in Europe and beyond conversed with figures like William James and John Dewey and altered key themes of their thought. Dewey had a range of international engagements which produced pragmatic ripples through important historical figures and periods. Two of the most important advocates of Dewey’s thought in the East sat in the same philosophy seminar in 1915-1916: Hu Shih and Bhimrao Ambedkar. While much has been said about Hu’s use of Dewey’s thought in China, there is much to learn about the evolution of pragmatism in India.
This story will focus on the well-known Indian activist and anti-caste civil rights leader, Bhimrao Ambedkar (1891-1956). This talk will detail Ambedkar’s connection to Dewey starting with his time at Columbia University. It will then branch out to explore what Ambedkar—and his Indian context—mean for our histories of pragmatism as a global tradition. What did Ambedkar do to pragmatism? What does his creative thought on democracy, caste, and Buddhism reveal about the undiscovered potentials of pragmatist thought? What might the concepts and customs of caste add to pragmatism’s account of social justice? (For an informative article on Ambedkar, click here.)
Dr. Scott R. Stroud is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. His most recent book is The Evolution of Pragmatism in India: Ambedkar, Dewey, and the Rhetoric of Reconstruction (Chicago, 2023), which was also published in India as The Evolution of Pragmatism in India: An Intellectual Biography of B R Ambedkar (HarperCollins India, 2023). His past books include John Dewey and the Artful Life (2011) and Kant and the Promise of Rhetoric (2014). He founded the first “Center for Dewey Studies” in India at Savitribai Phule Pune University and serves as the Program Director of Media Ethics at the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin.