“The Rise of Asia and the Revolt Against the West: a Retrospective View”, a Conversation with Pankaj Mishra

  • DATE / TIME:
    2015•03•02    18:30 - 19:30

    On 2 March 2015, UNU will host “The Rise of Asia and the Revolt Against the West: a Retrospective View”, a conversation with Indian author Pankaj Mishra. This event will start at 6:30 PM at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo.

    Decolonization was a central political event of the 20th century, which outlined the present shape of the world and set the stage for the rise of China and India. More than half a century later, what are its successes and failures? And what do they portend for the world at large?

    Mr. Pankaj Mishra will join UNU Rector David M. Malone for a conversation exploring Asia’s response to Western imperialism and its influence on the intellectual, political, and socioeconomic trajectories of the non-West. Through the lens of Mr. Mishra’s recent acclaimed books — From the Ruins of Empire, and A Great Clamour: Encounters with China and its Neighbours — the conversation will survey Asia’s colonial experience, the resulting setbacks, and the contradictory wave of ideas that it created, which challenge long-held assumptions of Western power and now underpin ideologies ranging from the Chinese Communist Party and Al Qaida, to Indian nationalism and the Muslim Brotherhood.

    The UNU Conversation Series aims to foster audience participation: you are encouraged to engage with the speakers during the conversation and at the reception that will follow, where all audience members are invited to enjoy the food and drinks that will be served while exchanging ideas and making new contacts.

    Please note that this event will be in English only; Japanese interpretation will not be provided. Advance registration (by 1 March) is required. Please click on the REGISTER button above to access the registration page.

    About the speaker

    Pankaj Mishra was born in North India in 1969. He graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from the Allahabad University before completing his MA 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 which 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, won the Los Angles Times’ Art Seidenbaum award for first fiction. His 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, describes Mishra’s travels through Kashmir, Bollywood, Afghanistan, Tibet, Nepal, and other parts of South and Central Asia. Like his previous books, it was featured in the New York Times‘ 100 Best Books of the Year. Published in 2012, From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia was shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber prize in Canada, the Orwell Prize in the U.K, and the Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Book Award in the United States. It won the Crossword Award for Best Nonfiction in 2013. In 2014, it became the first book by a non-Western writer to win Germany’s prestigious Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding. His new book is A Great Clamour: Encounters with China and its Neighbours.

    Mishra writes literary and political essays for the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, The Guardian, the New Yorker, London Review of Books, Bloomberg View, among other American, British, and Indian publications. His work has also appeared in Times Literary Supplement, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, New Republic, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Time, The Independent, Granta, The Nation, n+1, Poetry, Common Knowledge, Outlook, and Harper’s. He was a visiting professor at Wellesley College in 2001, 2004, and 2006. In 2004–2005 he received a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars, New York Public Library. From 2007 to 2008, he was the Visiting Fellow at the Department of English, University College, London. In 2009, he was nominated a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 2014, he was awarded Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Prize for Non-Fiction.


    2F Reception Hall
    United Nations University
    53-70, Jingumae 5-chome
    Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925