Was Gandhi Racist? And Other Unsettling Questions about African-Indian Entanglements
with Shobana Shankar
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 • Wednesday, March 17, 2021
4 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Recent events, from Black Lives Matter demonstrations to Kamala Harris’s nomination, have brought into public discourse a reckoning with the complexity of structural inequality and solidarity movements—what does this mean for relations among people of color? This class will explore the history of this vexing problem through the work of M.K. Gandhi in South Africa and W.E.B Dubois in the U.S., and in the lives of lesser-known figures, many of whom were Africans living in the British Empire, a crucible in which many of today’s racial dilemmas were created.
Shobana Shankar is a socio-cultural historian of West Africa and the Global South at Stony Brook University. Before that, she worked in research and publishing at UNICEF and as a teacher in the New York City public school system. Her work crosses the fields of history, anthropology, religion, and public health. Her forthcoming book examines how Africans and Indians negotiated their complicated relationships in religion, science, and education in an effort to find postcolonial solidarity and autonomy from Euro-American power. She’s also written on the politics of public health and the history of eugenicist racial practices at the Mississippi State Penitentiary.