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How can we explain the origins of the great wave of paranoid hatreds that seem inescapable in our close-knit world—from American ‘shooters’ and ISIS to Trump, from a rise in vengeful nationalism across the world to racism and misogyny on social media?
Join us as speaker Pankaj Mishra addresses public bewilderment by casting a gaze back to the eighteenth century before leading us to the present.
Pankaj Mishra is a novelist, essayist, literary critic, lecturer, and reporter who travels the world writing on a wide range of topics, including globalization, the Dalai Lama, Bollywood, and the “Talibanization” of South Asia. He regularly contributes to the New York Review of Books, the New York Times, the Guardian, and the New Statesman, and has written for too many international magazines and newspapers to list. In his latest book, The Age of Anger: A History of the Present (2017), Mishra casts his gaze back to the eighteenth century before leading us to the present to explain the origins of the great wave of paranoid hatreds that seem inescapable in our close-knit world: from American shooters and ISIS to Donald Trump, to a rise in vengeful nationalism across the world, to racism and misogyny on social media. Mishra was born in North India and completed his MA in English Literature at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. 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. In 2013, he published A Great Clamour: Encounters with China and its Neighbours. Mishra 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. For 2007-08, 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 received Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Literature Prize.