Discussion Topic: “Currents in Modern Thought”

Date: Friday, 28th December 2012

The Forum on Contemporary Theory is beginning a series of weekly debates under the rubric of "Currents in Modern Thought". This Friday gave a start to the series by introducing the topic and its significance. The discussion commenced with the difference between the term ‘modern’ and ‘classical’, where the later keeps the objects far away from everyday lives, in contrary to ‘modernism’ that emphasizes on the utilitarian part. The term gained its origin from a Latin term meaning, ‘just now’ which highlights the instable side of it. The famous French poet, Baudelaire associated the term with ‘flaneur’ meaning dandy, fashionable. Its first usage is recorded in fifth century AD to justify the approaches of Christianity against Paganism. Hence ‘modernism’ gave way to many an interpretation, gained numerous connotations over the ages. In a layman’s term, it signified the presence of subterranean ideas among the traditional, popular concepts. Gradually, the discussion became discipline-centric where its impact on various streams of art, archaeology and literature were talked about.      

Discussion Topic: “Modernism”

Date: 4th January 2013

                This Friday was focused on a discussion on "Modernism", a sub-topic of the series of debates titled "Currents in Modern Thought" that has started on 28th December 2012. Shreyasee Datta, academic fellow of the Centre for Contemporary Theory initiated the discussion. Ezra Pound’s injunction of ‘Make it new’ very truly expresses the feel of the movement of modernism. The discussion explained the term as a movement and also as a historical construct. Certain terms and phrases like, ‘modernity’, ‘avant garde’, ’moderness’, ‘surrealism’, ‘ ‘realism’, ‘concept of simultaneity’, ‘order in modernism’, etc. were attended to in great detail. Besides the landmark literary examples of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Eliot’s The Wasteland’, Eliot’s Four Quartets, Joyce’s Ulysses, the socio-cultural scientific temper of the age also finds a space in the discussion The debate saw modernism as a positive reaction in all spheres of life.  

Discussion Topic: “Individualism”

Date: 11th January 2013

This Friday was focused on a discussion on "Individualism", a sub-topic of the series of debates titled "Currents in Modern Thought" that has started on 28th December 2012. Dr. Lajwanti Chatani, Department of Political Science, MS University of Baroda initiated the discussion. In modernism, the concept of Individualism contributes to the notion of egalitarianism that disbands the politics of honour that was prevalent during the middle ages. Relation was forged between individualism and authenticity. The precepts of many a philosopher like, Kant, Mill, Trilling, Randolph were discussed upon. Subtle differences among words like, ‘commonality of interest’, ‘collectivity’, ‘free will’ and their relation with ‘individualism’ were also talked over.