Past Event

Ambedkar, Dewey, and the Evolution of Pragmatism in India

March 30, 2023
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Teachers College Columbia University, 525 W. 120 St., New York, NY 10027

Most know that Bhimrao Ambedkar, chief architect of the Indian constitution and powerful proponent of rights and respect for India’s most oppressed, thought highly of his former teacher, John Dewey. Ambedkar took three of Dewey’s courses while the young Indian reformer was studying at Columbia University in 1913-1916. But what do we know about the specifics of their relationship? In this talk, Dr. Scott R. Stroud discusses some of the main themes in his recently published book, The Evolution of Pragmatism in India: Ambedkar, Dewey, and the Rhetoric of Reconstruction (University of Chicago, 2023). Ambedkar’s educational experiences with John Dewey at Columbia University in 1913-1916 will be detailed, as will Ambedkar’s voracious reading of many of Dewey’s works long after the young reformer left New York. Expanding on this historical account of their educational and intellectual relationship will be the most thorough accounting to date of Ambedkar’s appropriation of Deweyan concepts and methods to forge a new vision of pragmatism. Building on and resisting important themes in Dewey’s courses and subsequent books, Ambedkar’s Navayana pragmatism represents an approach that centers social democracy, the dignity of human personality, and the need to relieve oppression while creating the conditions for fraternity.

This event will be held in-person and accessible via Zoom. Registration info TBA. 

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Contact Information

Radhika Iyengar