Thursday, 1 February 2018

Alex M. George is going to present a working paper on 'Diversity and Inclusion in Hindi Language Textbooks for Elementary Schools of Madhya Pradesh'

This paper explores how Hindi language textbooks address the issue of diversity and inclusion. These textbooks are prescribed by the Government of Madhya Pradesh and used in the state board elementary schools. In Madhya Pradesh people speak different languages such as Malwi, Nimadi, Bundelkhandi, Gondi, Korku, Bareli, etc. Nevertheless, Hindi is the only language of communication used in state board elementary schools as well as for all administrative purposes.
Many studies have highlighted the central role played by textbooks in school education in India. Textbooks are the only material used in classrooms. Hindi language textbooks are a compilation of different literary genres and writers. Through the process of selection of material in textbooks, there are worldviews and attitudes regarding caste, gender, religion, nation, etc which are highlighted. In this manner, textbooks become a cultural repository of select writings and worldviews.
Based on the analysis of elementary school language textbooks, this chapter shows, that the selection of content in Hindi textbooks is informed by a desire to strengthen children’s allegiance to a given understanding of citizenship and the nation which is centred around Brahminical Hindu ethos. Hence the textbooks passages portray romanticised notions of the past. It perpetuates the hierarchical social structures and makes the marginalised communities invisible. It fails to recognise the everyday discriminatory practices based on caste and gender biases, which find legitimacy within Brahminical Hinduism.
Dalits (15%) and Adivasis (21%) together form 36% of Madhya Pradesh’s population. Their cultures and practices are made invisible in the textbook.  It is only in recent decades that Dalit and Adivasi children have had access to schooling. Through the Hindi textbooks, these first-generation learners are encultured into a worldview which marginalises them. Textbooks are identified as the site of cultural capital. In the pursuit of social mobility through schooling, children have to contest with the cultural capital.

Michael Rösser presents a working paper on 'The Forgotten Population Groups'

Various colonial protagonists have been involved in the building process of the central railway in German East Africa. Historiography has almost exclusively focused on the role of the colonial administration, however. With the African workforce having been regarded as only one factor to accomplish the building tasks (their agency has been generally ignored), other protagonists involved in the building process have hardly been studied. Examining colonial newspaper articles, this paper attempts to narrow down the focus on the role of two neglected colonial protagonists: labour recruiters and Indian indentured labourers in German East Africa. Especially labour recruiters were of crucial importance to deliver the workforce necessary for the infrastructural project. Comprising mostly of Southern European (esp. Greek) migrants, who deliberately went to the German colony to seek employment at the railway construction site. They were responsible for the construction of individual route sections and were also in charge of recruiting and supervising the (African) workforce necessary.
Indian indentures labour was decisive in various British domains, e.g for the construction of the Uganda Railway in neighbouring British East Africa. In contrast to claims of established studies on German colonialism, the sources consulted here suggest that  Indian labour was important for the German East African central railway as well. Indian labour migration to the German colony took place in two major ways. It was first of all an overseas business, meaning that potential workers travelled from India to East Africa. Secondly, it was also an intercolonial event, as Indian railway workers apparently left their employment in British East Africa in order to work in the German colony. 
These various labour experiences shaped specific Indian discourses about their own identity within colonial society. Their mindset and agency is illustrated by a poem published in the newspaper The Indian Voice of East Africa, Uganda and Zanzibar.

Emmanuelle de Champs gives a working paper on 'Greatest or Public Happiness ? Condorcet and Bentham on interest, representation and the public good.'

Bentham and Condorcet are two prominent figures in European history. Both born in the 1740s, they each played a major part in national politics, Condorcet among the statesmen of the French revolution and Bentham as a radical campaigner for parliamentary reform in the decade preceding the Reform Bill in England. Unlike many others eighteenth-century philosophers, who were either dead or too much connected to Ancien-Régime aristocracy, Bentham and Condorcet provide rare examples of established Enlightenment thinkers who embraced revolutionary ideas and who became, with time, increasingly radical.
Built around the vocabulary of “happiness” in the early thought of the two authors, this study attempts to map out the points where they converge and those on which they do not, attempting to locate their distinct positions in broader contemporary debates. First, it compares their respective positions on happiness to that of Claude-Adrien Helvétius, who in many respects provided the framework for the political and moral discussion of happiness in politics in the second half of the eighteenth century. Secondly, it examines the positions of Bentham and Condorcet on a series of political issues directly related to public happiness in the early years of the French Revolution, that is to say up until the end of 1791. After that, the paths of the two philosophers regarding the political situation in France sharply diverged. While Bentham’s interest in French events was on the wane, Condorcet became a member of the  club des jacobins and later a  prominent girondin. As the conclusion points out, the debate over the means of reaching happiness in politics cannot be limited to one which pits utility against rights or the well-being of the community against
that of the individual.