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Open Lecture by Ab Imperio Award Winner Prof. Choi Chatterjee (California State University): "Leo Tolstoy and Rabindranath Tagore: Principles of Global Thinking"

Event ended

On September 13, 18:30 pm, Professor Choi Chatterjee will give a public lecture “Leo Tolstoy and Rabindranath Tagore: Principles of Global Thinking”.

Leo Tolstoy and Rabindranath Tagore’s political ideas are considered to be embarrassing episodes that distract us from their otherwise brilliant literary careers. But Tolstoy and Tagore’s life practices and unorthodox approach to nationalism, imperialism, and modernity are not simply marks of their eccentricity. To the contrary, their counter-modern ideas have enormous emancipatory potential in the face of accelerating climate change, intensifying national and racial competition, and the dilemma of modern selfhood that defines itself only through accumulation and violence.

The novelist and the poet argued that the world needed a new model of elite behavior, or what I call intentional selflessness. Intentional selflessness links the needs of the self, the community, and ecology in a seamless continuum, and expands our contemporary understanding of selfhood. Finally, their powerful vision of a shared humanity is based on an intimate and profound understanding of the natural world. Tolstoy and Tagore’s principles of global thinking have the power to move us beyond contemporary debates between the Right and the Left, economic development and environmentalism, and the nation and the world.

Venue: Room 309, 16 Soyuza Pechatnikov
Working language: English
Contact: vepopov@hse.ru


Choi Chatterjee

Professor, California State University


A Cal State L.A. faculty member since 1994, Professor Chatterjee is responsible for the History Department’s undergraduate and graduate courses in Russian and Soviet history. She has also created courses in comparative European history, Russian-American relations, globalization, and food justice. Chatterjee’s research is wide ranging, and she has published in the fields of world history, Russian-American relations, and transnational history. 2014 she was honored as an Outstanding Professor in recognition of the excellence in teaching and significant achievements in scholarly inquiry, creativity, and professional activities. 2018 Professor Chatterjee was one the first two winners of the newly established Ab Imperio Award.