Initiating Dialogical Encounters: Contemporary Western episteme and Indian Philosophy


Background: In this workshop we ‘desire’ to connect the current epistemic formulations of the West, which the latter views as having a universalistic orientation with what our ambivalent quasi-marxian postcolonial global discursive existence sometimes persuades us to view as an equally fecund and remarkably dynamic realm of Indian philosophy. And such an exercise is needed even more in the global transnational spaces in which we live because we feel that to some extent it is Asia’s deep-seated fascination for the western discourses, remarkably evident in its attempt to carry out a postcolonial mimicry of the latter, that works toward ensuring that the current Western episteme despite its repeated insistence that its non-hegemonic universalistic propensity needs to be marked by the contemporaneity prevails as an intellectual supplementation of and a corroboration of the existent western hegemonic neo-imperial state politics. Though some may say that the hegemonic universalization of the western epistemic constructs arises out of an imperative to speak through western cognitive indexes in a western maneuvered globality, the question that Hamid Dabbashi puts to the global academic community through the very title of his book Can the Non-European speak and the arguments that he puts forward in the same about the necessity of foregrounding the non-Western treasures of thoughts to counter the reigning trends of Western parallax views across the globe stands emblematic of that scant attention that the postcolonial nations have given to what they consider as their foundational texts.

Ironic as this may sound, while the contemporary Western thoughts, which has culminated in an epistemological breakthrough we lately identify as the ‘new materialism’, and which, in particular, revolves around the radical ideas of thinkers such as Giles Deleuze, Alain Badiou, Antonio Negri, late Derrida and Giorgio Agamben seems inclined towards teasing out the material strands of biblical texts only to wed them to ‘earthly concerns’ without betraying an iota of that urgency to correspond to the global imperative to open up a dialogue with the non-western texts, the developing nations instead of showing a persistent desire to intervene into this process have ended up mirroring the western stance with regard to their texts. But the academic community of the developing world and the postcolonial scholars routinely claim that it is the western episteme’s persistent desire to view the developing world through Orientalist lens and its condescending reluctance to pose a deliberative encounter with the non-western philosophy that exposes the non-hegemonic stance of the current western episteme as an ironic smokescreen that hides their hegemonic constitution. However the point that one must also reckon with is this that the non-western philosophical discourses have still not been adequately epistemized or have been put into a suitable critical idiom corresponding to the global condition. It is perhaps significant at this point to indicate that in the case of the most of the non-European nations it is the collation of several factors, from the process of European colonization that these nations experienced in a nuanced manner to their overwhelming realization that there was an urgent need to rebuild their devastated economies in the subsequent postcolonial contexts, and finally their equally desperate desire, as it is often claimed, to conform to the aleatory patterns of the postmodern global condition, which led to the emergence of such a situation. But then, assembling these factors do not relegate to the background, notwithstanding that such measures are not desirable at all, the point that these nations, ours included, should have displayed an equal urgency for translating these discourses into English and subsequently served them to the academic world ‘beyond’ in a critical idiom at least in the postcolonial phase if not during the colonial times they collectively endured.

  Therefore this Workshop which we have chosen to call “Initiating dialogic Encounters: Contemporary Western Episteme and Indian Philosophy” would firstly make an attempt to epistemize the Indian philosophical discourses, viewed so far as mythopoeic utterances, averse to the dominance of that process of logical refutation that Western episteme seems geared to. Secondly, it proposes to, as it is mentioned in its title, to fashion a dialogical encounter with the Western episteme not so much because the global condition has brought about an ironical rhizomic expansion of the Habermasian communicative ethics, manifest in the unmediated eruption of the networked commune everywhere that agonizes the current democratic set ups, and not also because, as some quarters of that postcolonial resistive ethical brigade claim, that every workshop of this kind offers an occasion to achieve a binaric reversal or to claim that the concepts that the Western episteme seeks to universalize are superstructures based on concepts elaborated in Indian philosophical texts. Rather, this workshop would make an attempt to position Western episteme and Indian Philosophy in a complex fold and view them as univocal, disjunctive, discontinuous, non-hierarchical, non-categorical and inter-relational desiring machines. However, this workshop does not intend to make the whole of western philosophy stand face to face with Indian philosophy. It will rather focus on the Key contemporary western philosophers’ disclosures and intertwine them—or more precisely wed them—with certain Indian philosophic issues and themes.








  • This course is designed for PhD scholars and faculty of Humanities, management, architecture and law who are likely to be benefited by learning the fundamental aspect of Indian and Western philosophy. Faculty members and Research Associates from reputed academic institutions and technical institutions are also welcome.




Official Sponsorship

Contact Info

Prof. Saswat.S.Das

Associate Professor, Postmodern and Postcolonial Studies
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
West Bengal 721302

Phone: +91- 03222-283611



Dr. Anindya Sekhar Purakayastha

Associate Professor
Department of English, Kazi Nazrul University
Asansol, West Bengal
Pin code: 713340


How To Apply

Kindly send your bio-data in .doc or pdf format. Important publications and other achievements/ recognition related to the topic may be sent along with the biodata. It will help in selecting the candidates. The number of the participants will be limited to 25. The selection will be made on the basis of qualifications and experience. Interested participants are requested to contact Prof. Saswat. S. Das over mail for further details.


IIT Kharagpur

The Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur more commonly known as lIT Kharagpur. Situated about 120 km west of Kolkata, Kharagpur can be reached in about 2 hours by train from Howrah railway station of Kolkata or 3 hours by car from Kolkata Airport. Kharagpur is also connected by direct train services to most major cities of the country. The Institute is about 10 minutes drive (5 km) from the Kharagpur railway station. Private taxi, autorickshaw or cycle-rickshaw can be hired to reach the Institute.