May 2024


Online Via Zoom


Beyond Determinism? Rethinking the Asian Monsoon as a Connecting Force

South Asia in the South China Sea
Sunil Amrith | Professor, Yale University

Sunil Amrith

Department of History
Yale University

The Asian monsoon is a crucial part of the material fabric that connects the South China Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Climate scientists and humanities scholars have revived an older geographical category, “Monsoon Asia,” in their efforts to capture a sense of shared vulnerability in the face of rising waters. Yet that is a geographical imaginary with deep colonial origins. This talk asks whether it is possible to bring the monsoon back into our consideration of South Asia in the South China Sea without falling into an old and discredited climatic determinism.

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Sunil Amrith

Sunil Amrith is the Renu and Anand Dhawan Professor of History at Yale University, with a secondary appointment as Professor at the Yale School of the Environment. He is also current Chair of the South Asian Studies Council at Yale’s MacMillan Center. Amrith is the author of four books, with a fifth, The Burning Earth, to be published by W.W. Norton in September 2024. He is a 2017 MacArthur Fellow, and received the 2016 Infosys Prize in Humanities, and the 2022 Heineken Prize in History.