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Authority, Action, Criticism: Gandhi and Constructive Satyagraha

Karuna MantenaAssociate Professor of Political Science, Yale University

Chair: Parimal PatilProfessor of Religion and Indian Philosophy, Chair of the Department of South Asian Studies

What is the structure of criticism embedded in Gandhian forms of action? The lecture considers the ways in which action and criticism can be understood as analogous modes of intervening in politics. In so doing, it hopes to detach the problem of criticism from the paradigm of judgment – and the epistemological conundrums it entails – and resituate it within the domain of action in which questions of efficacy, of means and ends, and consequences come to the fore. The talk focuses especially on Gandhi’s notion of constructive satyagraha and how it attempts to the cultivate solidarity, trust, and authority through work and service.