Pre-eminent historian and public intellectual Romila Thapar will examine academic freedom in India, especially the divide between the academic writing of history and public perception. Drawing upon examples from various periods of Indian history, her lecture will discuss how history is used in political ideology.
Thapar is an emerita professor of ancient history at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. Her principal area of study is ancient India, and she is regarded for her use of social-historical methods to understand change in the mid-first millennium BCE in northern India.
The author of "From Lineage to State," "Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas," "Early India: From Origins to AD 1300," and the popular "History of India, Part I," Thapar has received honorary doctorates from the University of Chicago, the University of Oxford, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Calcutta, the University of Hyderabad, Brown University, and the University of Pretoria.
She is an honorary fellow of the SOAS University London, where she received her Ph.D. in 1958, and a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In 2008, Thapar received the U.S. Library of Congress’s Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
At 90 years old, Thapar remains an active scholar, lecturer, and public intellectual.
The Justice and Asia Distinguished Lecture invites top scholars who examine the theme of justice in relation to Asia and with awareness of Asian cultures and traditions. The series is part of the Liu Institute’s organizing theme of “Justice and Asia” that examines and supports thematic work from a range of perspectives, projects, disciplines, and collaborations. The Justice and Asia Distinguished Lecture series launched in 2021 in an event with Professor Haiyan Lee of Stanford University.