163 episodes

f(q) = Is history chaotic? (#TCAO)

SynTalk (currently in Turn Six) is a freewheeling interdisciplinary talk show with a philosophical approach to understanding the world from a long term perspective.

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    • Philosophy

f(q) = Is history chaotic? (#TCAO)

SynTalk (currently in Turn Six) is a freewheeling interdisciplinary talk show with a philosophical approach to understanding the world from a long term perspective.

    #TFON (The Formation Of Nations) --- SynTalk

    #TFON (The Formation Of Nations) --- SynTalk

    How old are passports? Are you a resident citizen? Are nations primeval or modern? Were the colonizers, such as England, the first nations? Are all countries multi-ethnic/multi-religious? Are there phases, then, in the process of the abstract negotiating with ground realities? How do nations reproduce, as some are born, some emerge, some mimic, & some are just put together? When are borders drawn? Why did Czechoslovakia split? Must nations be unitary? How central is ethnicity to national identity? What kinds of countries make patriotic films? Is there too much of suffering in Russian war movies? Do you know of French film ‘stars’? Do psychology and pedagogy together create a citizenry? Why do nations sometimes lose out to (say) regions and religions as the object of loyalty? Is your nationality merely an administrative reality? What moves you? What happened to classical ‘Hindustani’ music after Indian partition? What can nations share (& not share)? Is most of politics economics? Will economic globalization redefine the abstract notion of nations (& nationalism)? Or, will nations – with multiple converging rationale – keep going strong…? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from social anthropology (Prof. John Clammer, O. P. Jindal Global University, Delhi NCR), film criticism (M. K. Raghavendra, Bangalore), & history (Prof. Lakshmi Subramanian, BITS Pilani, Goa). Listen in...

    • 1 hr 9 min
    #TROE (The Religion Of Eating) --- SynTalk

    #TROE (The Religion Of Eating) --- SynTalk

    Should Aristotle have also cooked? Would you eat dog meat? What does your food say about your conception of Reality? How is our gut first colonized? What are you allergic to? How/why do cultures select what to eat? Where are taboos found? Are you a non-believer? Who does your cooking? What are the techniques? How is identity produced? Does culture uniquely meet nature in food? Can anything be purified via rituals? Why do, both, fasting and feasting exist? Does fasting modify the idea of Self? Do we store fat ‘for’ the brain? Do you follow dietary restrictions? Do you bother about Vitamin B12? How does a newly born baby know what is not-food? How were you born? Are you like your maternal grandmother? Is taste a cultural matter? Are our jaws becoming smaller? Do we need the body (even) to be spiritual? Is Mind also Matter? Is food medicine? Would you rather die than break your fast? Can food regulate certain gene expressions? Are food preferences, therefore, somewhat genetically determined? Will we eat lab-grown food? Where would micro-nutrients come from? &, would there be ‘more’ vegetables in the future…? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from biochemistry & genetics (Dr. Giriraj R. Chandak, CCMB, Hyderabad), religious studies & theology (Swami Narasimhananda, Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati), & food studies (Dr. Krishnendu Ray, NYU, New York). Listen in...

    • 1 hr 18 min
    #TIAR (The Interactions And Reactions) --- SynTalk

    #TIAR (The Interactions And Reactions) --- SynTalk

    How quiet is the sea? Do you want to mine manganese? What makes certain interactions reactions? Are there reactions happening in your room? How is heat different from light? What does new Law come from? Can oceans ‘retain’ certain information for centuries? When do we say that a bond has broken? Can radio frequencies ionize molecules? Is your water from Greenland? Might an equatorial event in1982 have impacted Japan in ~1992? Can physical pressure (alone) cause reactions? Does the deep seabed interact with the atmosphere? What does law say about ‘what’ the ocean is? Is carving up oceans very different from carving up the lithosphere? Do corals and crustaceans belong to countries? How much of the oceans is ‘deep sea’? What hinders highly site-specific reactions? Is the rate of energy dissipation usually much faster than rate of chemical reactions? Can sea storms be caused? Why are deep sea species likely to be highly tribal? Can we just drill to the centre of the earth? Are most drugs chiral? What lies ahead? Will we be able to make reactions optically pure? &, would/should we mine the deep seas in the future? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from chemistry (Prof. Vaidhyanathan Ramamurthy, University of Miami, Coral Gables), international law (Dr. Surabhi Ranganathan, University of Cambridge, Cambridge), & oceanography (Dr. D. Shankar, NIO, Goa). Listen in...

    • 1 hr 18 min
    #TOLOA (The Outer Limits Of Adaptation) --- SynTalk

    #TOLOA (The Outer Limits Of Adaptation) --- SynTalk

    Have we over-adapted? How fit are you? Are our adaptive responses often too private? Is any fitness measure also always about the environment? How efficiently do you communicate with the changing environment? Are cultures always born on the boundaries? Can the First World, alone, help the world adapt? Are languages naturally selected? Are more frequent words shorter, & why? Similarly, do smaller organisms adapt, or perish, faster? Why are virus harder to control? Are the adaptive constraints eventually genetic? Or, can entire complex systems sometimes adapt while overcoming the constraints of parts? What is grammar constrained by? Is ideal efficiency often not achieved because of constraints? How are SOVs more prevalent if SVO languages are more ‘efficient’? Is adaptation chance-dependent? Was USA ‘not very far’ from India around 1965? Is human cash a kind of energy-unit? How are ecological and economic models dissimilar? Are most mutations neutral or detrimental? Are elephants at the greatest risk of extinction? What does not adapt? Might the future human beings be shorter and smaller? &, will we ‘radiate’ out of Earth? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from linguistics (Dr. Samar Husain, IIT Delhi, New Delhi), political science (Prof. Sankaran Krishna, University of Hawai’i, Honolulu), & theoretical ecology (Dr. Samraat Pawar, Imperial College, London). Listen in...

    • 1 hr 17 min
    #TAOC (The Afterlife Of Colonies) --- SynTalk

    #TAOC (The Afterlife Of Colonies) --- SynTalk

    Do you aspire to write good English? What was Ranjit Singh’s official language? Where do your narratives come from? Is it possible to think rationally while living in a village and practicing caste? Was India (only) a land of static isolated villages? What does colonialism do to social and political formations? Are tribes expected to evolve into castes, & then into class? What has been the epistemic relationship between caste and class? Is caste truly a religious notion? Is colonialism the central fact of ‘your’ history? Did the Church and the Crown think similarly about the colonies? How do Anglicists follow Orientalists? Is the West Europe? How do we forget? Who founded the Mexican Communist Party? What do the middle class think is good? Is it possible to become modern differently? Could Christian values be taught via English literature? Did England have dissenting mini colonies even within her? Did the several nationalist de-colonising movements share common imaginations? Who drew the lines between nations? Would the World remain hierarchical and territorial? Or, would there be newer ways of coming together and making sense…? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from sociology (Prof. Surinder Singh Jodhka, JNU, New Delhi), history (Prof. Dilip Menon, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg), & literary studies (Prof. Gauri Viswanathan, Columbia University, New York). Listen in...

    • 1 hr 20 min
    #TURU (The Un Regulated Underbelly) --- SynTalk

    #TURU (The Un Regulated Underbelly) --- SynTalk

    Are you a part of the underworld? Would you like the society to applaud you? Do you gamble? Or, consume illicit liquor? Is the disorderly the underbelly? Will you inherit property? How has dowry existed in many societies for centuries? What changes the valuation of grooms? Are the values of criminals and police often very similar? Is there something fundamentally criminal about sex-selective abortion? Why do (some) women prefer to have a son? Are there power hierarchies inside prisons? What is the State really? When is it important? However, are people also always undoing the State? Might ‘planning’ create disorder? How should people move? Don’t you find Paris lovely? Do bus stops increase land value? Does law always interact with norms & technologies? Do we understand how norms change? Are people rational agents? How are their preferences aggregated? Where must beggars live? Do you need the working class? Do slum dwellers prefer free houses? Can the State flout its own laws? Are the illegal/legal interfaces often economic? What is unauthorized about unauthorized colonies? &, what is the future of order, planning, State, and evasion? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from economics (Dr. S. Anukriti, Boston College, Boston), political science (Dr. Sushmita Pati, Azim Premji University, Bangalore), & social work (Prof. Vijay Raghavan, TISS, Mumbai). Listen in...

    • 1 hr 20 min

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