Host, Professor Renee Jeffery chats with Griffith University’s Associate Professor Luis Cabrera about his latest book The humble Cosmopolitan and what led him on the path to studying Asia.
The book draws on extensive field research in India to address some longstanding critiques of universal human rights and global or ‘cosmopolitan’ citizenship. Critics of cosmopolitanism often assert that it is arrogant, giving too little attention to local ties and non-universalist moral views. Cabrera argues that an appropriate response involves not a retreat from broader principles but support for regional and global political institutions more clearly oriented to political humility, where individuals could give input and lodge challenges as formal citizen equals. He draws on the work of Indian constitutional architect and social campaigner B.R. Ambedkar, who championed forms of domestic political humility against the segregation and “arrogance” of caste. He also take insights from Dalit (formerly ‘untouchable’) activists pressing for domestic reforms through UN human rights bodies, as well as from their critics in the governing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.
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Host, Professor Renee Jeffery (Griffith Asia Institute), introduces us to Griffith Asia Institute Members, PhD candidates and guest presenters as they share their latest research and journey to studying Asia in our Asia Stories online series where we delve into researching in and about the Asia Pacific.
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