EVENT Aug 03
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Changing the World: Community, Science, Engagement and Big History

Pune, India
Organization: International Big History Association
Categories: Anthropology/Sociology, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, History, Philosophy, Indian Subcontinent, Science
Event Date: 2020-08-03 to 2020-08-05 Abstract Due: 2020-06-01

The International Big History Association’s Fifth Global Conference, in collaboration with Symbiosis International University, will be held in the summer of 2020 in India. Its theme focuses on Changing the World: Community, Science and Engagement with Big History. The IBHA has held conferences on meaning, teaching and research, and so now will address issues of community and change around our planet. In other words: How can big history help us in its application to world issues?

India is a powerhouse of innovative development, with cultural and intellectual traditions reaching back thousands of years. Symbiosis is an embodiment of this heritage and enterprise, a truly modern synthesis. Situated along the Mula-Mutha River, its six campuses in the city of Pune lie on the Deccan Plateau, 600 meters above the Arabian Sea.

Founded in 1971, Symbiosis International University was begun with the intent of providing a “home away from home” for African and Asian students studying in India. Its students come from more than 85 countries, so, appropriately, their Sanskrit motto is ?????? ?????????? – Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – “The World is One Family.” A not-for-profit university, Symbiosis serves almost 30,000 students.

Our conference will be co-sponsored by and held at the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, one of the university’s most innovative programmes. Founded in 2011, SSLA was the first liberal arts school in an Indian university and remains the only four-year degree, an Honours programme. It is home to the India Association for Big History, which formed in 2016.

In 2018, the first course in Big History began at SSLA, ‘Humanity and Big History: Our Challenge for Survival’. The course grew out of SSLA’s Anthropology Department and is co-taught by an historian and a physicist. It is a core course for all third year undergraduates. In March 2018, SSLA sponsored the First Annual Conference of Interdisciplinarity and Big History with the Asian Big History Association and J.F. Oberlin University (Tokyo), as well as the IBHA.

The conference will take place during the first week of August 2020. We have reserved Symbiosis-approved guest houses for accommodations, which are near to the SSLA campus. Rickshaws as well as Uber and Ola cabs are available, and Symbiosis will provide a bus at the start and end of each day. The accommodations, as well as meals and tea at the campus dining hall, will be available at a reasonable rate. For example, double-occupancy rooms will run at about ?2000 ($30) a day.

Attendees are invited to arrive during the weekend of August 1st and 2nd. The Pune International Airport is less than a kilometre from our campus. You can check into your rooms, then relax and socialize with friends and colleagues. On Sunday at mid-day, we will arrange for a short tour of the city, followed by tea and a welcome presentation orienting you to India.

The conference panels will begin Monday morning and run through Thursday morning, August 3rd through 6th. On Monday and Tuesday evening, there will be interactive plenary panel presentations and a courtyard dinner. On Wednesday afternoon and evening, there will be festival on the theme of engaged creativity of South Asia. On Thursday morning, August 6th, we will have an IBHA members’ assembly.



Lucy Laffitte