The Ottoman History Podcast
Hosted by Chris Gratien
January 30, 2016
"We often speak of physical and abstract worlds as if they were self-evident. But the concept of "the world" has been forged and continually remade through imagination and debate. In this podcast, Ayesha Ramachandran discusses the historical context of the world's ascendance as a meaningful concept and offers a preview of her new book entitled Worldmakers: Global Imagining in Early Modern Europe."
Hosted by Anna Levy
May 11, 2016
At what point does the world end? More importantly, how did this idea of a whole, unified world emerge to begin with? In Worldmakers: Global Imagining in Early Modern Europe (University of Chicago Press, 2015) Ayesha Ramachandran illustrates the anticipated enormity and surprising subtlety of these questions. Prose, vivid imagery and poetry form the text’s arc as Ramachandran distills an interdisciplinary evolution of Eurocentric debates about the relationship between self and god, self and nation, world and empire, and world and universe.
Worldmakers combines a set of “founding” works, from maps to medical literature, to portray a period where allegory, the Cosmos, and classical myth interacted directly with physics and biology. Dr. Ramachandran creatively captures “two modes of world-making: imperial and cosmic” through the constructed notion of the “Other”, which frames not only the logic of imperial conquest, but earlier attempts to separate and organize the sciences. Rather than seeking to narrate a coherent whole, as is the goal of many of the book’s main characters, Ramachandran highlights the disparate trajectory of these ideas in mythical, then imperial and national, and finally scientific imagination.
March 9, 2016
Ayesha Ramachandran is an assistant professor of comparative literature at Yale University. Her research and teaching focus on the literature and culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, primarily on Europe’s relations with an expanding world. She has published articles on Spenser, Lucretius, Tasso, Petrarch, Montaigne, and on postcolonial drama. She was awarded a Junior Fellowship at the Harvard Society of Fellows in 2007.