Modernity and its Discontent

Under modernity, forms of life have undergone a radical transformation culminating in a unique human condition. By modernity we refer to the period, which coincides with the rise of capitalism, colonial expansion, the spread of techno-scientific rationality and the consolidation of modern state apparatuses. Under this theme, we explore the multifarious effects of modernity on the forms of living, particularly the pursuit of universality, the modernist ethos of profit making and the tensions that emerge from social, politico-cultural and economic fragmentation and diversity between global and local realities.

Modernity is also understood as attitudes, practices, and preferences that speak to subjective understandings vis-à-vis hegemonic structural constraints. As such, Habib University (HU) faculty members are concerned with the shape of the modern experience, notably the horror, trauma, and tragedy, which are inflated by neoliberalism and right wing politics, and which are undermining conventional means of sustenance, usurping the rights of the most marginalized, manipulating ethical and moral standards and wreaking environmental havoc through the ruthless pursuit of profit.

HU scholars tackle some of the most pressing challenges faced by humanity, as a response to the modern condition. Informed by the critical traditions of postcolonial and subaltern studies, and (post-) Marxism, our work calls into question the project of modernity, while exploring new possibilities of knowledge production rooted in human existence/experience.