Dr Rahul Rao (Senior Lecturer in Politics at SOAS) (Balliol 2001) will give a talk entitled ‘What Do We Mean When We Talk about Statues?’
Abstract: In recent years, controversies around statues have become focal points for struggles around the decolonisation of the public sphere (we might think here of Rhodes Must Fall in Cape Town and Oxford, Gandhi Must Fall in Accra, and protests against Confederate statues in the US, all of which erupted roughly contemporaneously). Alongside the toppling of statues of figures deemed to be racist, casteist or otherwise problematic, statues continue to be built on ever increasing scales, especially in contemporary India which is currently home to the tallest statue in the world. Why are statues invested with so much significance?
Rahul Rao has research interests in international relations theory, the international relations of South Asia, comparative political thought, and gender and sexuality. He is currently working on a book on queer postcolonial temporality. His first book, Third World Protest: Between Home and the World (Oxford University Press, 2010), explored the relationship between cosmopolitanism and nationalism in postcolonial protest. He was previously a Term Fellow in Politics at University College, Oxford. He has a law degree from the National Law School of India University, and read for a doctorate in international relations at Balliol, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.