Prasenjit Duara, it's such a pleasure to see you. And thank you for coming to this interview. You were born in Assam in Northeast India, educated in Delhi and did your PhD at Harvard. You've taught at the University of Chicago and George Mason University. You spent time teaching in Singapore. Now, you're a distinguished professor at Duke, which also has a campus in Duke, Kunshan in China. So you've got an incredibly global perspective, your specializations cover both India and China, and that's what we're going to highlight for our viewers today. And I'm going to just begin with something that has distinguished your writing for so long. And I should just mention that you've also been the past president of the American Association of Asian Studies, which is a member organization of 7000 people. So your influence is very significant. And this particular idea that we're going to begin with is a fascinating notion of history. And you're advocating moving from national based history to a sense of circulatory history. And in a recent publication, you speak of the oceanic dimension, the dynamic, processive aspect of this, influenced by both evolution and process thought. So for our audience, just lightly, if you could help us to understand why this is such an important idea in your work and how environmentally relevant this is as well. >> Yes, well, first of all, thank you very much, Mary Evelyn, for Professor Tucker, for inviting me to this. It is a real pleasure to be able to talk to you again and to discuss some of the thoughts that I've had and publications I have made. And so the question of circulatory history has been around. I mean, it's not entirely original for me. But in 1995, I wrote a book called "Rescuing History From the Nation." And because I felt that we had sort of taken nationalism far too much for granted, the history was understood until just about two or three decades ago, actually through nationals lens, right? As if that was how history always processed. And it was tunneled and channeled through the sort of perspective of the nation and national history. >> And I want to just bring this to your 2015 book from Cambridge Press which had a rippling effect across of course, the academic community. But well beyond because it was a very comprehensive the title is "The Crisis of Global Modernity: Asian Traditions and a Sustainable Future." And among many things there, you are identifying grassroots movements which have, like civil religions and so on. But grassroots environmental movements, which in their variety and their role, their challenges, have the potential for elevating moral voices regarding environment and ecojustice. So, love to first draw you out in the context of South Asia, both India and Southeast Asia. And then we'll go to China. But let's begin how you see these movements in South Asia and Southeast Asia. >> I'm talking about movements, right? So I find that given the sort of engine of nationalism and capitalism and the whole world formal political system and the system of nation states being built very much around GDP and around growth and so on. Despite many concerns among many agencies to sort of moderate there, I find that really change has to come. A change in fact, I think it should be, not to sound too pretentious, but a kind of a cosmological change. Our view of the relationship, because the engine itself, the epistemic engine that I talked about, is itself based very much on the separation of subject and object, of humans and nature, of God and the world and human rationality and scientific technology versus, which allows us to master and conquer nature, right? And so that's the kind of ultimate values that I think we have to counter with something that is much more sustainable. I'm not sure there are many projects of sustainability, but somehow even sustainability might seem to a human centric might seem to anthropocentric, right? To go to a particular movements in say South and Southeast Asia, we have of course lots of forest movement, the forest dwellers. And one of the interesting, one of the episodes that I mentioned, is the episode relating to the movie Avatar, right? Now it is apparently, and I actually witnessed, I went to Cambodia to the Prey Lang Forest area, well, I didn't quite go to the area, but a lot of the tribal and the hill people communities, those tropical forested communities of the Prey Lang, and Preah Vihear, and those kinds of places had been agitating in Phnom Penh, the capital, for many years because there was so much deforestation and dam building in Cambodia, often with a lot, with Chinese capital. But also a lot of other Southeast Asian and Asian capital that had moved into those forests. And as very well that region is also dominated by Buddhists, and Buddhist monks have been among the leaders to help these people conserve their forest, to preserve their livelihood. And they started this project of robing trees, right? And ordinating them so that to fell a tree would constitute some kind of sacrilege. And this, by the way, also of course was what started off the environmental movement in India in 1972. You will recall there was the Chipko Movement of women who were hugging trees when the deforestation was beginning to take place around those, that Himalayan region. So this kind of community resistance is very visible and tangible and because it was directly affects their livelihoods much more than any other. And to go back to the story of avatars which is now kind of a global phenomenon, these Cambodian communities, which I have studied there used to arrive in the big square in Phnom Penh and demonstrate using traditional techniques with their musical apparatuses, worshipful rituals, petitioning and so on. To demand the stoppage of these, of this deforestation. But for a long time people would just sort of watch them and that was it. It was like kind of a spectacle, a show. But then when the movie Avatar appeared in 2010 or so, 2009, 2010. What happened was they sudden Indian tribal groups in India, sudden Latin American communities, Indigenous peoples in Bolivia and so on, began to adopt the role of the Na'vi people in the movie Avatar. You know hose blue beings is what we can call them. And began to restage their demonstration as a performance of the status of the Na'vi people in the movie Avatar, and they began to be called Cambodian avatars, or Dongria Avatars in India, or Bolivian Avatars. I don't know what the specific word for the Indigenous people there in Bolivia is. And this was electric. I mean, you know, when they would paint their faces and include their whole spectacle of performance and supplication and so on. And this drew, as you know, Cambodia has lots of in global environmental NGOs. But also drew the entire youth community across the nation of Cambodia, and NGOs, local, global, and national, to actually create some kind of conservation and protection, which these communities themselves began to undertake. For about 10 or 12 years this has been successful, although things are maybe backtracking again. So this was an example of the kinds of movements that are taking place everywhere.