Historical Memory, Global Movements and Violence: Paul Gilroy and Arjun Appadurai in Conversation

Paul Gilroy, Arjun Appadurai, Vikki Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This interview with Paul Gilroy and Arjun Appaddurai was conducted in the belief that these two thinkers, who stem from different disciplines but whose work meets at certain crucial junctures, would be able to present a discussion to a wider audience about the themes and issues that were currently motivating them in their work. Paul Gilroy's work is well known as a central reference point within the contemporary analysis of ‘race’ and racism. At its most broad, he has a reputation for thinking throughout his writings about the historical constitution of race and the mobility of forms of racism over time and space. Arjun Appadurai's work emanates from the discipline of anthropology, and he has a specific and on-going interest in South East Asai Studies. He has been influential in the exploration of new modes of conceptualizing the remit and processes of forming anthropological knowledge. While both authors share certain key concerns, their interconnections are not explicit in their writings. This interview, conducted in London during Arjun Appadurai's visit in 1997, was an opportunity to bring these two authors together to discuss the themes and connections which they are both exploring in different ways, but in ways that have similar theoretical and political impulses. In particular, they address the themes that animate the critical edge of cultural studies: the politics of memory, the theorization of movement and new conceptualizations of spatiality, the critique of authenticity and modes of theorizing embodiment, and concurrent directions in their present work, especially around the notions of extreme actions, of war and violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-40
Number of pages20
JournalTheory, Culture and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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