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Casteing Class: Ambedkar’s Project of Liberation and Reconstruction; Critical Refusals of Brahminism and Hierarchies of Injustice

Ambedkar International, Conference, New York, October 11, 2014

HANDOUTS for the remarks by Prof. Andy Lamas (University of Pennsylvania):


Today, October 11, 2014, marks an interesting moment of challenge and possibility in the development of anti-caste thought and liberation philosophy. This morning, Scott Simon — a Peabody Award-winning correspondent for National Public Radio and host of NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday, broadcast an editorial entitled “In A Way, Gandhi Also Won 2014’s Nobel Peace Prize”, which recycles the standard, misinformed line on Gandhi in the United States and around the world.  Dalits (“Untouchables”) and other oppressed peoples in India know better.  And so do those who have critically studied the collected writings of Gandhi and his historical record in South Africa and in India.   Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. represented the best of what many have come to understand as the Gandhian way, but tragically, Gandhi himself did not. Scott Simon’s editorial broadcast — which was assuredly written with the best of intentions and which arises from what Americans (myself included) and so many others have been taught since childhood about Gandhi  — perpetuates a mythology that has long distorted history and provided cover for the continuation of unjust inequalities and hierarchies. But, fortunately, today ended not with well-rehearsed myth but with well-documented facts from the historical record of Gandhi’s own writings in a brilliant, public lecture in New York by Arundhati Roy — the world-famous Indian author and political activist who may be best known as the author of The God of Small Things (which won the 1998 Man Booker Prize for Fiction).

I encourage everyone to read Arundhati Roy’s erudite and myth-shattering Introduction to the recently published book of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s 1936 Annihilation of Caste (which also reprints an important exchange between Gandhi and Ambedkar). In my view, no one who reads Arundhati Roy’s Introduction will ever think about Gandhi in the same way again. And even Scott Simon — after perhaps inviting Arundhati Roy onto NPR for an extended interview — might consider broadcasting an editorial about a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize for Ambedkar, who not only authored the Indian Constitution but also led the struggle against anti-caste discrimination — the missing piece of today’s human rights struggle.

AMBEDKAR Annihilation of Caste

“The Doctor and the Saint,” an introduction by Arundhati Roy

B.R. Ambedkar, Annihilation of Caste: The Annotated Critical Edition (2014)

S. Anand, editor

This book will immediately go onto the reading list for my courses at the University of Pennsylvania.

–Prof. Andrew Lamas

Urban Studies Program / Social Justice Research Academy / University of Pennsylvania



jazz-papou-and-charlie-parker.jpg Ted Lamas and Charlie Parker, New York.

You are invited to preview the Fall 2014 SYLLABUS of my course — LIBERATION & OWNERSHIP — at the University of Pennsylvania: URBS 480 Fall 2014 SYLLABUS rev. 09-16-2014

Social Justice Research Academy: SYLLABUS 2014


The Social Justice Research Academy, held annually every July at the University of Pennsylvania, is for high school students—from across the USA and around the world—who are interested in the theory, history, and contemporary practice of social justice. In 2014, 53 students from four continents gathered together for three weeks—with Penn faculty from a wide range of disciplines and with activists from the arenas of economy, politics, religion, education, immigration, food, health, culture, community development, and more:

  • to engage in a wide range of critical inquiries and discussions,
  • to attend provocative lectures, films, and site visits, and
  • to participate in activities and workshops, including Theatre of the Oppressed.

Click here to review our 2014 SYLLABUS. 

Click here for registration information. 

 Please direct inquiries to Prof. Andy Lamas at: 


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You are invited to preview my Syllabus for the Spring 2015 course — GLOBAL URBAN POVERTY — a graduate offering in the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania:  This course will meet on Mondays, 9am-12noon. [Schedule Note: The first class meeting will be on Wednesday, January 14, 2015; and, the class will not meet on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday on Monday, January 19, 2015.]

As this syllabus is always being revised in light of the latest research and global developments, comments and suggestions — particularly from prospective students — will be warmly welcomed and appreciated.  Please note: This course, sponsored by PennDesign for graduate students in the Master’s degree program in City Planning (MCP), is open to graduate students across the University of Pennsylvania. Serious undergraduates may enroll with course faculty permission.

For more information about the course, please write to me at:


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This wonderful book by Mark O’Brien (Senior Research Fellow, University of Liverpool) has become a staple in my courses at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Fiftieth Anniversary of Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man

Click Here:
February 10, 2015
This year—2014—is the fiftieth anniversary of one of the twentieth century’s
most provocative, subversive, and widely read works of radical theory—
Herbert Marcuse’s 
One-Dimensional Man
To mark the occasion, 
a special issue of the 
Radical Philosophy Review 
will be published.  
You are invited to contribute to the project
of developing critical theory for our time 
by joining us in exploring, critiquing, assessing, and extending
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Brandeis Conference on Herbert Marcuse: October 1-2, 2014


You are invited to attend the upcoming conference — “The Many Dimensions of Herbert Marcuse” — at Brandeis University (Waltham, MA) on October 1-2, 2014.  The keynote addresses will be delivered by Martin Jay (UC, Berkeley) and Douglas Kellner (UCLA). For more information and to register:




International Herbert Marcuse Society


Bread & Roses Community Fund: Tribute for Change 2014

Bread & Roses TRIBUTE TO CHANGE Conscience and Freedom 2014


You are warmly invited to support and attend this great event!

The Philadelphia region’s favorite social justice community event – the Tribute to Change – is coming up on Tuesday, June 24, 2014!

Will you help us honor this amazing group of social change leaders by sponsoring the Tribute to Change or buying an ad?

Will you sponsor the Tribute to Change to show your friends, family, and colleagues that you support real change? Just as we cheer for our honorees, we proudly announce your name as a sponsor because your support deserves applause. When you sponsor, you affirm our work and our deep commitment to community organizing as the best way to deliver real change.

Go to the sponsorship and ad form 

Thank you!



CALL FOR PAPERS (deadline: June 30, 2014)

CALL FOR PAPERS (deadline: June 30, 2014)