01. How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom:Matt Ridley in conversation with Shruti Rajagopalan
How Innovation Works: And Why it Flourishes in Freedom by Matt Ridley is a fascinating analysis of innovations across time and history. It argues that innovation is an incremental bottom-up and unpredictable process resulting from human exchange. The Fifth Viscount, Ridley is a hereditary peer who has been a member of the British Parliament and is also the author of The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge and The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves. In conversation with scholar, economist and columnist Shruti Rajagopalan, he discusses the importance of collective and collaborative innovation and its significance in the shaping of the 21st century.
02. Winners Take AllAnand Giridharadas in conversation with Kanishk Tharoor
Political philosopher and provocateur Anand Giridharadas takes on the privileged classes in his scorching new book, the bestselling Winners Take All. It investigates the global elite’s efforts to “change the world” except in ways that threaten the social order and their position atop it. This searing critique of modern plutocrats who seek to do more good but never less harm is described as a call to action for elites and everyday citizens alike. A session that offers transformative perspectives to complex societal problems. In conversation with author and critic Kanishk Tharoor.
03. Bollywood- In Search of the Feminine GazeRicha Chadha in conversation Surpiya Dravid
Bollywood, and the Indian film industry in general, is dominated by men and tends to have an innately masculine bias. However, recent trends have shown films centred around women actors and themes making their mark. The spirited and hugely popular actor Richa Chadha speaks of searching for the feminine sensibility and the important perspectives it represents. Chadha has a background in theater. Her major films include Masaan, Gangs of Wasseypur, and Sarabjit. She has won awards and accolades, received both critical and popular success as an actor, and consistently spoken up against patriarchy, misogyny, and injustice. In conversation with Supriya Dravid, she speaks of her career, films, and beliefs.
04. Myth and ModernityAmish and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni in conversation Vayu Naidu
Myth is the story that cannot be confined or constricted by time and place. The burgeoning myths that are being told and re-told around the world have origins dating back thousands of years, stretching their limbs into the current time as their relevance is estimated and assessed. The speakers in this session are admirably poised to assess the cultural impact of myths in the current global setting. Amish, currently Director of the Nehru Center in London, is the bestselling author of the Shiva Trilogy, Rama Trilogy, and most recently, Legend of Suheldev. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's bestselling works include Mistress of Spices, Palace of Illusions, and Forest of Enchantments.In conversation with author and performance storyteller Vayu Naidu, the session will examine the interplay of modernity and ancient myth.
Inaugural Address: Brave New World:Address by Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Aseem R. Mahajan - The Consul General of India in Houston, Sanjoy K. Roy, Namita Gokhale, William Dalrymple, Stephanie Todd-Wong, and Rich Levy
Keynote Session: Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America:W. Caleb McDaniel in conversation with Morgan Jerkins
05. Akbar: The Great MughalIra Mukhoty in conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy
Akbar was the most admired of all the Mughals and one of only two Indian rulers to be widely known as “The Great” but before Ira Mukhoty’s writings, he has been without a modern biography. Here, Mukhoty talks to Sanjoy K. Roy about her groundbreaking study that led to her latest book, Akbar: The Great Mughal.
06. Each of Us Writers: Diaspora and Displacement:Jenny Bhatt and Mimi Lok in conversation with Neelanjana Banerjee
Presented by Indiaspora
Identities morph and change with borders and geographies. How do diasporic writers address displacement-driven themes of rootlessness, marginalization, fragmentation, alienation, isolation, nostalgia, assimilation, acculturation, adaptation, multiculturalism, and more in their fiction? How do they choose whose stories to tell? How do they navigate their own quests to belong, given their cultural loyalties? As diasporic writers in the US, Jenny Bhatt and Mimi Lok will speak to Neelanjana Banerjee on how displacement, whether physical or cultural or both, has shaped their storytelling and their own identities as writers.
07. The End of OctoberLawrence Wright in conversation with Omar El Akkad
The End of October by celebrated journalist and writer Lawrence Wright is an eerily timed novel on the catastrophic impact of a mysterious virus that ravages the world. Wright is also the author of books such as God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. In a conversation with writer Omar El Akkad, he discusses a world which seems no stranger than our reality and the history of viral diseases and its impact on global institutions.
08. I Can't BreatheHomi K. Bhabha in conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy
A crucial session exploring the deep rooted changes sending waves through the social fabric of the United States of America and the after effects felt across the world. In the midst of a global pandemic, this year has seen massive Black Lives Matter protests coming to the forefront right before a national election. This socio-cultural and political upheaval has led to the questioning of a plethora of issues ranging from the present gun laws to the existing health care situation of minority communities in the country. Scholar and critical theorist Homi K. Bhabha is the Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. His work explores postcolonial theory, cultural change, and power. His books include Nation and Narration and The Location of Culture. In a conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy, he discusses a wide range of inter-connected issues that arise from human unpreparedness and the steps forward to a more inclusive world.