Dr. Anup Kumar, a professor of communication in Cleveland State’s School of Communication, recently paid a virtual visit to FLAME University (India) to lecture on “Alternative Ontologies and Epistemologies: Is There an Indian Way of Knowing and Theorizing in Social Sciences?” Dr. Kumar’s lecture examined an essay by poet A.K. Ramanujam to determine if there is a distinctly Indian way of knowing and theorizing in the social sciences. Dr. Kumar explains Ramanujam’s argument that an Indian way of thinking previously existed, although in plural fashion, but has since been lost “because of the way the colonial educational system was [and] the way the [Indian] society moved forward as a result of [European] colonization.” In light of the western hegemony of rationalistic inquiry, Dr. Kumar argues for a ontological and epistemological pluralism where ways of knowing (epistemologies) and the meaning of what is known (ontology) are culturally-rooted, context-dependent, and can handle ambiguity. This will lead to “alternative theories of society, culture, polities, and economies” that are not solely based on one particular, Eurocentric worldview.
Dr. Kumar studies media, politics, and political movements. He is well published in several peer-reviewed communication and political science journals and is the author of The Making of a Small State: Populist Social Mobilisation and the Hindi Press in the Uttarakhand Movement (2011). You can watch the guest lecture at Flame University here.