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Events Details

Date: August 3, 2020 - August 6, 2020
Time: All Day
Website: https://bighistory.org/members/conferences/2020-2/2020-about/
Flyer pdf: Download
Meeting Link:

Location Details

Event Location:
Pune India, Pune, Pune, Maharastra, India


The International Big History Association’s Fifth Global Conference, in collaboration with Symbiosis International University, will be held in the summer of 2020 in India. Its theme focuses on Changing the World: Community, Science and Engagement with Big History. The IBHA has held conferences on meaning, teaching and research, and so now will address issues of community and change around our planet. In other words: How can big history help us in its application to world issues?

India is a powerhouse of innovative development, with cultural and intellectual traditions reaching back thousands of years. Symbiosis is an embodiment of this heritage and enterprise, a truly modern synthesis. Situated along the Mula-Mutha River, its six campuses in the city of Pune lie on the Deccan Plateau, 600 meters above the Arabian Sea.

Founded in 1971, Symbiosis International University was begun with the intent of providing a “home away from home” for African and Asian students studying in India. Its students come from more than 85 countries, so, appropriately, their Sanskrit motto is वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् – Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – “The World is One Family.” A not-for-profit university, Symbiosis serves almost 30,000 students.

First Big History class at SSLA, Spring 2018.

Our conference will be co-sponsored by and held at the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, one of the university’s most innovative programmes. Founded in 2011, SSLA was the first liberal arts school in an Indian university and remains the only four-year degree, an Honours programme. It is home to the India Association for Big History, which formed in 2016.

In 2018, the first course in Big History began at SSLA, ‘Humanity and Big History: Our Challenge for Survival’. The course grew out of SSLA’s Anthropology Department and is co-taught by an historian and a physicist. It is a core course for all third year undergraduates. In March 2018, SSLA sponsored the First Annual Conference of Interdisciplinarity and Big History with the Asian Big History Association and J.F. Oberlin University (Tokyo), as well as the IBHA.

The conference will take place during the first week of August 2020. We have reserved Symbiosis-approved guest houses for accommodations, which are near to the SSLA campus. Rickshaws as well as Uber and Ola cabs are available, and Symbiosis will provide a bus at the start and end of each day. The accommodations, as well as meals and tea at the campus dining hall, will be available at a reasonable rate. For example, double-occupancy rooms will run at about ₹2000 ($30) a day.

Attendees are invited to arrive during the weekend of August 1st and 2nd. The Pune International Airport is less than a kilometre from our campus. You can check into your rooms, then relax and socialize with friends and colleagues. On Sunday at mid-day, we will arrange for a short tour of the city, followed by tea and a welcome presentation orienting you to India.

The conference panels will begin Monday morning and run through Thursday morning, August 3rd through 6th. On Monday and Tuesday evening, there will be interactive plenary panel presentations and a courtyard dinner. On Wednesday afternoon and evening, there will be festival on the theme of engaged creativity of South Asia. On Thursday morning, August 6th, we will have an IBHA members’ assembly.

On the afternoon of Thursday, August 6th, we will break into groups that will fly to different parts of India for theme-based interactions. The three-day seminars that we have arranged thus far with the host organizations are:

  • Mumbai, Maharashtra: “Science and a Changing Society.” Tata Institute for Fundamental Research
  • Bhuj, Kutch, Gujarat: “Landscape and Adapting Heritage.” Kachchh Heritage Arts Music Information Resources (KHAMIR)
  • Patna, Bihar: “Agrarian Life and Renewal.” Tarumitra: Friends of Trees
  • Guwahati, Assam: “Indigenous-Tribal Heritage and Innovation.” All-India Indigenous-Tribal Federation
  • Bengaluru, Karnataka: “Eco-Spirituality and new Global Needs.” Fireflies Intercultural Centre

Discussion at the Fireflies Intercultural Centre, Dinnepalya, Karnataka, June 2018.

The seminars will take place August 7th through 9th. Each location can accommodate up to about 30 participants. Attendees will stay at a local organization that is active in local change-making and will learn about their activities, including visits to their field sites. There will also be visits to heritage sites and trekking in ecological areas, in addition to panel presentations by conference and local community members.

The seminars are located near major cities, so participants can fly home from there, or proceed to other destinations on August 10. Travel into and out of India, as well as between Indian cities, is reasonably priced, especially if reservations are made well in advance. We will provide links to experienced travel agents.

In addition to the IBHA and Symbiosis, co-sponsors of the conference will include the Asian Big History Association, the India Association for Big History, and the Eurasian Centre for Megahistory & System Forecasting, as well as the seminar organizations. We will be providing a customized guidebook about India for conference attendees, sharing important information on visas, inoculations, laundry and other essential knowledge.

To register for the conference, please go to 2020 Big History Conference Registration.

We look forward to seeing you in Maharashtra!

Warm wishes,
Barry and Sulakshana
Organizers of 2020 Conference

Dr. Barry H. Rodrigue, PhD
Professor, Anthropology
Faculty-in-Charge, SSLA Collaborative
for Asian Anthropology
IBHA International Coordinator
[email protected]
Dr. Sulakshana Sen, Ph.D. (ABD)
Assistant Professor and Head of Department, International Relations, Political Science, Public Policy and Performing Arts
[email protected]
Anita Patankar, Director
Shweta Sinha Deshpande, Dep. Director

Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, Symbiosis International [Deemed University] | Pune, Maharashtra, India |

Event Posted by: Lowell Gustafson