Do rising expectations create revolutions? Baker-Nord Center’s Oct. 9 talk explores idea

Headline news increasingly reports reactions to information gone viral. “Is There Revolutionary Potential in Rising Expectations?”—a talk by cultural anthropologist Arjun Appadurai, founder and president of Partners for Urban Knowledge Action and Research (PUKAR) in Mumbai, India—will address issues of social change in a viral world.

Appadurai will speak at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, in Ford Auditorium in Allen Memorial Library. The free, public program, presented by the Case Western Reserve University Baker-Nord Center for Humanities, continues the center’s yearlong theme of revolution and change.

The social and cultural anthropologist analyzes social changes in a modern and global world where technologies that feed the Internet with information. This viral information has potential to incite remote reactions and responses near and far, from anti-Wall Street in the U.S., to anti-corruptions movement in India. Appadurai will address how they share similarities.

Appadurai, the former provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at The New School in New York City, leads the nonprofit PUKAR, which creates collaborative research and projects focused on social issues in India. He is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.

Born and raised in India, Appadurai received his college education in the U.S., where he earned his bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago. He has had academic appointments at Yale, University of Chicago and University of Pennsylvania, as well as visiting professor positions at prestigious U.S. and foreign institutions.

He is a founding editor with Carol Breckenridge of the journal Public Culture and is the founding director of the Chicago Humanities Institute at the University of Chicago.

Appadurai has authored numerous books and articles, for example, Fear of Small Numbers:  An Essay on the Geography of Anger and Modernity at Large:  Cultural Dimensions of Globalization.

For more information, call Maggie Kaminski in the Baker-Nord Center at 216.368.2242 or email