Waqas Khwaja to Discuss Contributions of Sir William Jones

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Agnes Scott Professor of English Waqas Khwaja will deliver this year’s Joseph R. Gladden Jr. Lecture, titled “Sir William Jones: An Imperial Appetite,” on Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. in the Julia Thompson Smith Chapel. The event is free and open to the public. Reception immediately follows in the Bullock Science Center Atrium.

Waqas KhwajaKhwaja will discuss the diverse and complicated contributions of Sir William Jones (1746-1794) to the fields of Indology, Linguistics and British romanticism. Jones accomplished in his short life (he was just short of 48 when he died) what most people would find impossible to achieve over several lifetimes. He was a polymath, and distinguished in all he pursued. Yet he has been relegated to relative obscurity since his time.

Khwaja’s lecture investigates the subject from a postcolonial perspective, so that, in contextualizing Jones’ achievements against the backdrop of the British Empire, it endeavors to nuance the nature of his achievements and map the contradictory impulses that combined to drive this extraordinary man towards his life’s work.

Khwaja specializes in the areas of Victorian, romantic literature and postcolonial literature and also teaches courses in creative writing. He has published critical articles on English, Postcolonial, Urdu and Punjabi writers and edited two anthologies of Pakistani literature, translating fiction and poetry from Urdu and Punjabi into English. He has also published three volumes of original poetry and a literary travelogue about his experience as a participant in the University of Iowa's International Writing Program.

A native of Pakistan, he was a practicing lawyer, professor of law and a regular columnist for the national papers before migrating to the States in 1994. His recent publications include Modern Poetry of Pakistan, featuring the works of 44 poets translated from seven different languages, co-edited with Iftikhar Arif, and No One Waits for the Train, a collection of poems about events surrounding the partition of India.

The Gladden Award recognizes a faculty member whose scholarly activities are especially noteworthy. Recipients give a public lecture on a topic related to his or her scholarly work. A $1,000 stipend and release from teaching one course during the semester in which the lecture is scheduled assists the lecturer in creating the presentation.

The award honors Joe Gladden, who served as chair of the Agnes Scott College Board of Trustees for 10 years before retiring in 2002.

Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location—offering myriad social, cultural and experiential learning opportunities. This highly selective liberal arts college is known for its diverse and dynamic intellectual community. Through SUMMIT, it provides every student, regardless of major, with an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and understanding of complex global dynamics.