The Department of English and Humanities at University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh held a two-day international conference from November 30- December 1, celebrating the bicentenary of Karl Marx’s birth. The event, titled ‘Language, Literature, Culture and Politics: Marx’s Bicentenary Conference’, took place at ULAB’s Dhanmondi campus, covering a range of interdisciplinary themes and focusing on the relevance of Marxist views in the contemporary world. The conference started at 10am and ended at 6pm.
On Friday, November 30, National Professor Rafiqul Islam and Professor Serajul Islam Chowdhury, Professor Emeritus, Dhaka University, spoke in the inaugural session. After that, Dr Bret Benjamin of State University of New York, presented his keynote address titled “Living amidst the catastrophes of ‘The Living Contradiction’: Theses on Marx at 200”. On the same day, Professor Salimullah Khan discussed Marx’s ideas of alienation in relation to Fanon’s discussions of the same issue in the context of colonial reality. Other sessions included a panel discussion on ‘Marxism, Literature and Culture in Bangladesh’, featuring Faruk Wasif and Dr Mohammad Azam and a session on “Creative Explorations of Marx” by Professor Kaiser Haq. There were also parallel sessions throughout the day where 18 presenters from different universities presented findings from their academic work.
On Saturday, December 1, there were two plenary sessions: the first by Professor Shamsad Mortuza, the Pro Vice Chancellor of ULAB, on ‘The Specter of Naxalgia in Meghnadbodh Rohoshyo’, and another by Professor Fakrul Alam, Pro Vice Chancellor of East West University, on ‘Karl Marx on India: A Postcolonial Perspective’. There was also a panel discussion on ‘Marxism and Social Movements in Bangladesh,’ featuring Firoz Ahmed, Samina Lutfa, Hiya Islam, Tanzimuddin Khan, Mustafa Zaman and Arup Rahi. A concluding discussion on “Bangladesh in the New Century” consisting of a panel of prominent leftist politicians and intellectuals such as Zonayed Saki, MM Akash, Mujahidul Islam Selim and Nurul Kabir drew the conference to a close. The conference ended with a cultural performance by Arup Rahee.