Past Events

"How the Vernacular Became Regional: Language and Territory in Colonial Orissa" presented by Pritipuspa Mishra

Pritipuspa Mishra is a Fung Fellow at Princeton University.

This paper tracks the process of-- what I would like to call-- ‘the colonial vernacularization of India’ in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In this period, the new Colonial state’s efforts to understand and rule its Indian dominion resulted in the establishment of major regional Indian languages as mother tongues with discrete geographical, demographic and political constituencies. By tracking this process and its unexpected consequences in regional India, I suggest that we need to rethink the way the term ‘vernacular’ is understood in post-colonial scholarly discussions on linguistic politics in multi-lingual India.

Mirroring a precolonial process of vernacularization during what Sheldon Pollock has called the vernacular millennium, colonial vernacularization was driven by both the new colonial state’s administrative needs as well as reigning ideologies of language in the colonial metropole. Regimes of juridical administration, philological enquiries as well as educational policy led to meticulous linguistic mapping of India in the early to mid-nineteenth century. While these changes resulted in the colonial state’s categorization of its Indian subjects into discrete linguistic groups, the mechanics of this mapping engaged Indian subjects in vociferous debates about the boundaries between languages and their people. In founding the access of the newly colonized to the emergent colonial state, languages came to be deeply contested ground among regional Indian elite. Under such circumstances, claims that certain languages were ‘vernacular’ to certain areas were already implicated in colonial relations of power and native politics of representation. Vernacular, therefore, was not merely indigenous and local, but it was also the vehicle of native power.

Dates: 
Monday, March 3, 2014 - 12:00pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

TAPSA Talk - Professor Don Davis

"Rules in Culture and Metaculture according to Mīmāṃsā and Dharmaśāstra"

Presented in cooperation with the Study of Ancient Religions

Dates: 
Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 4:30pm
TBA

South Asia Seminar - Jocelyn Chua

“'Between the Devil and the Deep Sea': Suicide and Stories of Development in Contemporary Kerala"

Dates: 
Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 4:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

TAPSA Talk - Ilanit Loewy Shacham

"Unexpected Lessons in Unexpected Places: An Untouchable Devotee and a Man-Eating Demon Talk (Śrī)Vaisnavism at the Heart of Kṛṣṇadevarāya’s Āmuktamālyada"

Dates: 
Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 4:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

South Asia Seminar - Sonal Khullar

"Scratches in Time: M.F. Husain's Through the Eyes of A Painter (1967)"

Dates: 
Thursday, February 6, 2014 - 4:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

Film Screening Monsoon Oracle

The Monsoon Oracle is a factual film, directed by Shrenik Rao. It is an intimate portrayal of the central festival of Telangana, called Bonalu.

Set in Hyderabad, India’s fifth largest city, this film narrates stories of women and men who dedicate their lives to enacting the roles of the Hindu Goddess Mahankali’s oracles and to the role of Pothuraju, the goddess’ whip wielding brother.

The film presents an insight into extraordinary ritualistic practices that are performed every year in India in the hope of a bountiful monsoon and explores the emotional and psychological dimensions of these annual role enactments.

The dialogue takes place in Telugu with English subtitles. The narration is in English.

Screening followed by a Q&A with the Director and reception

Dates: 
Friday, January 31, 2014 - 12:00pm to 3:00pm

TAPSA Talk - Ralph Austen

"The Banality of Virtue: State Capacity, Corruption and the Indigenous Bureaucracies of Colonial Africa and India"

Dates: 
Thursday, January 30, 2014 - 4:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

Film Screening - The Monsoon Oracle

Q&A session with the director Shrenik Rao and reception to follow

Dates: 
Monday, January 27, 2014 - 3:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

South Asia Seminar - Rich Freeman

Dates: 
Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 4:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)

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