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The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library

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‘The Long Indian Century: Historical transitions and social transformations’,2-4 July, 2014

in association with

Prof. Philip Murphy,
School of Advanced Study,
University of London, UK,
Prof. K. Sivaramakrishnan
and
Dr. Karuna Mantena,
Yale University, USA
and
The Indian Institute of Advanced Study,
Shimla.

Concept Note:

In 1900 Lord Curzon was the Viceroy of the British Empire in India and illusions of permanence, as Francis Hutchins noted, reigned in the imperial imagination. The Indian freedom struggle was still in its early stages, and admittedly, a tepid version of the broader, and often violent, social movements that would emerge as part of the anti-colonial struggle in the aftermath of the First World War. By 2000, India, like the rest of the world, has become a very different place, the nation debating and developing narratives that would keep its constituents together while ensuring the promise of pluralism enshrined in its Constitution. Scholarly undertakings that for a long time primarily engaged with the anti-colonial struggle have now recognised the pertinence and importance of the ‘long’ twentieth century, taking the longer perspective to understand historical as well as today’s socio-cultural, political and economic problems. Historians and histories of this period are engaging with India’s transition from colony or part of the imperium to a nation-state, and its historiography is addressing India’s complex engagements with new forms of empire and the legacies of earlier periods. This conference will discuss these shifts in historical and social scientific inquiry through the broad rubric of the ‘legacies of empire and beyond’. In so doing, it moves away from a narrow focus on the anti-colonial struggle and its major epochal figures. Instead, it will highlight and problematize equally important and often new fields of research, scholarship and debate that interrogate our social, cultural, economic, and gendered lives. Simultaneously, the papers will engage with the conceptual and methodological issues challenging and shaping scholarly interventions, the terrains of debate and the reproduction of knowledge. The conference will bring together historians, social scientists, and public intellectuals, who have thought innovatively about the twentieth century, and the manner in which our more recent past impinges upon our present, through original research, creative analysis and questions. Over three days the participants will deliberate on what the Indian twentieth century tells us about its variety of histories, and equally importantly, their production and representation. Through themes such as ‘religion, gender and identities’, ‘caste and its manifestations’, ‘the grids of empire’, and ‘archives and historiography’, the conference will track the related histories of empire and the nation-state, and our quotidian lives, and also what makes for history-writing. It will investigate the complex genealogies of religiosity and religious identity, political and social thought, and social exclusion and marginalisation of important groups like women and dalits to name a few . The two round table discussions will revolve around the growth and robustness of important fields like economic history, and ‘contemporary history’. We hope to take cognisance of how such social and historical analyses are shaped by the problems and challenges of a largely young country encountering technological revolutions, the new media, growing economic prosperity, and new opportunities as well as exacerbated social and economic disparities that the long Indian twentieth century brought in its wake.

Program Schedule:    Wednesday, 2 July 2014

11.00 a.m. – 11.05 a.m.
Welcome:
Prof. Mahesh Rangarajan,
Director, NMML,
New Delhi.
11.05 a.m. - 11.30 a.m.
Introduction:

Prof. Philip Murphy,

School of Advanced Study,

University of London, UK,

Dr. Karuna Mantena,
Yale University,

USA.

11.30 a.m. – 1.30 p.m. Session: 1
‘Religion, Gender and Identity’
Chair: Dr. Charu Gupta,
University of Delhi,
Delhi.
Speakers: Dr. Malavika Kasturi,
NMML,
New Delhi.
‘Monasticism and Constructions of Hinduism in Early Twentieth Century India’

Dr. Uma Chakravarti,
Formerly at University of Delhi,
Delhi.
‘Two Women and a Long Century: Reconstructing women’s lives from the small archive’
1.30 p.m – 2.30 p.m. Lunch
2.30 p.m.– 4.30 p.m. Session: 2
‘Caste and its Manifestations’
Chair: Prof. Udaya Kumar,
NMML
New Delhi.
Speaker: Prof. Badri Narayan,
G.B. Pant Social Science Institute,
Allahabad.
‘Fault Lines: Invisible Dalits and democracy’

Prof. A. R. Venkatachalapathy,
Madras Institute of Development Studies,
Chennai.
‘The Double-Barrelled Gun: The dynamics of the Dravida Kazhagam (DK) and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)’
9.00 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. Thursday, 3 July 2014

Session: 3
Round Table: I
‘Contemporary History’
Chair: Dr. Vasudha Pande,
NMML,
New Delhi.
Speaker: Ms. Ritu Menon,
Women Unlimited,
New Delhi.
‘Feminist Biography and a Political Biography of Post-Independence India’

Dr. Anshu Malhotra,
NMML,
New Delhi.
‘The Past in the Present: Reinventing the Gulabdasi sect’

Dr. Diya Mehra,
South Asian University,
New Delhi.
‘‘The Relevance of Contemporary History: A view from urban studies’

Dr. Karuna Mantena,
Yale University,
USA.
‘Intellectual History and the Long Twentieth Century: Rethinking the genealogies of Indian democracy’

Dr. Yogesh Snehi,
Indian Institute of Advanced Study,
Shimla.
‘Locating Popular Veneration’
11.30 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. Tea /Coffee
Chair: Prof. Farhat Hasan,
University of Delhi,
Delhi
Speaker: Prof. Francesca Orsini,
School of Oriental and African Studies,
UK.
‘Literary Archives and Literary History’ or ‘Literary Archives and Modern Literary History’

Dr. Rakhee Kalita,
NMML,
New Delhi.
‘Rumour, Rhetoric and Rebellion in Assam: Encountering the archive’
2.00 p.m. – 3.00 p.m. Lunch
3.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m. Session: 5

Round Table II
‘Economy’
Chair: Mr. Anil Nauriya,
NMML.
Speaker: Prof. Raman Mahadevan,
Independent Researcher,
Chennai.
‘Beyond the British Sphere: German capital in inter war India’

Mr. Harish Damodaran,
Business Line,
New Delhi.
‘Indian Capital and its Changing Social Base’
9.00 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. Friday, 4 July 2014

Session: 6
‘Grids of the Empire’
Chair: Prof. Madhavan Palat,
Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund,
New Delhi.
Speaker: Dr. Rohit De,
Trinity Hall,
University of Cambridge,
UK.
‘The Everyday Life of the Indian Constitution’

Prof. Mahesh Rangarajan,
NMML.
'Ecology and Empire'
11.30 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. Tea /Coffee
12.00 p.m. – 1.00 p.m. Session: 7
Concluding Remarks
Chair: Prof. Philip Murphy,
School of Advanced Study,
University of London,
UK.
Speaker: Dr. Anshu Malhotra,
NMML,
New Delhi.
Dr. Malavika Kasturi,
NMML,
New Delhi.
1.00 p.m. Lunch
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