Caste is among the oldest and most stubbornly entrenched forms of social inequality in human history. And as an object of research, it is “entangled” in intellectual and political agendas that have their own history, primarily but not exclusively tied to B. R. Ambedkar’s radical critique of caste as an ideology and institution in the middle of the twentieth century. Where does the study of caste stand today? In particular, how do we evaluate the place of what is today called Dalit studies within the wider study of caste? How and why have our perspectives on caste and what used to be called untouchability changed? This conference brings together some of the most prominent researchers on caste from a variety of disciplines to ask what conceptual, disciplinary, and organizational tools we will need to carry the critical study of caste forward into the twenty-first century.
Gajendran Ayyathurai (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)
Laura Brueck (Northwestern University)
Charu Gupta (Delhi University)
Meena Kandasamy (Independent)
Sanal Mohan (Mahatma Gandhi University)
Doug Ober (University of British Columbia)
Shailaja Paik (University of Cincinnati)
Kaneesha Parsard (University of Chicago)
Ramnarayan Rawat (University of Delaware)
Register to attend here.
About the Research Project
The Entanglements of the Indian Past project aims to make the study of the Indian past more self-conscious of the forces that have shaped it. A three-year series of interdisciplinary workshops will focus on three issues where serious engagement is critical: caste, materiality, and historicality. The project pairs each of these issues with a crossroad moment in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century that determined the course that the study of the Indian past would take: Rahul Sankrityayan’s quest for a past that mirrored his commitments to justice and equality in the present, Muni Jinavijaya’s efforts to free Indian thought from the limitations of manuscript textuality, and Georg Bühler’s vision of recovering the history of a country that, according to a commonplace, “has no history.” Each of these moments reveals the intensity of political commitment, and the depth of vision, involved in studying the Indian past. This project will attempt to answer where such scholarship might go in the future.