[CSH Lecture Series #6 – ONLINE]
Language as Privilege: English and its Others in Contemporary India (S. Deshpande)

Event Details

Satish Deshpande

University of Delhi

Language as Privilege:
English and its Others in Contemporary India

The session will be online via Zoom on 2 November 2020, 5:00 pm onwards:

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Abstract: In India, the link between English and social privilege has been treated as self-evident for some time now. But our complacency about its role as a marker of distinction, and especially about the precise modalities by which it achieves its effects, may be misplaced. Never simple even in the past, the contemporary place and functioning of the English language is more complicated than might seem at first glance. Two sites of inquiry seem particularly promising—modes of acquisition, and relational dynamics. How is English acquired, and what are the consequences of its being acquired in particular ways? If the potency of English is primarily relational, how do we begin to describe the variety of ways in which it interacts with Indian languages?

Speaker: Satish Deshpande, M.A. (Economics) (J.N.U.), M.A., Ph.D. (University of California), is Professor of Sociology at University of Delhi (Delhi School of Economics, Department of Sociology). His research interests include caste and class inequalities, contemporary social theory, politics and history of the social sciences and south-south interactions. He is the author of Contemporary India: A Sociological View (2003) and (with Ghanshyam Shah, Harsh Mander, Sukhadeo Thorat and Amita Baviskar) Untouchability in Rural India (2006). He has co-edited with Patricia Uberoi and Nandini Sundar Anthropology in the East, Founders of Indian Sociology and Anthropology (2007) and Class Inequalities, Contemporary Social Theory, Politics and History of the Social Sciences and South-South Interactions.

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