[CSH Seminar #ONLINE] Reordering Adivasi Worlds: Representation, Resistance, Memory (S. Dasgupta)

[CSH Seminar #ONLINE] Reordering Adivasi Worlds: Representation, Resistance, Memory (S. Dasgupta)

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Dr. Sangeeta Dasgupta

(Associate Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, JNU)

Reordering Adivasi Worlds:

Representation, Resistance, Memory

Discussant: Dr. Reeju Ray, Associate Professor, O.P. Jindal Global University

The session will be online via Zoom on 31st January 2022, 05:00 pm onwards:


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Abstract: In this talk, Dr. Dasgupta will be introducing her book Reordering Adivasi Worlds: Representation, Resistance, Memory, that has been published from Oxford University Press in October 2021.

Recounting the story of the Oraons and Tana Bhagats of Chhotanagpur in the present-day state of Jharkhand, the book questions postcolonial understandings of the category of ‘tribe’ and unravels the threads of a hierarchical adivasi world. It unpacks colonial ethnography, missionary narratives, and anthropological writings; explores issues of adivasi identity and resistance; and demonstrates how contemporary adivasi protest draws upon memories of the past.

Dr. Dasgupta argues that nineteenth- and early twentieth-century ideas of ‘tribe’ were not abstract imaginaries but structured colonial interventions. These affected the shaping of customary rights; the understanding of the rural world; and the perception of customs and practices. She analyses the ways in which Tana Bhagats questioned hierarchies among the Oraons; opposed landlords, moneylenders, and the colonial state; and engaged with Gandhi and the Congress. She also delineates how Tanas allude to their diverse experiences and distinctive memories to negotiate with the sarkar even today.

Using colonial archives, oral narratives, and contemporary pamphlets, Dr. Dasgupta examines in this book the contending ‘truths’ produced around adivasi protest, and the complex interplay between the past and the present, the oral and the written.

Sangeeta Dasgupta is an Associate Professor at the Centre of Historical Studies, JNU. She is the author of Reordering Adivasi Worlds: Representation, Resistance, Memory (OUP, 2022) and the co-editor of The Politics of Belonging: Becoming Adivasi (Routledge, 2011). Her research interests are in Adivasi Studies, Environmental History, Colonial Ethnography, Missionary Studies, Visual Representations… https://jnu.ac.in/Faculty/sdasgupta/cv.pdf


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