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Mon, 31 Oct

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Online workshop

History and Her Source

An online workshop by Aloka Parasher-Sen with V. Rajesh, Aruna Pariti and Sagnik Saha

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History and Her Source
History and Her Source

Time & Location

31 Oct 2022, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm IST

Online workshop

About the Event

Based on our recent endeavour published as Seeking History Through her Source, South of the Vindhyas (Orient Blackswan, 2022) this Workshop shall introduce participants to the fragment, the story, the poem among an array of other sources that come alive in writing the history of regions and localities of India. The aim is to highlight the centrality of unconventional sources and emphasize on the particularity of these sources to build a counter narrative that asserts its own individuality so that historical experiences of regions, localities and people are no longer treated in terms of a lack or, found to be totally absent in narratives on the history of India. In doing so we also positively seek to appeal to difference and project this as a desirable feature giving value to those whose identities neglected so far.

The Workshop shall interrogate (1) an earlier known source – coin or inscription—which may have been rejected because it was available only in fragments (2) a written or visual source which may have been used earlier only for a particular kind of conventional history; political or monumental in nature (3) literature that had erroneously been used to cite ‘facts’ when in fact it  had narrativized perceptions of the past and finally, (4) the problematizing  attempts to uplift a story or a poem as a source for the historical past.

Some case studies shall be highlighted in the Workshop to exemplify the above. With a focus on history of the Tamil language and literature a discussion on the place of diaries, autobiographies to examine the literary-historical process and thus move beyond seeing literature merely as a source of history, to look at inscribed coins found in localities that enable us to move beyond the meta political narratives, the reading of different types of inscriptions and their value in writing the history of economic and social issues beyond merely the  political and to keenly observe literary perceptions of labour, peasants and environment as found in stories, fictional narratives and prescriptive texts.

As stated at the beginning of the book cited above it is high time that we move from a “singular voice of history to one that is multivocal” by emphatically asserting footnotes that address the multifarious ways of reading different types of sources in order to seek history through them.

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