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Date(s) - 11/10/2022
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Seminar Hall


Colonial Gazetteers, Print Culture and the Making of a Provincial Identity


Professor Sachidananda Mohanty
Guest Fellow, IIAS, Shimla

Following the lead of postcolonial critics like Thomas R. Metcalf, Leela Gandhi and others, the study of colonial encounters has gone beyond dominationsubjugation categories, held sacrosanct for long. Critics have shown that the imperial gaze often functioned in a complex, many-sided and non-reductive manner. At the same time, the upsurge of Raj nostalgia in recent decades has
not effaced the nature of the colonial state and the role of mercantile capitalism. This talk will examine the role of the district gazetteers as an important organ for the making of the print culture in colonial Odisha. Containing an amazing medley of data and statistics, vital to the functioning of the colonial state, along with an impressive body of cultural knowledge, the treatment of men, matters and people here comes inevitably with an admixture of sympathy and antipathy; it illuminates our understanding of regimes of power and the nature of the colonial state seeking the welfare of the subject people. What is the afterlife of this important but somewhat neglected genre? The talk will attempt to find some answers.