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India, History, and Hope

Second Annual CISA Lecture by Sheldon Pollock, Columbia University

Tuesday, May 01, 2007
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Presentation Room 11348
UCLA Young Research Library
Los Angeles, CA 90095

"For some years I have been attempting to understand the relationship between global and local cultural and political practices through a comparative history of literary culture. Literature is one of the prime instruments for the creation of community, for it is in part from acts of reading, hearing, performing, reproducing, sharing and circulating literary texts that social groups come to produce themselves and understand themselves as groups. In their antiquity, continuity, and multilingual complexity the literatures of India are unparalleled for the light they shed on these practices over a very long term. And when we study their history before the coming of colonial modernity we encounter forms of culture-power unlike any known elsewhere, and which are not easily accommodated in modern Western theory, its universalist aspirations notwithstanding. The conceptual unmanageability of this “strangest of all possible anomalies,” as Macaulay’s unintended compliment has it, offers the hope that only real, or once-real, places can offer for a utopian reconciliation of global and local ways of being in the world." -- Sheldon Pollock

Sheldon Pollock is the William B. Ransford Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, and Chair of the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures in Columbia University.


Sponsor(s): Center for India and South Asia

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