DATE: Tuesday, April 27, 2021
TIME: 9am Berkeley | 4pm London | 9pm Lahore | 9:30pm New Delhi | Calculate Your Local Time
This event will also be live streamed on the Institute's FB page: ISASatUCBerkeley
In this talk Prof. Deshpande will examine how modern regional languages in the subcontinent - characterized as the regional vernaculars, or deshabhashas with deep roots in a specific desh or geographic region - were located in space and time, in history from the nineteenth century onwards. She will focus on the Marathi language and the region of Maharashtra in western India, and highlight the conceptual, technological and cultural work that went into producing what we consider today as a natural equation between language and region, and linguistic and regional, cultural identity. In particular, She will highlight the role of philology and etymology, and practices of script and orthography in fleshing out the distinctiveness of Marathi as a language, and its trajectory from past to present. Prof. Deshpande's broader interest, in fleshing out these debates and practices, is to reflect on the many valences of the category of 'deshi' in the context of language, and the ways in which its enduring appeal has structured language history, study, and policy in modern South Asia.
Prachi Deshpande is Associate Professor in History at Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata. Her research focuses on social and cultural history of historiography, language, and regional identities. Her path-breaking book Creative Pasts: Historical Memory and Identity in Western India, 1700-1960 (2007) examined the emergence of modern history-writing practices in the Marathi-speaking areas of western India, and the importance of historical memory in shaping an enduring Maharashtrian regional identity.
Dr. Deshpandes essays and book chapters include The Writerly Self: Discourses of Literate Practice in Early Modern Western India, in Indian Economic and Social History Review (2016), Scripting the Cultural History of Language: Modi in the Colonial Archive, in Partha Chatterjee, Tapati Guha-Thakurta and Bodhisattva Kar, eds. New Cultural Histories of India (2014), Pasts in the Plural: A Review Essay on Bhalchandra Nemades Hindu: Jaganyaachi Samruddha Adagal, in Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences (2010).
In 2020, Deshpande received the Infosys Prize for Humanities History for her extraordinarily nuanced and highly sophisticated treatment of South Asian historiography.
The event is FREE and OPEN to the public.