Vicissitudes of Orientalism. Re-examining the Indian Origin of the Roma
A large number of Orientalist scholars have provocatively claimed that the (European) Roma community originated from India. The search for the »origin« of the Roma, based on a structural analysis of the Romani language, started as early as the eighteenth century, and the premise of the claim more often than not rests on homophony and syntax – sometimes rather flimsy – between the Romani and certain Indic languages. My project questions the structuralist premise that buttresses such claims and problematizes the methodological apparatuses deployed therein. It seeks to understand: Why are scholars and savants obsessed with »re-discovering« the »primordial« connection between »India« and the Roma? How does the narratorial articulation about the Romanies and the claim in support of their purported Indian origin forge links with the imagination of »India« Were such claims arrived at analytically, or posed in order to reinforce the Orientalist worldview?
Avishek Ray unterrichtet am National Institute of Technology in Silchar, Indien. Er arbeitet an der Schnittstelle zwischen Literatur-, Medien- und Kulturwissenschaft. Er ist Autor des Buchs The Vagabond in the South Asian Imagination: Representation, Agency & Resilience (2021, Routledge) und Mitherausgeber des Sammelbands Nation, Nationalism and the Public Sphere: Religious Politics in India (SAGE, 2020).
The Vagabond in the South Asian Imagination: Resilience, Agency and Representation, Abingdon, Oxon, New York 2022; with Ishita Banerjee-Dube (eds.), Nation, Nationalism and the Public Sphere: Religious Politics in India, New Delhi 2020; »The ›Vagabond‹ as a Nemesis of the Tourist: Toward a Postcolonial Critique of Zygmunt Bauman«, in: Tourism, Culture and Communication (Special Issue on »Critical Tourism Studies«), Vol. 20: 2–3, 2020, pp. 107–116.
Avishek Ray, currently IFK_Research Fellow, will discuss his book over an online talk at the Institute of Culture Studies and History of Theatre, Austrian Academy of Sciences.
JOUR FIXE KULTURWISSENSCHAFTEN
Twilight Zomia of the Nation State: The Vagabond in the South Asian Imagination
Avishek Ray (National Institute of Technology Silchar, IFK_Research Fellow)
In administering territorial borders, the postcolonial nation-building apparatus, in the context of South Asia, intervened with indigenous practices of nomadism. The colonial episteme could not make sense of certain vernacular practices of mobility, when approached from the perspective of instrumental rationality and viewed through imperial eyes. Distinguishing the good traveler from the bad traveler became a colonial agenda, and within the remit of this taxonomic practice, the category vagabond would be invented and deployed as catch-all to indiscriminately cast out travelers and itinerants who posed an enigma for the colonial episteme. This talk draws on The Vagabond in the South Asian Imagination Resilience, Agency and Representation (2021), and unpacks the heuristic category vagabond and highlights the convergence between the politics of itinerancy and that of dissent in the context of South Asia.
Termin: 24. März 2022, 16:30-18:00
Ort: Live-Stream (via Zoom). Wir bitten Sie um eine Anmeldung bis 22.3. per Mail an firstname.lastname@example.org und senden Ihnen danach gerne den Zugangslink.
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The ostracization of European Roma populations is often premised on claims that they originated from elsewhere. Intriguingly, the idea of their Indian origins is embraced and rejected in almost equal proportions. What does this entail epistemologically? How does this (re)configure ideas about »India«?