South Asia

Organized Panel Session

Print, Poetry, and Imagining Publics in British India

Saturday, July 7
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Gulmohar, First Floor

The work of assembling, uncovering, erasing, and indeed inventing geographies and genealogies has been the implicit task of public formation in modern South Asia. Indeed, the public and the nation often become synonymous in scholarship. The three papers of this panel are concerned to unpack space and place construction through the deployment of time and history in the late colonial period. Together these papers complicate the assumed natural relationships between, on the one hand, the advent of print and its associated technologies in South Asia, and, on the other, the “imagined community” of the nation. While acknowledging the significance of nationality, the panel displaces its centrality in public formation by focusing on other referents, particularly among South Asia’s Muslims. Ali Khan’s paper looks at innovations in 18-19th century Muslim poetry and its relationship to evolving categories of community (ummah) and nation (qaum); Megan Eaton Robb’s paper explores the counter-nationalisms of periodical culture in the qasbahs of Rohilkhand, suggesting new approaches to the public as an analytical category accommodating inertia as well as effervescence; Faridah Zaman’s paper reconstructs the world as it was imagined in the pages of leading Indian Muslim newspapers in the 1910s. These were the forums in which the geographies and genealogies attendant in organizing concepts such as “empire” and “nation,” or indeed “India” and “Asia”, were iteratively re-imagined. Through recovering erasures and inventions in nation construction, this panel aims to produce new analytical tools for considering the relationship between print capital, community formation, and the state.

Faridah Zaman

University of Chicago, United States

Presentation(s):

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Megan E. Robb

University of Pennsylvania, United States

Presentation(s):

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Faridah Zaman

University of Chicago, United States

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Faridah Zaman

Megan E. Robb

University of Pennsylvania, United States

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Megan Robb

Mohammad A. A. Khan

Ashoka University, India

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Mohammad Khan


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