Heritage and the Politics of Culture
The second session is focused on Contested Heritages and it explores history, politics and representations of material culture and literary practices across the Bay of Bengal. Our participants will engage in a broader discussion on cultural and aesthetic networks, heritage politics and literary production connecting the Bay of Bengal, starting from the following questions :
- What can we know about mobility and pan-Asianist ideas by looking at the vernacular travelogues of early 20th century Bengali travelers in Burma, Thailand and Southeast Asia?
- Are ship-wrecks sites problematizing the notion of national cultural heritage, suggesting instead a transnational maritime heritage? A unique case study will interrogate heritage politics through a 9th century ship, said to be of Arab origin, which was found in the 20th century off the coast of Belitung island of Indonesia, transporting Tang dinasty ceramics.
- Can we read an 18th century devotional epic poem as a map of historical information on encroaching settlers and frontiers, Muslim and European presences, sea culture and new trade routes?
- How do we understand literary practices in-between classes, religions and races through the poetics and politics of Chittagong, during the transformative and traumatic period of early Company rule in East Bengal?