Member book, Dasgupta, Reordering Adivasi Worlds: Representation, Resistance, Memory

Sangeeta  Dasgupta's picture

I am pleased to announce the publication of my book, Reordering Adivasi Worlds: Representation, Resistance, Memory, by Oxford University Press.

The details of the book are as follows:

Sangeeta Dasgupta, Reordering Adivasi Worlds: Representation, Resistance, Memory, Oxford University Press, October 2021; 368 pages, ISBN: 978019012791.

Recounting the story of the Oraons and Tana Bhagats of Chhotanagpur in the present-day state of Jharkhand, this book questions postcolonial understandings of the category of ‘tribe’ and unravels the threads of a hierarchical adivasi world. It unpacks colonial ethnography, missionary narratives, and anthropological writings; explores issues of adivasi identity and resistance; and demonstrates how contemporary adivasi protest draws upon memories of the past.

I argue that nineteenth- and early twentieth-century ideas of ‘tribe’ were not abstract imaginaries but structured colonial interventions. These affected the shaping of customary rights; the understanding of the rural world; and the perception of customs and practices. I analyse the ways in which Tana Bhagats questioned hierarchies among the Oraons; opposed landlords, moneylenders, and the colonial state; and engaged with Gandhi and the Congress. I also show how Tanas allude to their diverse experiences and distinctive memories to negotiate with the sarkar even today.

Using colonial archives, oral narratives, and contemporary pamphlets, I examine in this book the contending ‘truths’ produced around adivasi protest, and the complex interplay between the past and the present, the oral and the written.

Table of contents:

List of Images
Notes on the Text
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Reordering Adivasi Worlds
1. Description to Definition: Oraons in Colonial Ethnography
2. Heathen Aboriginals, Animistic Races: Missionary Narratives
3. A Journey with the Oraons: Sarat Chandra Roy's Anthropology
4. Pagan Tanas, Dangerous Aboriginals, Sensitive Prophets: Tales from the Archive
5. Between Forests and Fields: Mapping Tana Identities
6. Gandhi, Charkha, Swaraj: Congress Symbols and Tana Meanings
7. Stories, Pamphlets, Petitions: Tana Readings of Their Past

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