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Talk by Y. S. Alone (Nehru University, New Delhi): "Interrogating Protected Ignorance"

Apr 24, 2018 06:15 pm to 08:00 pm
Organiser: Co-organized by The Chair of Global Art History and the Department of Cultural and Religious History of South Asia


INTERROGATING PROTECTED IGNORANCE by Y. S. Alone (Professor in Visual Studies, School of Arts and Aesthetics Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)

Abstract: Any knowledge production process has to be interrogated through the very means of its objectives. While questioning hegemony, pre-suppositions produced over a period have always played an important role, it cuts across the nationalist boundaries. In colonial India, Brahmanic hegemony has produced meta-narratives of the nationalist imaginations having its roots in the intellectual politics of homogeneity of tradition. The intellectual politics of homogeneity of tradition denied the multiplicity while making tradition as of projecting the nationalist aspirations. The nature of understandings have produced monologues of privileges and the space for articulations gets reduced to the nationalist imaginations which make representations timid and devoid of ‘others’ or for that matter the lower castes. The claimed post-colonial subjective realm hardly produced any capacity to address the difference as well as offered a constructive critic of hegemonic thinking as being practiced by the Indian natives and completely by passed the issues of representations, making the knowledge formation process as part of 'protected ignorance'. Representations are an important body of signifiers that denounces the meta-narratives of Brahmanic hegemony. Language as means of expressions has numerous mental formulations that are formed as expressible means of communications. The post-colonial theoretical formulations in understanding the mental formulations are insufficient to address the issues of hegemony that are being contested through means of expressible language. Cognition thus becomes a process that also gets associated with certain particulars and therefore, it is devoid of internal hegemony. Creative expressions empower to investigate cognition within its mental realms where construction of language with minimal words in the poetry becomes a powerful means to dislodge the hegemonic thinking. Recalling in the process of writing is to define beyond self where expressions are meaningful mental formulations to shatter the self-normative that are created over a period of time. Normative is a process that gets unquestioned whereas the post-colonial critic argues ‘mythograph’ as essential characteristic in the expression of most powerfully produced literature around the life of untouchables, re-legitimizes the hegemonic thinking that does not go beyond normative. The visual representation of caste is another means to dislodge the aesthetics of hegemony.  Articulating resistance is not just means of dialogue but also effective means of contesting not only hegemony but also normative that has been instrumental forms to the theoretical formulation of the acclaimed knowledge formulation process. Thus self gets represented in the perception of others where language as generic metaphor with minimal signifiers are fired to dislodge the poetics of the normative as well as hegemony.

The lecture shall further analyze the issues of language hegemony through the poetry, and visual language that are produced over a period of time by a distinct social category of people whose quest is to challenge the normative and the discourse that has produced around such mental formulations.

Prof. Alone is an Erasmus+ Scholar, visiting SAI/HCTS in the context of Erasmus+ Exchange with JNU.



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