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Picture of Pasts and Futures: Readings in a Contemporary World

Pasts and Futures: Readings in a Contemporary World

ISSN No: 2057-9055
Series Editor(s):
Rila Mukherjee
M.N. Rajesh
Eswarappa Kasi
Ramesh C. Malik
Subject: Social Sciences

Series Description

The end of the twentieth century has seen momentous shifts both in production and in production relations, now visible in new clusters that dominate physical and intellectual landscapes. This has substantially changed the way we perceive ourselves, as well as the world around us.

And yet, this transformation is only partial, visible in some landscapes. Old theories are inadequate to address the rapidly unfolding changes. The question rises: how do we relate past experience-and conventional disciplines-with contemporary realities? How do those ‘left behind’ perceive themselves and the world around them? How do the humanities and the social sciences cope? What is the position, and function, of archaeology, a science that deals exclusively with the human past, in this new shift? What role do disciplines, citizens, communities, states and nations play in this new society? How do we negotiate this new world? Are we living only in a networked society?

Language, anthropology, history and historical sociology become, in this context, absolutely relevant once again. How can past experience help us engage with this new world? What are the processes through which the past is forged? What are the optics through which the past is perceived, the tropes through which the present is negotiated, the lens which represents the past and foretells the furure? The negotiation between the past and the present is never more robust than now, in this neo liberal age, when historical memory plays a critical role in defining identity: linguistic, religious, and racial. Paradoxically, nationalism, far from being under stress, is facing a resurgence. The communities we forge are still imagined, but they now embrace cyberspace as well.

Citizenship is redefining itself. As new productive relations materialize, as new methods of organising skills and workspaces occupy centre stage, as technology increasingly dominates our lives, as old hierarchies disappear and new ones are reconfigured spatially, citizens forge new links through networks, rather than in clusters, within and across nation states. The power of ICT is enabling a new kind of communitas. Just as the invention of printing and the coming of the book created a group of readers in sixteenth century Europe, just as the newspaper in nineteenth century Iran created a political group anxious for democracy , so too the blog in the twenty first century offers multiple platforms for global citizens to voice their alarm and despondency over world affairs. Older clusters of activity transform into nodes in networks that are transnational.

The phenomenal growth of the knowledge economy has, therefore, changed the way we live our lives. Two examples come readily to mind: the awesome reach of the internet media which forges new communities as we just read and the transformation in work culture that is steadily eroding the conventional distinction between blue and white collar jobs. Cultures are no longer in transition; they are being reconstituted.

Silently, traditional disciplines are forging new bridges with technology: the transformation of GIS into digital geography is a case in point. There is a newness here that we often ignore: in this fast changing technology dominated world: the new relations that dominate our lives are both omnipresent and at the same time invisible.

How these changes reconfigure our negotiation with the past is the focus of Pasts and Futures: Readings in a Contemporary World, an initiative launched by concerned research scholars and faculty in the School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India.








Editor(s) Biography

Prof. Rila Mukherjee, Professor of History, School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India, specializes in the early modern world and is the author of Strange Riches: Bengal in the Mercantile Map of South Asia and Merchants and Companies in Bengal: Kasimbazar and Jugdia in the Eighteenth Century, both 2006. She is a member of the editorial board of Rethinking History (Routledge), of OMNES: Journal of Migration and Society (Seoul, South Korea) and book review editor of the latter. She is also an Associated Partner in the European Science Foundation Project on The Evolution of Copperation and Trading (TECT) called Dynamic Cooperative Networks in the First Global Age 1400-1800 (DynCoopNet).

Dr. M.N. Rajesh is faculty, Department of History, School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad, and the author of numerous publications including The Buddhist Monastery (1999) and Gompas in Traditional Tibetan Societies (2002). His interests lie in technology, strategic studies, Tibet and Central Asia.

Eswarappa Kasi is Senior Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology, School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad. He has published extensively in peer reviewed journals in India and abroad. He guest edited a Special Issue of Man in India on developmental anthropology with Dr. R. Siva Prasad. He is the co editor of a forthcoming volume: Theory and Practice of Ethnography: Readings from the Periphery with Ramesh C. Malik and co editor of Ethnographic Discourse of the Other: Conceptual and Methodological Issues (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008), with Ramesh C. Malik and Prof. Panchanan Mohanty of Centra for Applied Linguistics and Translation Studies (CALTS), University of Hyderabad. His interests include anthropology of livelihoods and natural resource management, marginal communities and development.

Ramesh C. Malik is Senior Research Fellow (UGC), Centre for Applied Linguistics and Translation Studies (CALTS), School of Humanities, University of Hyderabad. His areas of interests are ethnography, translation studies and literary criticism. He is passionate about Oriya literature. He has published extensively in peer reviewed national journals. He is the co editor of a forthcoming volume Theory and Practice of Ethnography: Readings from the Periphery with Eswarappa Kasi and co editor of Ethnographic Discourse of the Other: Conceptual and Methodological Issues (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008) with Eswarappa Kasi and Prof. Panchanan Mohanty of CALTS, University of Hyderabad.








Series Titles

Locality, History, Memory

Locality, History, Memory: The Making of the Citizen in South Asia was born out of the need to interrogate the tropes through which place, history and memory underpin notions of citizenship in present Southasia. Time as both time present and time past is framed here in two settings: as privileging both place (material or ideologica...
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