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Based on the book ‘Keywords for India: A Conceptual Lexicon for the 21st Century’. Edited by Rukmini Bhaya Nayar and Peter Ronald deSouza.
What terms are currently up for debate in Indian society? How have their meanings changed over time? This book highlights key words for modern India in everyday usage as well as in scholarly contexts. Encompassing over 250 key words across a wide range of topics, including aesthetics and ceremony, gender, technology and economics, past memories and future imaginaries, these entries introduce some of the basic concepts that inform the ‘cultural unconscious’ of the Indian subcontinent in order to translate them into critical tools for literary, political, cultural and cognitive studies.
Inspired by Raymond Williams’ pioneering exploration of English culture and society through the study of keywords, Keywords for India brings together more than 200 leading sub-continental scholars to form a polyphonic collective. Their sustained engagement with an incredibly diverse set of words enables a fearless interrogation of the panoply, the multitude, the shape-shifter that is ‘India’. Through its close investigation and unpacking of words, this book investigates the various intellectual possibilities on offer within the Indian subcontinent at the beginning of a fraught new millennium desperately in need of fresh vocabularies. In this sense, Keywords for India presents the world with many emancipatory memes from India.
Rukmini Bhaya Nair
Rukmini Bhaya Nair is Professor of Linguistics and English, Emerita, at IIT Delhi. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and has since taught at universities ranging from Singapore to Stanford. Awarded another honorary doctorate by the University of Antwerp for her contributions to narrative theory, Nair has authored several books, including Narrative Gravity: Conversation, Cognition, Culture and Poetry in a Time of Terror (Oxford University Press, 2009), Lying on the Postcolonial Couch: The Idea of Indifference (University of Minnesota Press, 2002) and Technobrat: Culture in a Cybernetic Classroom (Harper Collins, 1997).
Peter Ronald deSouza
Peter Ronald deSouza is the DD Kosambi Visiting Professor at Goa University. He also holds a Visiting professorship at BITS-Pilani, Goa Campus. He was professor at CSDS till February 2020 and was director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla, where he served two terms from 2007 till 2013. He works on issues of democratic politics and in the comparative politics of South Asia. He had published several books including In the Hall of Mirrors:Reflections on Indian Democracy (Orient Blackswan, 2018) and edited a book of writings of DL Sheth titled, At Home with Democracy: A Theory of Indian Politics (Palgrave Macmillan 2018) and co-edited Democratic Accommodations: Minorities in Contemporary India (Bloomsbury India, 2019) and Speaking of Gandhi’s Death (Orient Blackswan 2010).
Vrinda Dalmiya received her Phd in Philosophy from Brown University, USA and is currently a Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. She has also taught at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and was a Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla from 2011-2013. Her research interests lie in care ethics, feminist epistemology, environmental philosophy, and comparative philosophy. She is the author of Caring to Know: Comparative Care Ethics, Feminist Epistemology and the Mahabharata (Oxford University Press, 2016) and the co-editor of Exploring Agency in the Mahābhārata: Ethical and Political Dimensions of Dharma (Routledge, 2018)