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Fathers of a Still-born Past: Hindu Empire, Globality, and the Rhetoric of the Trikaal

Basu, Manisha (2008) Fathers of a Still-born Past: Hindu Empire, Globality, and the Rhetoric of the Trikaal. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Undertaking a genealogical study of contemporary Hindu nationalism in India, this dissertation demonstrates how a new, metropolitan, and largely Anglophone version of cultural Hinduization is signaling a transformative shift in postcolonialism as political and aesthetic self-representation. The primary archive for the study ranges from foundational scriptural texts of the 'canon of Hinduism' and the writings of late 19th and early 20th century Hindu nationalists to traditions to the Anglophone political journalism of new-age Hindu intellectuals like Jay Dubashi, television productions of epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, and contemporary Indian writing in English. This constellation of texts reveals that if an important phase of global postcolonial culture was founded in the difference between center and periphery, then we are now witnessing new aesthetic forms which recode national peripheral space as in fact coterminous with the space of the metropolitan-center. It is precisely such a recoding that the contemporary literature of the Indian diaspora writes itself into, democratizing differences between national and imperial contexts by inducting the urban hubs of the Global South into a continuum of supranational terminals for the mobility of virtual capital. The study demonstrates how such formations overlap with the language of contemporary Hinduization, as the latter in its own way equates neo-liberal economism, militarization, and technologism with the 'holy cows of Hindu scriptures.' Deploying religion as a flexible adjustment of linguistic and visual signs, rather than a scriptural tradition, this new 'rhetoric of Hindu India' violently yokes collusive neo-liberalism and cultural Hinduization on a single plane of normalized regularities. Such a plane of regularities promises a post-postcolonial culture which is no longer debilitated by theories of difference, whether between tradition and modernity, or nation and empire. In the face of this dangerous historical shift, my dissertation concludes that the task of the anti-imperial mind in our contemporary time is to destabilize such applications of political-cultural sameness. It is to return 'difference' to its philosophical beginnings in the indeterminacies of figurative language and to demonstrate how such indeterminacies are a refracting surface for the lived histories of capitalist-imperial unevenness.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLandy, Marciamlandy@pitt.eduMLANDY
Committee MemberCondee, Nancycondee@pitt.eduCONDEE
Committee MemberBove, Paul Above@pitt.eduBOVE
Committee MemberJudy, Ronald Tbuchnfar@pitt.eduBUCHNFAR
Date: 10 June 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 18 April 2008
Approval Date: 10 June 2008
Submission Date: 24 April 2008
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hindutva; Indian literature; Indian nationalism; Indian politics; literary criticism; Post-colonial; secularism
Other ID:, etd-04242008-214451
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:42
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:42


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