Lecture by Avishek Ray
Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences in cooperation with the project Unlikely Refuge? (supported by the European Research Council of the EU's Horizon 2020) cordially invite you to a lecture within Power Seminar Series of the Oriental Institute Zomia contra Nation State: The Vagabond in the South Asian Imagination by Avishek Ray, National Institute of Technology Silchar, India.
In administering territorial borders, the postcolonial nation-building apparatus, in the context of South Asia, intervened with indigenous practices of nomadism. The ‘colonial episteme’ could not make sense of certain vernacular practices of mobility, when approached from the perspective of instrumental rationality and viewed through ‘imperial eyes’. Distinguishing the ‘good traveler’ from the ‘bad traveler’ became a colonial agenda, and within the remit of this taxonomic practice, the category 'vagabond' would be ‘invented’ and deployed as catch-all to indiscriminately cast out travelers and itinerants who posed an enigma for the colonial episteme. This talk deaws on my book The Vagabond in the South Asian Imagination: Resilience, Agency and Representation (Routledge, 2021). It unpacks the heuristic category 'vagabond' and highlights the convergence between the politics of itinerancy and that of dissent in the context of South Asia.