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Artefacts of History
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Artefacts of History
Archaeology, Historiography and Indian Pasts

  • Sudeshna Guha - Associate Researcher, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge and Tagore Research Scholar, National Museum in New Delhi.

© 2015 | 296 pages | SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd

This book encourages us to critically regard the ways in which ideologies of cultural heritage and civilisational legacies are transformed into tangible and visible things through archaeological scholarship.

Through little-known histories of the practices, governance and scholarship of the archaeology of India, this book re-examines the manner in which the past is recalled and historicized. It guides us to think afresh of the histories of antiquarianism in South Asia, explore the impetus of collecting and curatorial practices within the scholarship of pre-colonial India, and investigate the diverse linkages within the histories of Indian archaeology. It encourages a focus upon issues of historiography, methodology and notions of evidence and looks in to the responsibilities and changing needs of the academic scholarship of archaeology. 

 

 
List of Illustrations
 
Acknowledgements
 
Histories, Historiography, Archaeology: An Introduction
 
Antiquarianism and South Asia: Questioning Histories of Origins
 
Nineveh in Bombay: The Curation of Foreign Antiquities and Histories of India
 
The Connected Histories of Philology and Archaeology
 
Fashioning the Unknown: Gordon Childe’s Imprints upon the Indus Civilisation
 
Civilisation, Heritage and the Archaeological Scholarship
 
A Vision for Archaeology: Partition, Nationalism and the 'Indian' Pasts
 
Bibliography
 
Index

‘Any academic discipline, in order to move even a little away from its enduring static position, needs to have a critical look at the premises on which the discipline tends to lean perpetually. This book dares to produce that critical look at the way archaeological knowledge is created and passed on in Indian archaeology and should jolt its institutional leaders out of their seats of scientific complacency.’ 

B.D. Chattopadhyaya
Former Professor of History, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

‘This book is a welcome and much needed addition to the existing literature dealing with the history of Indian archaeology. Diverging widely and radically from the storytelling and often eulogistic accounts of the rise and growth of archaeology in India, archaeological practices and archaeologists themselves, it seeks to place the growth of archaeological (and Indological) studies in the matrix of mutually interactive domains of the nineteenth-century intellectual trends in Europe and British colonial practices in India.’

K. Paddayya
Emeritus Professor of Archaeology, Deccan College, Pune

‘With this book, Sudeshna Guha fills in a wide gap in our knowledge of the history of antiquarianism and archaeology in India. Doing away with the inherited prejudices of colonial history, Dr Guha demonstrates the existence of a curiosity for the past, its monuments and objects across medieval and modern India—a curiosity that has been hitherto neglected by traditional historiography. To her fine tune knowledge of the history of archaeology in the Indian subcontinent, the author adds an evident familiarity with the history of antiquarianism in Britain. This book is one of the best examples of post-colonial historiography applied to archaeology and to the comparative history of civilisations. It also provides an important contribution to the epistemology of archaeology, considered as a full-fledged social science.’

Alain Schnapp
Emeritus Professor of Archaeology, Université de Paris I Panthéon- Sorbonne

A critical look at the way archaeological knowledge is configured, created and  disseminated in Indian archeology.

The Book Review, February 2016

“Any academic discipline, in order to move even a little away from its enduring static position, needs to have a critical look at the premises on which the discipline tends to lean perpetually. This book dares to produce that critical look at the way archaeological knowledge is created and passed on in Indian archaeology.” 

B.D. Chattopadhyaya,
Former Professor of History, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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ISBN: 9789351501640