ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Anirudh Deshpande

Histories, Academic and Public

Changes in historiography and historical methods challenged the professional historian’s obsession with the state archive from the late 19th century, but the distance between academic and public histories continued to grow wider in the 20th century. The possibility of bringing public and academic histories together to make history-writing a meaningful activity for both the public and the historian has been done by treating the visual as an archive which no historian can ignore in the age of smartphones, internet and fake news. By imaginatively integrating the visual and literary archives, the historian can reclaim a social relevance denied to him by the very practice of professional academic history.

Past, Present, and Oral History

Oral history is an aid to movements for social justice across the world. It is particularly significant in countries like India where literacy levels are low and where memories of the oppressed are routinely erased from public memory. This article questions the presumed superiority of the written over the oral. It presents a critique of “establishment” historiography and suggests that historians should adopt a receptive and balanced approach to different forms of history. Oral history reorients the historian’s craft in interesting ways. The oral history method is crucial for capturing histories that flourish outside the dominant narratives of modern societies.

Eurocentric versus Indigenous

While sympathising with the general critique of Eurocentrism expressed by Claude Alvares in his critical essay on the social sciences in India (EPW, 28 May 2011), this response finds some of his contentions problematic. It appears that Alvares' overall submission is based on a couple of preconceived conceptual binaries such as European/non-European and Eurocentric/indigenous.