(Co-sponsored event with NYU Elmer Holmes Bobst Library)
The archive has been the subject of much scholarship, being variously defined as a collection of papers, personal or state-sponsored or some combination of the two, that forms the foundation of historical narratives. This presentation will explore one particular recent archive, an ongoing multilingual collection of papers of the Bombay poets which resides now at Cornell University. Crossing the divide between personal and the institutional, this archive contains a unique set of documentary materials that uncovers a different aspect of the city in post-independence Bombay. What is in this archive? How did it begin? What is its relationship to ideas of the institution as well as those of resistance and rebellion? These are some of the questions that will be addressed as the presentation grapples with the conflicts of location and access, the canonical impulse and the presence and absence of gendered perspectives.
The discussion will be moderated by Rajeswari Sunder Rajan (NYU Arts and Science).
Anjali Nerlekar is Associate Professor in the Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures (AMESALL), and Graduate Program Director in Comparative Literature at Rutgers University. Her research interests span global modernisms, Indian print cultures, Marathi literature, Indo-Caribbean literature, spatial and cartographic studies of the city, and translation studies. She is the author of Bombay Modern: Arun Kolatkar and Bilingual Literary Culture (2016) and has also co-edited the special double issue of Journal of Postcolonial Writing (53.1/2, 2017) on “The Worlds of Bombay Poetry.” In collaboration with Dr. Bronwen Bledsoe of Cornell University, she has created an ongoing collection of documents related to English and Marathi Bombay poetry titled “The Bombay Poets’ Archive.”
Rajeswari Sunder Rajan is a Global Distinguished Scholar of English. She was educated in Bombay and Washington DC. She taught for many years in India before moving to the U.K. where she was Professorial Fellow at Wolfson College and Reader in the English faculty at the University of Oxford. Dr. Sunder Rajan has been a Senior Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library and at the Centre for Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi; in 2001 she was a Shansi Visiting Professor at Oberlin College, Ohio. Dr. Sunder Rajan’s work spans debates about the relationship between gender, postcolonialism and culture in India, and addresses issues relating to law, religion, and secularism in the postcolonial nation. Additionally, she works on British nineteenth-century literature and Anglophone postcolonial literature. Sunder Rajan was one of the founding editors of the postcolonial studies journal Interventions, published by Routledge. She is currently setting up a research project on Postcolonial Print Cultures with Dr. Neelam Srivatsava at Newcastle University (UK) that will bring together scholars from both institutions, along with other scholars from India, the UK, and the USA, to collaborate in a series of workshops to map this new and rapidly growing field of research in postcolonial studies.