Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Abstract: reading subaltern histories through Amitav Ghosh’s fiction

Following absctract is from Prof. Kunal Ray:

Amitav Ghosh is known for his perennial engagement with history. In his fiction, history is a means of establishing an interconnection between the historical events and the ordinary people living during the times. He has repeatedly subverted and challenged traditional historiography to unearth marginalised voices thereby attempting a re-writing of history or an altogether new interpretation of the past in the form of modern historiography. Unlike Thomas Carlyle, history for Ghosh is a record of lives of ordinary people so far overshadowed by Western narratives.
In this paper, I will focus on Ghosh’s novels such as The Shadow Lines (1988), The Calcutta Chromosome (1995) and The Glass Palace (2000) wherein he offers agency to subaltern figures and institutes them in the grand narrative of history by giving them representation and a voice so far denied. His re-examination also helps restore women to history through characters like Thamma in The Shadow Lines and Mangala in The Calcutta Chromosome. This paper will build on the work of eminent academics such as Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Ranajit Guha, Aijaz Ahmad and Homi K. Bhabha amongst many others.

Keywords – history, subaltern, ordinary people, narrative, women

Kunal Ray
Chair, Centre for South Asia
Lecturer in English Literature
FLAME University
Pune - 412115 (India)
Tel: +91 020 6790 6172
Mobile: +91 9890765427

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