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'New' Knowledge and 'New' India: Lessons from the Colonial Past by Prof. Deepak Kumar

Third Edition of Production of Knowledgein the Natural and Social Sciences Co-Hosted by Centre for Contemporary Studies, IISc, Bangalore & Centre for the Study of Culture and Society,

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Sep 11, 2010
from 02:00 PM to 04:00 PM

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Session 5:'New' Knowledge and 'New' India: Lessons from the Colonial Past

by Prof. Deepak Kumar
Professor, History of Science and Education, Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Abstract: The onset of the 21st century was treated with a great deal of media hype and forecasts as a century of knowledge and incredible developments. As we move to the close of the first decade of the new century, the hype refuses to die down. Claims about knowledge-society and knowledge-economy (even in the midst of an apparent economic melt-down) continue to pour in as if the earlier societies or economies were not shaped or influenced by knowledge. Perhaps every age is an age ofknowledge and change. How did the Indians feel when they entered the twentieth century? How did they look at the then existing techno-scientific knowledge?How different was it going to be from the past?The beginnings saw the apogee of the Empire but things were to change soon.What was their vision of 'new' India? How was 'new' knowledge perceived?What new strategies were thought of? On the new agenda figured technical education, scientific research, medical intervention, agricultural experiments, institutional dissemination of knowledge.Differences of opinion and controversies dogged the discourse all the time.The lecture will discuss not only the contours of the 'development discourse' but also the views that still lay on the margins.

Suggested Readings:
Deepak Kumar. Science and the Raj: A Study of British India. Oxford University Press, 2006.
Benjamin Zachariah.Developing India: an intellectual and social history, c. 1930-50. OUP, 2005

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