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Sat 23 Sep 2023

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM (UTC-6)

Book Conversations : Aryans & British India

INDICA is delighted to relaunch Book Discussion Sessions from Sep 2023 onwards. The sessions were initiated in 2019 by INDICA USA and had to be put on hold owing to the pandemic. The sessions will leverage books and writings by global intellectuals, and unpack scholarship about Indic Heritage and related topics. The program outline for a typical session is given below

  • Schedule: Sessions will be conducted on a fixed/recurring schedule, weekends only. 
  • Agenda: The agenda for each session will be to review a book or multiple books relating to a theme/topic, distil its message, and engage in productive discussions. The topics to be covered for each session will be announced in advance. Flyers will be posted online. 
  • Location: The sessions will be hosted by Ram Lakshminarayanan in his home. Those living in the vicinity of Chicago may find it convenient to attend.  This will be an in-person event only. There will not be any recording or live broadcast. 
  • Participation: The sessions are open to those interested in learning about Indic heritage and contribute to its promotion. 
  • Registration: Registration is mandatory. Registration link is given
  • Moderation: Each session will be moderated to maintain focus.
  • Snacks: Lite snacks will be served. 
  • Fee: There’s no fee for this event. Participation is free.  

The First session will discuss Aryans & British India by Thomas Trautmann  on Sat, Sep 23, ,2023 2:00-5:00p US Central Time


About the Book :

“Aryan,” a word that today evokes images of racial hatred and atrocity, was first used by Europeans to suggest bonds of kinship, as Thomas Trautmann shows in his far-reaching history of British Orientalism and the ethnology of India. When the historical relationship uniting Sanskrit with the languages of Europe was discovered, it seemed clear that Indians and Britons belonged to the same family. Thus the Indo-European or Aryan idea, based on the principle of linguistic kinship, dominated British ethnological inquiry.

In the nineteenth century, however, an emergent biological “race science” attacked the authority of the Orientalists. The spectacle of a dark-skinned people who were evidently civilized challenged Victorian ideas, and race science responded to the enigma of India by redefining the Aryan concept in narrowly “white” racial terms. By the end of the nineteenth century, race science and Orientalism reached a deep and lasting consensus in regard to India, which Trautmann calls “the racial theory of Indian civilization,” and which he undermines with his powerful analysis of colonial ethnology in India. His work of reassessing British Orientalism and the Aryan idea will be of great interest to historians, anthropologists, and cultural critics.


Details of the Second & Third session are given below:


Contact Information

Avatans Kumar, Head, Indic Academy US, avatans@indicacademy.org 

Nishant Limbachia, US National Convenor, Indic Academy, nlimbachia@indica.org.in

Ram Lakshminarayanan, US National Convenor, Indic Academy, raml@indica.org.in