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Scripting anxiety/scripting identity: Indian mutiny, history, and the colonial imaginary, 1857-1911

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Title: Scripting anxiety/scripting identity: Indian mutiny, history, and the colonial imaginary, 1857-1911
Author(s): Basu Thakur, Gautam
Director of Research: Blake, Nancy; Goodlad, Lauren
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Blake, Nancy
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Goodlad, Lauren; Hassan, Wail Seddiq; Basu, Anustup; Pandharipande, Rajeshwari V.
Department / Program: Comparative & World Literature
Discipline: Comparative Literature
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Indian Mutiny Anxiety Postcolonial Studies Psychoanalysis British and Indian Literature Subaltern Theory.
Abstract: Scripting Anxiety/Scripting Identity examines the impact of the 1857 Indian Mutiny on British and Indian cultural consciousness and collective memory. I focus on anxious articulations about material objects, racial and sexual identities, and religion to argue these are symptomatic of a greater problem in mutiny narratives. Namely, the failure to situate the event, write or define it, in context of grand narratives. I show anxieties about objects, identities, and religion can be read from two corresponding directions. First, as discursively representing the dangers posed by the rebellion to political hegemony and established symbolic systems. And, second, as symptomatic of desires for reclaiming authority and re-constituting subjectivities. My task has been one of accentuating the tension between these two, suggesting their responsibility in the construction of the event’s affective dispensations in the Anglo-Indian mindscape, and finally, presenting a hypothetical theorization on the relationship between subaltern insurgency and colonialism. This dissertation is the centerpiece of an active research agenda that looks at, first, representations of the Mutiny in “postcolonial” British and Indian writings in comparison to colonial narratives; and, second, how anxiety-ridden articulations about the Mutiny map onto present-day transnational concerns over “homeland” insecurities as manifested in literature, film, and new media.
Issue Date: 2010-08-31
Rights Information: Copyright 2010 by Gautam Basu Thakur.
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-08-31
Date Deposited: 2010-08

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