Supervised by Professor Sukanta Chaudhuri, Dr. Prasanta Chakravarty and Dr. N.A. Jacob, the Autumn 2018 workshop will be conducted on 24-29 September 2018 at Kirori Mal College. The workshop will focus on analysing, understanding, theorising and engaging practically with the process of the formation and evolution of texts as pre-linguistic, linguistic and cultural constructs. As Professor Chaudhuri points out in his concept note for the workshop: “A text is a fiction, something made or manufactured out of the materials of language. By ‘fiction’, I do not mean that a text must necessarily tell a story, though of course many texts do, like novels or epics. A novel narrates imaginary events about imaginary people – but they resemble real events and real people, hence novels can tell us something about the ‘real’ world. Other kinds of texts – say, a study of historical events or an account of the solar system – are usually viewed from the opposite end. We assume these texts are about real objects, events and people; but we can only understand them as the text describes them – in other words, as they are structured and narrated by the mind imaging or ‘imagining’ the subject. So the first point to understand about texts is that they are mental constructs: they represent an idea of something, not that thing itself – just as the words constituting that text represent ideas of things (even ideas of ideas!) rather than the thing itself.”
Sukanta Chaudhuri is Professor Emeritus at Jadavpur University, Kolkata. He was educated at Presidency College, Kolkata and the University of Oxford. He taught at Presidency College from January 1973 to December 1991 and at Jadavpur University thereafter till his retirement in June 2010. He is the author of several books including Infirm Glory: Shakespeare and the Renaissance Image of Man (Oxford, 1981) and The Metaphysics of Text (Cambridge, 2010). Sukanta has worked on the links and parallels between the European and the Bengal Renaissances, and the possibility of a common model of a ‘Renaissance’. He has translated Rabindranath Tagore and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and other Bengali writers, and co-founded the School of Cultural Texts and Records, which does digital archiving, database creation and computational analysis of texts. He was chief coordinator of Bichitra, the online variorum of the works of Rabindranath Tagore, and has translated widely from Bengali to English. Sukanta’s chief fields of study are the English and European Renaissance, translation, textual studies and digital humanities.
Prasanta Chakravarty is Associate Professor of English at the University of Delhi and the editor of the web-journal humanitiesunderground.org. His most recent work is The Opulence of Existence: Essays on Aesthetics and Politics (Three Essays Collective, 2016)—a set of essays on literary forms and our political predicament. His work on early modern radical heretic culture is published as Like Parchment in the Fire: Literature and Radicalism in the English Civil War (Routledge, 2006). He has also edited a volume on contemporary writings on humanities titled Shrapnel Minima, Writings from HumanitiesUnderground (Seagull India and University of Chicago Press, 2014). His forthcoming work Time, Doubt and Wonder in the Humanities: Between the Tick and the Tock (Bloomsbury) is slotted to appear later this year. He nurtures a particular interest in poetry and poetics and enjoys translating significant contemporary literary writings into English.
N. A. Jacob
N. A. Jacob teaches English at Ramjas College, University of Delhi. His doctoral thesis at Rutgers University was titled Looking Through Words: Histories of the Visual Image in Nineteenth-Century Literature. His interests include philosophy, literary theory, aesthetics and photography studies.