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Pasts: Archaeology, Governmentality and Scientific Method in India

204 Maxwell Hall

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The Archaeological Survey of Indian (ASI) is one of the earliest statist archaeological organizations in the world. Its prolific knowledge production has had a profound impact on the legitimization of the idea of India as an ancient nation. Using the excavation trench as the micro-site of focus, Chadha’s paper will examine the specificities of “ways of knowing” as archaeologists, scientists, bureaucrats, and illiterate laborers work to produce knowledge of the past. He will argue that the operations of knowing by ASI at an excavation site is not only mediated by nationalistic imperatives but is also performed as an intervention of governmentality and executed as a scientific practice.  

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