"Deadly Spaces: Ghosts, Histories and Colonial Anxieties in Nineteenth-Century Bengal"
Dr. Bhattacharya writes "my paper reviews a shift in ghost stories in colonial Bengal. Ghosts move from the "wild" outdoors to the bourgeois interior of the middle-class home. The multifaceted world of older, indigenous ghost stories is subordinated under the singular, solitary gothic form of the spectre. The paper explores the implications of this shift and asks if and how colonialism makes legible the new ghosts."
Dr. Bhattacharya will deliver her lecture, which will be followed by a discussion circle. Please join us for the Spring 2023 "Occult Natures" series with Cultural Studies!
Tithi Bhattacharya is a professor of South Asian History at Purdue University. She is the author of The Sentinels of Culture: Class, Education, and the Colonial Intellectual in Bengal (Oxford University Press, 2005) and the editor of the now classic study, Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression (Pluto Press, 2017). Her recent coauthored book includes the popular Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto (Verso, 2019) which has been translated in over 25 languages. She writes extensively on Marxist theory, gender, and the politics of Islamophobia. Her work has been published in the Journal of Asian Studies, South Asia Research, Electronic Intifada, Jacobin, Salon.com, The Nation, and the New Left Review. She is on the editorial board of Studies on Asia and Spectre.
Magic is everywhere. From sage smudging witches to the sorcery schools of young adult fantasy series, magic makes up a significant part of contemporary culture and yet has no theory of its own. This lecture series will engage a range of topics in the esoteric and the occult with the intention of developing a platform for occultural studies in the humanities.
Our theme sets in motion a range of ostensibly opposed concepts: science and religion, the material and the immaterial, fact and fabulation, spirituality and sexuality. Engaging scholars, artists, and practitioners in an examination of these binary terms, we continue the critique of nature as a timeless given undertaken by feminists, ecocritics, and science studies scholars for several decades, but with particular attention to the recent wave of scholars of color for whom the distinction between science and its folk opposites is itself a mythological construction and a prop for coloniality. Topics in this series move in several ways through the undoing of these binaries: by taking seriously the variety of esoteric sciences as modes of knowledge-production and world-making; by considering the occult dimensions of nature, or what might emerge by approaching nature aesthetically, affectively, spiritually, supernaturally, or from what Sylvia Wynter calls the “demonic grounds” of practices marginal to the formal sciences; and finally by looking at the weirdness of science-itself, its own occulted aspects. All lectures will take place on Wednesday afternoons at Bishop Bar.