Reading South Asia Lecture Series

While each department has its own internal lecture and discussion programs to host lectures by visiting scholars, FSS has instituted two lecture series beginning in 2012. These are the ‘Reading South Asia Lecture Series’ (approximately six lectures each year at the SAU campus in Chanakyapuri) and ‘Contributions to Contemporary Knowledge Lecture Series’ (one lecture per year organized by FSS at a neutral venue in New Delhi).


Faculty of Social Sciences
In collaboration with

Department of Sociology

South Asian University


Exploring South Asia Lecture Series – 2013 (1)

Debating the Ancient and Present

An Interactive Workshop with Prof. Romila Thapar

Time and Venue:

22 August 2013
02.30 PM to 05.00 PM

FSI Hall, Ground Floor, South Asian University, Akbar Bhawan, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi


Manoj Kumar Nepal & Atina Naseer Malik

‘Historical understanding’, argued Wilhelm Dilthey, is a precondition for the ‘rise of hermeneutics’. If the latter is the art of interpretation and understanding, the former is the storehouse for the bricks and other materials essential for the craft of historiography to unfold. The oeuvre of a seasoned historian, a veritable goldmine for hermeneutists and social scientists, thus invites for a nuanced interactive engagement. The process of the interactive engagement, as Wittgenstien suggests, does not subscribe to a linear sense of time. The possibility of a novel geometry lies with the interactive process within which some of the boundaries between the ancient and the present might become unstable. The questions from ancient history thereby assume contemporary significance and the latter finds resonance in the former. Mythology and history, structural and individual, national and communal, political and religio-cultural, ordinary and extraordinary, etc. unfold on the interactive anvil for critical engagement. The proposed interactive workshop with Prof. Romila Thapar, one of the most distinguished figures in reading the ancient history of South Asia, is designed to offer an intellectually stimulating forum, particularly for young scholars. The workshop envisages an interaction along the thematic issues/questions/ideas from some of the key works of Prof. Romila Thapar, and would follow a dialogic in structure.

We consider the following texts by Prof Thapar as essential readings for the workshop: 2004. Early India: From The Origin to 1300 AD. University of California Press; 2001. Cultural Pasts: Essays in Early Indian History. Oxford University Press; 2005. Somanatha: The Many Voices of A History. Verso

Details for Participation

  • Who can participate: Students (post-graduate and doctoral students) and teachers, from the social sciences and humanities;
  • How to secure participation: send a brief bionote (in five sentences) along with a short note (not exceeding 200 words) which shows engagement with any of the key issues raised by Prof Thapar in her work;
  • Last date for submission: 1 August 2013;
  • Confirmation: 10 August 2013.
  • Submissions for participation or contact for any other query: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with attention to: Dev Pathak, Coordinator, Department of Sociology, SAU
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