Modern history

Keywords for India: A Conceptual Lexicon for the 21st Century

Keywords for India: A Conceptual Lexicon for the 21st Century

What terms are currently up for debate in Indian society? How have their meanings changed over time? This book highlights key words for modern India in everyday usage as well as in scholarly contexts. Encompassing over 250 key words across a wide range of topics, including aesthetics and ceremony, gender, technology and economics, past memories and future imaginaries, these entries introduce some of the basic concepts that inform the 'cultural unconscious' of the Indian subcontinent in order to translate them into critical tools for literary, political, cultural and cognitive studies.

Inspired by Raymond Williams' pioneering exploration of English culture and society through the study of keywords, Keywords for Indiabrings together more than 200 leading sub-continental scholars to form a polyphonic collective. Their sustained engagement with an incredibly diverse set of words enables a fearless interrogation of the panoply, the multitude, the shape-shifter that is 'India'. Through its close investigation and unpacking of words, this book investigates the various intellectual possibilities on offer within the Indian subcontinent at the beginning of a fraught new millennium desperately in need of fresh vocabularies. In this sense, Keywords for India presents the world with many emancipatory memes from India.


Chapter 1. Classical heritages: Databases of memory

Chapter 2. Contemporary aesthetic modes: Reimaginings

Chapter 3. Economic mantras, media and technological change

Chapter 4. Intimacies: Culture and material culture

Chapter 5. Emancipatory imaginaries

Chapter 6. Language and self-reflection

Chapter 7. Politics and the political


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