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LINGUIST List 17.1731

Wed Jun 07 2006

Diss: Historical Ling: Mukhopadhyay: 'Archaeology of Bangla Languag...'

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        1.    Sibansu Mukhopadhyay, Archaeology of Bangla Language and Literature

Message 1: Archaeology of Bangla Language and Literature
Date: 07-Jun-2006
From: Sibansu Mukhopadhyay <sibansu_mukhopadhyayrediffmail.com>
Subject: Archaeology of Bangla Language and Literature

Institution: University of Kalyani
Program: Ph. D.
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Sibansu Mukhopadhyay

Dissertation Title: Archaeology of Bangla Language and Literature

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Subject Language(s): Bengali (ben)

Dissertation Director:
Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay
K.S. Ghatak

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis is primarily on the 'origin' 'birth' 'genesis' of a language
'Bangla', revealed in the discursive formation of a subject, The History
of Bangla Language and Literature, written in the colonial and
post-colonial period.

The thesis shows that the imagination of territory 'Bengal' was subscribed
by the disciplinary technology of ideological state apparatuses as it was
constituted in the colonial period. As an imagined nation, Bangla had to
have a definite territory with a centrally controlled standard language and
'other' variations. The 'other' speakers under the umbrella of Bangla,
though captivated by the standard language, got the status of Bangla
through the epistemology of linguistics. As a nation, then, it needs a
definite history with deterministic linear development. History of Bangla
language and literature is no exception. The discourse of Bangla language
and literature produces a linear deterministic periodiztion of languages
and literatures. There are three certain periods in Bangla language as well
as literature: Old, Middle, Modern. This thesis argues that this is mere
historicism and a mimicry of colonizers' periodization. Not only that, the
history of language overlaps history of literature, as if changes in
externalized language determines the changes of literary content.

In the first chapter of the thesis, the methodology of research was
discussed. In this chapter the key words are: archaeology, non-discursive
formation, historical a priori, episteme, genealogical fantasy, mimicry of
over-determination, etc. The second chapter, explores and questions the
essential geopolitical construction of a nation (in this case Bengal) and
its totalizing effect on the subjects. The term 'Bangla' is liable to
semantic change. However, in the process of constructing history per se,
whatever is diachronically constructed as Bangla ultimately subscribes the
construction of heritage in a form of genealogical fantasy. The third
chapter of the thesis is on the 'History of Bangla literature', which as a
nationalistic enterprise was framed on the basis of Hindu-Bangla equation.
On the other hand, this equation was pervaded by a different discourse,
where the discourse of Islam was foregrounded. To define Bangla, the Hindu
intelligentsia emphasized: 1. Bangla is equal to Hindu, so, the Muslims
should be excluded from the history; 2. for the sake of fantastic genealogy
Bangla had to be proved as a classical entity, therefore, the categories
like 'folk' 'tribe' had been marginalized but were not excluded and were
put into a different bin; 3. history was considered as a biological process
of monolithic and linear 'development'. In the fourth chapter, the birth of
Bangla as a discipline in the colonial period was elaborated. And the last
chapter concentrates on the Bangla diaspora and Bangla as a hyper-reality.

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