Adivasi Worlds: Encountering ‘Indian’ idealism in anthropology before independence

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Invoking aspects of modern ‘Indian’ philosophy, this article asks how national idealism and ethnography coexisted before independence. The idea is to work, temporarily, within the parameters constructed by exponents of pre-independence sociology and anthropology, namely Radhakamal Mukerjee and Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf, to ascertain the conceptual and philosophical purpose of their work. Less an exercise in ideational nostalgia, my concern is to acknowledge the historical existence of an environmental idealism in late-colonial India, and to probe its representational dynamics. Such dynamics, generally excluded from considerations of Adivasi pasts, do merit historical engagement. This focus complements rather than precludes others, as it offers intriguing opportunities for transcultural and transdisciplinary understanding.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironment and the Adivasi World
EditorsMahua Sarkar
Place of PublicationKolkata
PublisherAlphabet Books
ISBN (Print)9788192963525
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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