chapter
12 Pages

Introduction

WithRita Banerjee

The Introduction sets forth the structure and aims of this collection of essays, while providing summaries of chapters. It shows how, despite the emphasis on facts in history-writing, a skepticism regarding objectivity has grown lately. That history is designed as a narrative itself betrays the “selective and partial,” and therefore, the quasi-fictive nature of its construct. Many of the chapters in the collection interrogate the relation between “verifiable history” and literature. The literary and semi-fictional genres in the present volume present alternative historiographies for the readers.

The emphasis on culture studies as opposed to political or economic history establishes the collection’s claim to alternative histories. Cultural studies focus on histories of cultural encounters, and the first three chapters are concerned with cultural encounters. Moreover, people’s histories show the popular resistance narratives opposed to the dominant story of colonial civilization or state-sponsored progress. The second section gives us the suppressed or concealed histories of neglected areas, Dalits, tribals, along with the divergent concept of a narrative of synthesis through its four chapters. The final section continues the narratives of alternative histories, focusing on the visual and auditory media in the two chapters.