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This talk will feature Dr Rahul Ranjan discussing his new book "The Political Life of Memory: Birsa Munda in Contemporary India'' (Cambridge University Press, 2023). In this book, Dr Ranjan examines the representation of anticolonial and iconic Adivasi leader, Birsa Munda, his political life, memory politics and the making of anticolonialism in contemporary India. The book offers contrasting features of political imaginations deployed in developing memorial landscapes. Framing of Birsa in the heroic narrative through a grand scale of memorialisation, often in the form of the built environment, curates a selective version. This isolates the scope of elaborating his political ideas outside the confines of atypical historical records and their relevance in the contemporary context. The book argues that everyday politics through affective sites such as memorials and statues produce political visions, emotions, and opportunities. It shows how such symbolic sites are often strategically placed and politically motivated to inscribe ideologies. This process outlines how the state and Adivasi use memory as a political tool to lay claims to the past of the Birsa Movement.

Dr Rahul Ranjan

is a Lecturer in Environmental/Climate Justice at the School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh. He is the author of "The Political Life of Memory: Birsa Munda in Contemporary India'' (Cambridge University Press, 2023) and also edited "At the Crossroads of Rights: Forest and Human Rights in Postcolonial India'', (Routledge Press, London, 2022). Prior to this lectureship, he held a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship appointment funded by the Research Council of Norway for the "Riverine Rights" project based in Oslo. Dr Ranjan was awarded the PhD from the School of Advanced Study, University of London. 


All welcome - this event is open to all, but booking in advance is required.

This event is co-hosted by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the Centre for the Study of Cultral Memory (Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies.)