Topic-icon Aviroop Sengupta Introduction

1 year 9 months ago - 1 year 9 months ago #240 by Aviroop S
Aviroop Sengupta Introduction was created by Aviroop S
Hi everyone!

My name is Aviroop, and I am a 5th year PhD student in South Asian Studies at Columbia University. I am currently wrapping up archival research for my dissertation, which seeks to historicize the ways in which the emergent disciplines of zoology, botany and anthropology in colonial and early post-colonial India staked separate claims to scientific status and practice through competing definitions and analyses of 'life'.

Of particular interest to me are the distinct fieldwork and experimentation cultures advocated and practiced by a range of scientific workers - British as well as Indian - between the late-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, often organized around the epistemological and methodological search for (different versions of) a specifically 'Indian' science. In my dissertation, I hope to understand why the most vociferous of these actors concentrated on offering new explanations for the meaning of 'Life' and the relations it imposed and ordered between and among humans, animals and plants. To take two quick examples especially relevant to the theme for this year's summer school: the physicist-botanist JC Bose's famous experiments demonstrating the 'inner lives' of plants, as "a-thrill" with the mystic cosmic force allegedly conceptualized by 'ancient Indians' called prana as animals, humans and all non-living matter alike; and the Zoological Survey of India's bionomics program seeking to designate separate 'zones of life' and 'zones of lifelessness' in the depths of Indian seas.

Looking forward to meeting everyone in Ischia!
Last edit: 1 year 9 months ago by Aviroop S. Reason: (made it shorter)

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The summer school is funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the collector George Loudon, the American National Science Foundation, and the journal History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences.

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