ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Featuring Adivasi/Indigenous Studies

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The possibilities and impossibilities of carving out a separate Adivasi/indigenous studies field within Indian academia are foregrounded. Counterposing the existing modernist and integrationist studies which endeavoured to weave the multiple histories into one singular Adivasi subjectivity to provide an ontological and epistemological understanding of Adivasi society, it proposes an alternative approach to read and analyse Adivasi society on the foundation of indigeneity, which makes a case for the federation of Adivasi/indigenous studies from a politico-epistemological perspective, as the Adivasi question is mainly both political and epistemological.

In 2016, the Indian Economic and Social History Review (IESHR) brought out a special issue on Adivasi or indigenous people problematising the possibilities of developing a separate field of Adivasi studies. Although the issue failed to accommodate a single Adivasi contributor, the effort is noteworthy in the making of Adivasi studies.1 In this issue, Prathama Banerjee (2016: 131) asks an interesting question: “Can Adivasi studies become a separate disciplinary field in the way of gender studies and Dalit studies?” The trouble is, unlike the Dalits and women, Adivasis are heterogeneous communities. Existing studies have endeavoured to weave multiple histories into one singular Adivasi subjectivity to provide an ontological and epistemological understanding of Adivasi society. In her afterword to the IESHR volume, Tanika Sarkar (2016: 155) indeed questions the inadequacy of this approach, which combines multiple histories in one singular history to make a case for Adivasi studies.

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Updated On : 21st Jun, 2021

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