Sanadhya, Varun: Travel Grant - 2016-2017

Graduate School
Project Title: 
Touching the Untouchable, Between Practice and Theory
Project Abstract: 
This project seeks to investigate how empirical practices of inter-dining and inter-marriage came to dominate the campaign against untouchability in early twentieth century India. In turn, the concept of untouchability was challenged and redescribed in diverse ways. By focusing on the private papers of two Theosophists and political leaders of the Congress in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh – Bhagwan Das (1869-1958) and Sri Prakasa (1890-1971), who spoke and wrote about these practices and locally engaged in organizing them, I aim to reconstruct this wider discursive context, and unpack the theoretical commitments to touchability and untouchability that sustained it.