Universität Bonn

Abteilung für Asiatische und Islamische Kunstgeschichte

20th European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies

 Emmy Noether Research Project Jainism in Karnataka
Department of Art History and Visual Studies, University of Manchester, United Kingdom

20th European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies (ECMSAS)

Manchester, 8-11th July 2008

Panel 34: "Re-use: The Art and Politics of Integration and Anxiety"

Friday, 11th July 2008


Dr. Julia A.B. Hegewald
Lecturer in South Asian History of Art and Architecture, Department of Art History and Viusal Studies, University of Manchester

Prof. Dr. Subrata K. Mitra
Head of Department of Political Science, South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg



The panel invites papers that focus on specific historical or contemporary cases of conquest, conversion and 're-use'. The contributions will examine the concept of re-use - the inter-contextual transfer of knowledge, design and belief by subjects of aggression, initially for the purpose of survival but ultimately for the construction of a new identity and the transformation of victim-hood into agency - and its various art-historical and political applications in South Asia. The genealogy of religious conflict in South Asia teaches us how, under the impact of radical changes in the structure of political power, institutions, legal concepts, as well as religious images and sacred structures often become prime objects of conquest and transformation. These conflicts over different religious, political and artistic traditions form part of the residue of historical paths of invasion. Such examples constitute the main theme of this panel.

Conflicts over symbols of faith, modes of religious practice and the exclusive right to worship at some holy places continue to be at the origin of intense inter-community violence. Events, such as the desecration of the Babri Mosque at Ayodhya, are a cause of deep anxiety for the legitimacy of the state. However, such conflicts are not necessarily a prelude to total breakdown of order because, re-use - strategic incorporation of the past into the fold of modern institutions - can bring much needed legitimacy to the post-colonial state.       


Conference publication: Re-use: The Art and Politics of Integration and Anxiety
For further information, please see ECMSAS 2008 homepage.

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