[SydPhil] HPS Research Seminar Series 2019 - PROFESSOR PRATIK CHAKRABARTI
debbie.castle at sydney.edu.au
Tue Feb 19 10:51:41 AEDT 2019
SCHOOL OF HISTORY
Held in conjunction with the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science
SEMESTER ONE 2019
RESEARCH SEMINAR SERIES
MONDAY 25TH FEBRUARY 2019
PROFESSOR PRATIK CHAKRABARTI
Chair in History of Science and Medicine, at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester
Past Unlimited: The Canal of Zabita Khan
This paper shows how deep history superseded various other forms of historical imaginations in India. It traces this process through the history of the canal of Zabita Khan. In the early 19th century, the British began one of their most ambitious irrigation projects in India. As British engineers started to dig the Doab canal, they realised that there existed an medieval system of canal networks. In the course of the excavations, ancient canals appeared indistinguishable from old riverbeds and geomythical rivers and the lines between the monument and the terrain or the 'natural' and the 'historical' become imperceptible. Rivers moved, legends moved with them; dead riverbeds became canals, canals became natural channels of water and mythical rivers were traced in the landscape. In the process, the landscape, the legends, and the monuments became part of this colonial antiquarianism in which the history of a medieval canal was recounted as one of deep history.
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