The Eurocentric notion of South Asian Hindu society as intrinsically ahistorical due to its perception of time as cyclical has resulted in more than two centuries of misreading of Indian traditions. While this misperception has been viewed with increasing suspicion in recent decades, the scholars who attempt to read Indian texts with the aim of deciphering indigenous perceptions of the past remain few. This project seeks to redress this lacuna by compiling, translating and analyzing a corpus of oral traditions from the West Himalayas that shall be investigated in light of recent theories of Social Memory. The project shall further draw upon Anthropology, History and Oral Literature to explore the ways Himalayan communities preserve, appropriate and manipulate shared experiences from their past to assert collective identities in the preset, thereby contributing to the multidisciplinary study of Social Memory and broadening its scope to include that of Himalayan Studies.
* Please note that the correct title of this project is 'Narrating the Past in the Hindu Himalayas: On Social Memory in South Asian Oral Traditions' and NOT 'Cultural History of the West Himalayas', which was a provisional title used to log into the EPSS system, but which I was subsequently unable to change.
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