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Kamran Asdar Ali, Director WCH 4.132, Mailcode G9300, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-3550

South Asia Seminar Spring 2005 Series

Posted: January 1, 2005

"Technology of the Modern: South Asian Perspectives" aims to explore the question of modernity through a particular focus on the AÅãgtechnologicalAÅãh aspect of modern power. Technology lies at the heart of Modernity, not only in its narrower and most obvious engineering/mechanical sense, but also as a general thrust towards the systematization of life, including artisanal, cultural and other knowledge worlds. It is this systematization through which the modern fundamentally transforms the AÅãgpre-modernAÅãh and also seeks to introduce radically new forms of imagination. Thus forms of imagining the past are recoded through History, work is recoded through Labor, and childrenAÅãfs lives become the special realm of expert knowledge called Childhood. Simultaneously, new forms of governance emerge to order both natural and social life. Yet, such transformations can neither precisely determine the future forms to which they give rise nor can we assume that the technologies themselves remain intact and are not invested with new significations. Thus, technologization is never fully accomplished (past forms continue to haunt the present) and is even re-produced in unanticipated forms. This is as true for colonial South Asia as for the period after decolonization.

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