Among the Mahakoshal Records, Archival
research in Bhopal, M.P.
BA in History and Political Science, Boise State University
"Adivasis and Artisanal Production: Gond Pardhans in Mandla District, Central India circa 1866-2001"
My research is in dialogue with the impulse in Subaltern Studies to document alternative imaginings of community and social protest by indigenous groups. The specific focus of my study is the contest between the colonial state and Gond tribal imaginings of river, forest and community. I situate my research in Jabalpur district, Madhya Pradesh in India during the period 1920-48. Currently my project is in a preliminary stage. I will examine how Gond accounts of river, forest and community are delegitimized by upper caste accounts as well as the official archive of regional and national newspapers (published in Delhi, Indore, and Bhopal) as primitive and pre-modern. By consulting "the anti-archive" of Gond household art and myths about the sister rivers Narmada and Jehala, I probe gaps in the official narrative.
Another of my areas of research interest draws on the Latin American Subaltern Studies project. I am intrigued by the historical method of trans-local comparisons. I want to employ this method to make connections between ecologically-based social movements involving the adivasi Gond community and indígenas in Oaxaca, Mexico. Trans-local comparisons shed light on the ways in which the official version documented in the archives is not monolithic. Historians can access the challenges made by indigenous narratives to modernity by viewing indigenous groups in a comparative frame.