SASC Colloquium Series: Slavery, Mobility and the Making of the Konkan, Ananya Chakravarti

Event time: 
Thursday, March 3, 2022 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Henry R. Luce Hall (LUCE ), 202 See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

South Asian Studies Council Colloquium Series: Book Panel: Unsettling Utopia: The Making and Unmaking of French India.
A book panel discussion with Rohit De, SASC & History; Kelvin Eng, History; and Doyle Calhoun, French Department.
Zoom link: Konkan coast, which bound South Asia to the networks of the Indian Ocean while remaining peripheral to its interior polities, has largely escaped the attention of historians. The political fragmentation of the coast, and the mobility of its communities, including enslaved people, have contributed to this oversight. Slavery was not only a constitutive feature of the Konkan coast, but an institution that reveals the chasm between the formal political boundaries that subdivided this land and the lived experience of its inhabitants. Despite the fact that mobility was often dangerous and could lead to imprisonment and enslavement, it could equally lead to freedom and opportunity. Mobility was both a conduit into and out of slavery, ranging from the coastal slave-raiding that fed the region’s slave markets to the routine attempts of enslaved peoples to flee bondage. Following these pathways allows us to view a region that displays a deep spatial and historical coherence that transcends political boundaries. It reveals too the difference between elite projects of enforcing boundaries, and the ways in which enslaved people negotiated these projects. This is as true for spatial boundaries, such as fortified borders and licensed pathways, as for social ones, in the sense of consciously articulated and policed structures of identities. In other words, attending to the history of slavery allows us to view the Konkan as a coherent historical region that is otherwise obscured by elite boundary-making.
The event is hybrid, Zoom with limited Yale-only in-person access.

Ananya Chakravarti, Modern South Asia, Georgetown University