Antoinette Burton

in Dwelling in the Archive

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780195144253
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199871919 | DOI:

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This chapter begins by discussing Janaki Agnes Penelope Majumdar's family history. It then explains that family history is a commemorative practice that creates a very specific kind of archive. It describes Majumdar's “Family History” in the context of colonial Bengal as one that acts as a counternarrative to the family romance that underpinned elite discourses of nationalism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It examines what this work of reconstruction meant in the context of 1930s Indian nation-building in the hands of a prominent nationalist's daughter who was bold enough to chronicle her family's history, and in the process, to reveal her own persistent desire for the elusive fiction of home. It aims to answer recent calls for attention to the role of remembering and forgetting in the “circuits of nationalist thinking” by regrounding the history of Indian Congress nationalism in the social life of “things” like house and home.

Keywords: family history; Janaki Agnes Penelope Majumdar; nationalism; nineteenth century; twentieth century; home; house; social life; nation-building

Chapter.  14749 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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