Chapter

Writing the Community

Anne Murphy

in The Materiality of the Past

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199916276
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980253 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199916276.003.0003
Writing the Community

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Historical objects are made meaningful in relation to the narratives that they represent and substantiate, the literary historiography that animates the past's more material form. The material of Sikh history, therefore, only makes sense as part of a larger historiographical project that we can recuperate mainly in its literary forms. This chapter explores precolonial and early colonial period literary representations of the past to reconstruct how history has been imagined and represented in Sikh terms. By understanding the representation of the past in Sikh tradition in literary terms, we come to understand what is at stake in the representation of the past as object and as site, and how they participate in a larger historical imaginary. The focus is on how the texts themselves understand and construct the past, through memory and into history. It is shown that textual representations and material ones participate together in a shared articulation of the community of the Gurus through the represented past.

Keywords: historical objects; literary historiography; Sikh history; past; literary representations; texts; Gurus

Chapter.  19024 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sikhism

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