Overview for Monuments, Objects, Histories: Institutions of Art in Colonial and Postcolonial India
Monuments, Objects, Histories surveys the practices of archaeology, art history, and museums in nineteenth-and twentieth-century India. It looks at processes by which 'lost pasts' came to be produced in India. This book reveals the scholarly and institutional authority that emerged around such structures and artifacts, making them not only the chosen objects of art and archaeology but also signifiers of a nation's civilization and antiquity. The close relationship between the colonial and the national in the making of India's pasts, and their legacy for the present, are one of the themes of this book. It looks at the consolidation of western expertise and custodianship of India's antiquities; at the projection of varying regional, nativist and national claims around the country's architectural and artistic inheritance; and at contemporary political tussles that have placed archaeology and art within struggles over defining the Indian nation. In brief, this book races the framing of an official national and canon of Indian art through different periods, showing how the workings of disciplines and institutions have been linked with the authority of the nation.
Tapati Guha-Thakurta (Author)
Tapati Guha-Thakurta is Professor of History at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata. The author of the Making of a new 'Indian' Art: Artists, Aesthetics, and Nationalism in Bengal, She is a specialist on art and the cultural history of modern India.