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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Centre for International Relations Research (CIRR) Chair Group on History and Theory of International Relations

CIRR-HTIR colloquium - ARNAB DUTTA: "Languages, Geopolitics, and Bengali Germanism, 1919–45: An Intellectual History"

When:Th 24-02-2022 16:00 - 18:00

Research colloquium of the chair group History and Theory of International Relations.

Arnab Dutta
Languages, Geopolitics, and Bengali Germanism, 1919–45: An Intellectual History


Drawing from the transnational reception of the ideas of Deutschtum / Germandom in British Bengal, Arnab’s doctoral dissertation shows as to how Interwar Germany had reshaped the Bengali understanding of nationhood; and why these conceptual transferences were translated in creating an alternative version of political action and political community within the anticolonial rhetoric of late colonial British India. In broad terms, Bengali anti-colonial intellectuals and activists who identified with Germany and ‘Germanism’ were fascinated by the idea that Germany and India shared a common ‘Aryan’ root. Most of them located this common root in the idea that there was a sharp divide between the ‘Aryan’ and the ‘Semitic’, a linguistic and racial doctrine that was well established in Indo-European Philology (which the Germans called Indogermanisch). In that context, what did it mean to define anti-colonial sovereignty in Bengal in similar linguistic and racial terms; and how did it impinge upon the geopolitical questions of Bengali nationhood? Answering these questions, this talk presents the penultimate chapter of Arnab’s doctoral dissertation-project, titled as “In Search of an Alternative Europe: Germanism in the Bengali Imagination, 1919–45.”