"The South" as object of knowledge between archaeology and history

Author(s): Mannat Johal

Year: 2017


With a focus on writing about the medieval period in southern India, this paper will interrogate how south India came to be defined as an object of knowledge, and thus, a space for representation. Narratives on the south Indian past, from the writing of the Dravidian proof in early 19th century Madras to Nilakanta Sastri’s iconic History of South India in the year of India’s independence, have engendered polyvalent inheritances for current historiographical projects. In unpacking these inheritances, this paper is interested in the mechanics of the constitution of historical facts.

While the history of medieval south India has typically drawn from textual sources, both literary and epigraphical, archaeology makes different promises of retrieval and representation. Yet, archaeologists too must contend with inheritances of method and narrative, often rooted in the particularities of the object of knowledge. Taking a cue from the attentiveness of deconstruction towards the processes of historiography, archivisation and the representation of knowledge, this paper interrogates the relationship between evidence and narrative. It is especially interested in the impetus for new evidence, and the role of newly generated facts in plugging perceived gaps in our knowledge of "the south".

Cite this Record

"The South" as object of knowledge between archaeology and history. Mannat Johal. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430682)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 59.678; min lat: 4.916 ; max long: 92.197; max lat: 37.3 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15279