Ways of Knowing: Asaris, Nampoothiris and Colonialists in Twentieth Century Malabar, India 公开

Kizhakke Nedumpally, Sunandan (2011)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/x920fx423?locale=zh


This dissertation explores the historical trajectories of the different
forms of knowledge production in the colonial context analyzing the
community reform movements of two caste communities in twentieth century
Malabar in India. Through a comparative historical study, the work
investigates how Asaris (the carpenter caste) and Brahmins (the priestly caste)
of Malabar, in their attempt to reform the community, differently negotiated
with the colonial practices of production of knowledge. In this analysis, I mark
the activities in the dominant field of knowledge both in the colonies and in
post-colonies as production of knowledge and the embodied actions of
knowing outside the dominant field as practices of knowing. The major
objective of the study is to trace the tension between production of knowledge
and practices of knowing by analyzing their interface both in the colonial and
post-colonial situations.
Asaris in the first half of the twentieth century assimilated the new
materials and the new social relations emerged through colonialism into the
fold of Asari world without entering into the order of knowledge. They
avoided colonial interventions in their practices by keeping asarippani
(carpentry) a practice of knowing. By the last decades of the twentieth century,
general socio-economical changes in the region and technological changes in
the construction field forced Asaris to incorporate elements of 'modern
knowledge' which transformed asarippani into a new form. By the end of the
twentieth century asarippani moved into an overlapping field of production of
knowledge and practice of knowing. Nampoothiris, through the reform
movement during the second quarter of the twentieth century, attempted to
establish a continuity between the 'traditional' Brahmanical knowledge and
'modern' scientific knowledge. The dissertation shows that the specific way in
which colonialists conceptualized knowledge, enabled Nampoothiris to enter
into the order of knowledge maintaining the dominance in the society. The
comparative analysis of production of knowledge and practice of knowing
contributes to a politics which challenge the homogenizing tendencies in the
contemporary institutional practices of knowledge. The dissertation also
demonstrates and underscores the possibilities of different ways of knowing
and being in this world.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1: An Asari world of Knowing

Chapter 2: A Nampoothiri World of Acharam

Chapter 3: Nampoothiris and the Order of Knowledge

Chapter 4: Asaris and the Order of Knowledge


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