HUF students and faculty packed the Meyerson Conference Room on April 26, 2010 to hear this wonderful presentation on Urdu language politics in early 20th century Hyderabad. Kavita Datla’s talk provided a nuanced take on the political struggles over India’s multiple linguistic traditions and enlisted a lively and informative question and answer session.
Kavita Datla’s research interests include the political, social, and cultural history of nineteenth and twentieth century South Asia. Her current work focuses on negotiations over language, education, and religion in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Hyderabad. She is especially interested in how these negotiations relate to the history of Indian and Pakistani nationalism. This research, grounded in close attention to historical evidence in South Asia, has broad ramifications for larger issues currently being debated in the humanities and social sciences today, from the significance and legacies of European colonialism, the inclusions and exclusions enacted by nationalist projects, to the place of minorities in the forging of nationalism, and ultimately also to discussions of the relationship between religion and modern politics and hence also of secularism in colonial and post-colonial societies.
Datla’s work has been published in Modern Asian Studies and has been funded by fellowships from the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) and Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad.