Indigeneity As Ordinary Virtue

(Indigeneity and Local Wisdom in the Defence of the Ordinary)


A Mini-Course in Five Lectures By Dev Nath Pathak 

October 2021

(Dates, timings and technical details for this zoom lectures will be available in mid-September.) 

Lecture One: Rethinking Indigeneity 

This lecture centralises the key strands that identify indigeneity in the mode of ordinary and extraordinary. The objective is to elucidate the indigenous components of everyday socio-cultural lives. Looking at the works of art and aesthetics, craft and cultural constructions, this lecture aims at revealing indigeneity as an inevitable aspect of living and dying. The critical comprehension of indigeneity in everyday life also discloses the threat to it. 


LectureTwo: Personhood

In the context of the ubiquitous indigeneity in the broader framework of everyday life, this lecture centralises the personhood of men, women, children and even non-human entities that belong to the everyday environs around us. It is due to the presence of the indigenous that personhood becomes a premise for possibility of novel socio-cultural actions, enactments, and performance.  



Lecture Three: Vocations

The indigeneity of everyday life influences the vocations endeavours of artists, craftsmen, teachers, and anyone who belongs to the larger category of homo faber. The excessive professionalisation of the fields of vocational actions yield standard formats which may operationalise a scheme of inclusion and exclusion. In such a scheme, everyday indigeneity may undergo transformations and damages too. This lecture seeks to divulge the benefits of vocational, and threats of professional maneuverings on the indigenous.   

Lecture Four: Socio-Cultural Synergies

In everyday life we underline the presence of indigeneity in various instances of the socio-cultural synergies, including festivities and fanfare. Many of the festivities have religiosity associated with them. This brings about an interface of religion, culture, and indigeneity. And simultaneously, it also unfolds a problematic to be dissected in order to reconfigure the significance of indigenous.    


Lecture Five: Indiginous Way of Living and Dying

This lecture is a recounting of the key strands emerging from the first four lectures, in order to curate an ordinary cosmology in which living and dying acquire meanings due to the mediation of the indiginous. Be it in folklore, or in popular culture, there have been ample reflections on the way indigenous ideas, practices and values add to a qualitatively superior experience of death and dying. In so doing, the lecture ends on a note toward unearthing the virtues of indigeneity.   

Course Creator: Dev Nath Pathak

Dev Nath Pathak, currently a founding faculty of sociology at South Asian University, New Delhi, previously taught at Hindu College (University of Delhi), Jamia Millia Islamia, and was a visiting scholar at Brown International Advance Research Institute at Brown University, a Charles Wallace fellow at Queen’s University Belfast, a visiting scholar at Indian Institute of Advance Studies, Shimla, and scholar-in-residence at Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. He coedits a journal Society and Culture in South Asia, and is on the editorial board of Journal of Human Values.  He authored Living and Dying: Meanings in Maithili Folklore (2019) that brought about the novel idea of folk imagination of death. Besides, he edited  Another South Asia (2017), Culture and Politics in South Asia: Performative Communication (2017); Decoding Visual World: Intersections of Art, Anthropology and Art History in South Asia (2019), Against Nation: Thinking Like South Asian (2019), Neighbourhoods in Urban India: In Between Home and the World (2021). Additionally, he has authored many articles in reputed peer reviewed journals, and occasionally writes in popular forums such as Scroll, Quint, etc.