Cultures of Memory in South Asia

Orality, Literacy and the Problem of Inheritance

  • D. Venkat Rao

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Signatures of Memory

  3. Mnemotexts of Reflection

  4. Embodiments of Response

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 331-336

About this book


Cultures of Memory in South Asia reconfigures European representations of India as a paradigmatic extension of a classical reading, which posits the relation between text and context in a determined way. It explores the South Asian cultural response to European “textual” inheritances. The main argument of this work is that the reflective and generative nodes of Indian cultural formations are located in the configurations of memory, the body and idiom (verbal and visual), where the body or the body complex becomes the performative effect and medium of articulated memories. This work advances its arguments by engaging with mnemocultures—cultures of memory—that survive and proliferate in speech and gesture. Drawing on Sanskrit and Telugu reflective sources, this work emphasizes the need to engage with cultural memory and the compositional modes of Indian reflective traditions. This important and original work focuses on the ruptured and stigmatized resources of heterogeneous Indian traditions and calls for critical humanities that move beyond the colonially configured received traditions. Cultures of Memory suggests the possibilities of transcultural critical humanities research and teaching initiatives from the Indian context in today’s academy.


Chitrassutra Critical humanities Cultural memory Kavyamimansa Materiality of memory, body and idiom Mnemocultural symbolization Mnemoculture Mnemotexts Musical thinking Non-narrative configurations Orality and literacy Performative communications Postcolonial cultural theory Received humanities in South Asia Sanskrit mnemocultural traditions Sanskrit reflective traditions

Authors and affiliations

  • D. Venkat Rao
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of English LiteratureThe English and Foreign Languages UniversityHyderabadIndia

Bibliographic information