Atreyee spent two years as an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at the Jackman Humanities Institute from 2016 to 2018, during the theme years on Time, Rhythm, and Pace, and Indelible Violence: Shame, Reconciliation, and the Work of Apology.
She’s currently Associate Professor of Anthropology at O P Jindal Global University, Sonipat, India. She shares insights about her time at the JHI and what she’s been doing since her Fellowships.
The JHI Experience
My time at the JHI was an excellent experience, I made friends that I am still in touch with. The Fellows' Lunch was a space where a lot of feedback was given and received. I enjoyed the lunches thoroughly. At the JHI, I mostly worked on my book manuscript Time, Space and Capital in India: Longing and Belonging in an Urban-Industrial Hinterland.
Time, Space, and Capital in India
Published in 2018, Time, Space, and Capital in India is fundamentally concerned with the relations among the theoretical categories of time, space and capital in India and shows registers of temporality and spatiality generated by historical phases of interaction with industrial capital. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Howrah, I examine the form of urbanism that is not linked to the city-form of spatial organization, a "hinterland urbanism".
The book brings out the theoretical implications by showing the relations among time, space and capital. Through a series of encounters and interceptions with a number of voices arising, the book sheds light on the issue and identifies the state of an ethnographer who is ensconced in the field – in wonder, conceit and sometimes physical discomfort.
Time, Space, and Capital in India is an exploration of such historical layering of space by forces of time and speed afforded by the logics of capital, through limited acts of witnessing of production and access of historical sensation.
Importance of the Humanities
The humanities are important modalities of thought that are increasingly less valued. The humanities are important in shaping the political and civic consciousness of students and the young, and in bolstering the resistance against the rise of fascism across the world. Humanities undergraduate degrees should be considered at par with other professional degrees for jobs in management, marketing, consulting etc.
Institutions like the JHI can provide spaces for fresh doctorates or advanced PhD students to come and spend a year or two in the safety of regular income, while they are finishing their research and writing projects, like they did during the Mellon Project. The JHI can increase its relations with scholars of the humanities outside Europe, UK, and America.