Language, Emotion, and Politics in South India

Language, Emotion, and Politics in South India : The Making of a Mother Tongue

3.5 (8 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?


What makes someone willing to die, not for a nation, but for a language? In the mid-20th century, southern India saw a wave of dramatic suicides in the name of language. Lisa Mitchell traces the colonial-era changes in knowledge and practice linked to the Telugu language that lay behind some of these events. As identities based on language came to appear natural, the road was paved for the political reorganization of the Indian state along linguistic lines after independence.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 20.32mm | 453.59g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 6 b&w photos, 5 maps
  • 0253220696
  • 9780253220691
  • 2,112,310

Review quote

The study subtly identifies links that all too often appear lost in the haze of un-critical activism. For that reason, along with its readable and forceful prose, this book makes a lasting contribution to knowledge and offers a valuable addition to any reading list on modern South Asian history. * South Asia Research * [O]riginal and persuasive . . . This lucid and engaging work will appeal to South Asianists as well as to other scholars interested in the history of language and literacy.Dec. 2009 -- Mary Hancock * University of California, Santa Barbara * The aim of 'Language, Emotion, and Politics in South India' is to show how the specific history of Telugu-language politics can shed new light on general questions of importance to researchers in a variety of fields who are concerned to understand "the processes that have led speakers of particular languages to see themselves as having a separate history, literature, politics, and identity". . . [An] ambitious and creative work.Feb 2010 * Cultural Anthropology - AAA * [M]akes a brilliant intervention in the study of language and modernity by critically interrogating the concept of the 'mother tongue' . . . brims with interesting and provocative ideas that extend beyond its immediate focus. . . .a fascinating and ambitious project.Vol. 82, No. 4, 2009 -- Amanda Weidman * Bryn Mawr College * Mitchell's study successfully demonstrates that 'The story of colonial encounters with language in Southern India includes the story of efforts to bring very different sensibilities regarding language into a single frame of discourse'.

While colonial restructuring of language contributed significantly to the making of the mother tongues, the fact remains that the resurgence of regional languages and the demand for linguistic states in South India served a powerful impulse-cultural unification and political empowerment of people scattered among arbitrary administrative divisions.Nov 2011 * Journal of Asian Studies *
show more

About Lisa Mitchell

Lisa Mitchell is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and History in the Department of South Asia Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
show more

Table of contents

AcknowledgmentsNote on Transliteration and Spelling Introduction: A New Emotional Commitment to Language1. From Language of the Land to Language of the People: Geography, Language, and Community in Southern India2. Making a Subject of Language3. Making the Local Foreign: Shared Language and History in Southern India4. From Pandit to Primer: Pedagogy and Its Mediums5. From the Art of Memory to the Art of Translation: Making Languages Parallel6. Martyrs in the Name of Language? Death and the Making of Linguistic PassionConclusion: Language as a New Foundational CategoryNotesBibliographyIndex
show more

Rating details

8 ratings
3.5 out of 5 stars
5 0% (0)
4 62% (5)
3 25% (2)
2 12% (1)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X