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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:53460
Doc. No:TL23414
Call number:‭3369380‬
Main Entry:Erin Elizabeth O'Donnell
Title & Author:History, trauma and remembering: The construction of a postcolonial Bengali cultural identity in Ritwik Ghatak's filmsErin Elizabeth O'Donnell
College:The University of Chicago
Date:2009
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2009
Page No:250
Abstract:My dissertation, "History, Trauma and Remembering: The Construction of a Postcolonial Bengali Cultural Identity in Ritwik Ghatak's Films," examines the work of Bengali filmmaker, Ritwik Ghatak (1925-1976), who acted in, wrote, produced and directed plays, feature films and documentaries. He also composed short stories and essays on cinema. In his films, Ghatak constructs detailed visual and aural commentaries of Bengal (located in northeast India) in the socially and politically tumultuous period from the late 1940s to the mid-1970s. Twice during his lifetime Bengal was physically rent apart - in 1947 with the Partition of India engendered by the departure of the British and in 1971 by the Bangladeshi War of Independence. In the dissertation, I explore how Ghatak dialectically addresses and questions - from the personal to the national level - the identity of post-Independence Bengal. The formation of East Pakistan in 1947 and Bangladesh in 1971 are two of the pivotal transformations that motivated Ghatak to seek through his films the cultural identity of Bengal in the midst of these new political divisions and geographical boundaries. I argue that Ghatak's films, through their deliberate interrogation of the traumatic events of and around 1947 and 1971, provide a vital layer of historical understanding to these contentious episodes in Indian history. In my dissertation, I address the following key questions: How does a filmmaker "write" and "(re)present" history and how does a filmmaker "write" and "(re)present" the history of traumatic events? How does a politically engaged, Marxian-grounded filmmaker, Ghatak, question, construct and critically intervene in "culture" and the cultural history of Bengal/India in a postcolonial environment? Particularly, how does film translate the transition from a colonial to a postcolonial setting - in Ghatak's films, from the Partition and Indian independence of 1947 through the formation of Bangladesh in 1971 - in ways that differ from traditionally constructed historical texts (i.e., written documents and official narratives)? In the dissertation, I not only consolidate previous research but also elaborate upon the artistic contributions of Ritwik Ghatak to the rich cultural history of modern India. Significantly, I further develop the importance of film as and in history, specifically as a means to express and come to terms with traumatic historical events.
Subject:Communication and the arts; Social sciences; 1947 partition of India; Bengali cinema; Modern Bengali cultural history; Ghatak, Ritwikkumar; South Asian cinema; India; Bengali; History; Film studies; 0900:Film studies; 0332:History
Added Entry:C. Seely
Added Entry:The University of Chicago