Production of knowledge about the Orient has not been an enterprise of a monolithic 'West' but rather of European national communities with different histories and interests. This panel focuses on representations of India in literature, art, and scholarship produced in Central and Eastern Europe.
The debate on Orientalism(s) does not seem to lose its edge after almost forty years since Edward Said brought it to life. Arguably the major development has been the decentralisation of the 'Western' construction of the 'East'. Discussions of Orientalism without the Empire, of colonial versus non-colonial Orientalisms, and of nesting Orientalism have made the concept more differentiated. The scope and methodology of studying the representations of the Orient have been further broadened by hermeneutic approaches or notions like transnational entanglements. This panel calls for comparative perspective to explore literary, artistic, and scholarly representations of India produced by language communities and nations of Central and Eastern Europe, a region itself poised on the shifting sands between conceptual East and West. Participants are invited to present papers unpacking discourses on India, localised and embedded in individual national or ethnic discourses of the region, across a wide range of primary material from travelogues, novels, poetry, and visual arts to records of intellectual and political encounters and traditions of Indological studies. Contributions are welcome to address issues including, but not limited to, questions such as: How the construction of otherness from or affinity with India served national emancipation movements? How the imagining of India transformed over time and in what geopolitical context? What turn did it take in the postsocialist period and is that imagery changing in the looming geopolitical instability in Europe?