Welcome to Journal of Bengali Studies (JBS), an academic interdisciplinary online peer-reviewed journal published since 2012, which aims to study the history and culture of the Indic Bengali people!

Journal of Bengali Studies (ISSN 2277 9426) is an indexed, peer-reviewed journal and has received an Impact Factor of 4.596 for the year 2015
(please see http://www.cosmosimpactfactor.com/page/journals_details/529.html).

Currently, Vol.5 No.1, themed on Foreign Encounters is online. 


 The JBS Manifesto

Our focus is on critical investigations on the structures and histories of identity.

We intend to critically intervene into the theories and discourses of community.

Since the state barely shows any signs to wither away as per conventional Marxist-Leninist paradigms, nor do the other establishments of power within the state, the question of negotiating with power becomes crucial, and be it feudalism or capitalist democracy, it is the community which is the most effective structural unit for organizing people in their negotiations with Power, and though it is usually perceived that ideal capitalism gradually makes community and identity redundant, no such practical instances of capitalism exist yet where people can be grouped together for purely commercial purposes (let alone political and cultural and social purposes) without evoking some sense of identity and community. There exist some later day metropolitan and more secular versions of community like institutional and alumni networks which are just reworked communities.

People can come together on the basis of a commonly shared culture, history and language. Hence, studies into the ideas and practical manifestations of community need to be undertaken.

From community, we proceed to study nationalism.

Instead of the standard liberal fascination with the margin, the micro, the recessive and the fragmentary, nationalism always aims at a consolidation of the community and the celebration of a common identity, as that turns out to be an effective method for negotiating with power, or resisting power, or appropriating power or simply translating power. We aim to study this contrast, explore the dimensions of differences and investigate these respective processes.

A community, in order to exercise political, social, cultural and intellectual freedom, needs to have the ability to coordinate among its members and develop its independent discourses and structures of power. One scientific parameter for examining a community's practical independence is to study its relationship with power. If it is dominated by comprador classes, its power-relationships will bear that out. If it has independent structures, similarly, the same will be manifested in the community's power relations. Whether a community is disempowered and is in a process of resistance or is under defeat, we can study the power relations in a particular period to draw conclusions. Power relations are encoded in myriad ways in the cultural, social, religious and economic registers.

In case of the resistance of a subjugated community, which is tin fact he topic of our very first issue, individuals going against their comprador class structures (the largest number of rebels came from the middle classes which was otherwise heavily known for its collaboration with the British) is a unique puzzle that may not always be simplified into a dialectical binary, that imperial rule was Newtonistically bound to produce an equal and opposite reaction, a position which is clearly fallacious, if not outright false. Although class-traitors are compatible with the general Marxist schemes, individuals going against the historical materialist paradigm of base-superstructure are clearly not. Here, individual agency independent of immediate forces of history, deriving its potency from a past (often reworked) memory of a free or resistant community is a critically important aspect of the cultural revival that inevitably precedes any nationalism in a colonized country.

An immanent critique of bourgeois liberal values derived from Enlightenment comes to play a huge role in the cultural revivalist agenda, while nationalism too is an anathema to the Enlightenment rationality which counts among other things a starry eyed liberal optimism as one of its degenerated bye products. Empowered by its past memories, nationalism is paradoxically born with a blasé cynicism that distrusts universalism, suspecting it to be a facade for collaboration.

Through our Journal of Bengali Studies, we shall extrapolate these positions.

Publication Details:
Journal of Bengali Studies is
Edited and Published by Dr Tamal Dasgupta

J 26, Malviya Nagar, New Delhi-17

email: editjbs@gmail.com, shoptodina@gmail.com

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