The Centre for Comparative Literature, School of Humanities, University of Hyderabad (UoH) has organized a Distinguished Lecture titled “Conversion and the Idea of the Secret” by Professor Gauri Viswanathan, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University on August 9, 2017 at the School of Humanities Auditorium, UoH.
Prof. Gauri while delivering the distinguished lecture said that, secret/mystery as the key in the discourse of religion and conversion. She argued that there is not only an impossibility of earlier identities being totally erased by conversion but there is also a possibility of one mystery being subordinated by another, one secret that symbolizes a knowledge system being substituted by other secret. This therefore leads to the repression of one set of beliefs by another that can never be obliterated.
Prof. Gauri said that mystery and secret are interruptions of the linear history. This in-turn through the story of the forced convert Leo Africans, points out to how identities are not holy, scared and stable, she added. Prof. Gauri concluded by pointing out that occult traditions provided a freer way of expressing the historical experience of colonization.
Prof. Panchanan Mohanty, Dean, School of Humanities welcomed and introduced the speaker while Ms. Aritra Saha, Research Scholar proposed a vote of thanks.