IIAS | IIAS Newsletter Online | No. 25 | Regions | Bengal Studies


Bengal Studies Special Issue,

Dedicated to Dusan Zbavitel

In a somewhat unusual but refreshing format, this collection of essays published in a single issue of the well-known Czech Archiv Orientalni constitutes, in fact, a Festschrift or felicitation volume for the doyen of Bengali Studies in the Western world, Professor Dusan Zbavitel. Five of the contributions had been presented at the 'Bengal Studies Panel' of the Fifteenth Conference of Modern South Asia in Prague, 1998. The editor has added to these very substantially, however: five invited articles, two review articles, fifteen sizeable book reviews and a bibliography of Prof. Zbavitel's writings. All these contributions taken together cover a great deal of ground, abundantly revealing the enormous variety, but underlying unity, of the rather new discipline of Bengal Studies. Bengali grammar, anthropology, the reception of Tagore in Europe, Women's Studies, literature, travelogues, and history are among the disciplines represented in this volume. Scholars on South Asia often question the need for Bengal Studies, or worse, brand it as separatism from mainstream South Asian Studies. The first point is answered by the sheer scholarly weight of this volume. Anybody who is somebody in Bengal Studies has contributed to it. The second point can also be countered by referring to this volume. Rather than calling Bengal Studies separatist, this volume offers a good model, both of what such studies should look like and of what they are able to accomplish as an intellectual exercise. One can only hope that the other South Asian linguistic areas (often crossing political borders!) will develop their own studies. Bengal Studies as represented in this remarkable volume do not portend any separatism but reflect South Asian historical, political, social, and linguistic realities. - (VvB) *

- Radice, William ed., Bengal Studies Special Issue, Dedicated to Dusan Zbavitel to His 75th Birthday Archiv Orientalni, Volume 68, No. 3 (2000), pp. 327-536, ISSN 0044-8699.


   IIAS | IIAS Newsletter Online | No. 25 | Regions | Bengal Studies