‘Convinced about Knowing Little’

Convinced about Knowing Little’

Colonial Knowledge Production in Grierson’s Linguistic Survey of India (1903-1928) 


 Professor Javed Majeed

(Professor of English and Comparative Literature, King’s College London

London, United Kingdom) 

Date & Time : 22 nd June, 2021 Tuesday at 3.00 PM





Drawing on his recent two-volume study of Grierson’s Linguistic Survey of India (1903-1928), the speaker will discuss the multiple axes, conflicting strands, and productive paradoxes of colonial knowledge in the LSI. In particular, he will address the following questions:

 What do the terms ‘India’, ‘Survey’, and ‘knowledge’ mean in the Linguistic Survey of India?

In what sense is the Survey ‘colonial’?

What is the relationship between superintending and authoring in the Survey?

What role does ignorance, doubt, and loss play in the Survey’s generation of knowledge in relation to the failure of the planned Linguistic Survey of Burma?

Finally, how might we think about the LSI’s postcolonial legacy?


About the speaker: 

Dr. Javed Majeed is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at King’s College London. His book publications include Ungoverned Imaginings. James Mill’s The History of British India and Orientalism (1992); Autobiography, Travel and Postnational Identity. Gandhi, Nehru and Iqbal (2007); Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism (2009); Nation and Region in Grierson’s Linguistic Survey of India (2019); Colonialism and Knowledge in Grierson’s Linguistic Survey of India (2019); with Christopher Shackle, a translation and critical edition of Hali’s Musaddas: The Flow and Ebb of Islam (1997); and with Isabel Hofmeyr, the edited collection India and South Africa (2016).