September - December 2016
Home institution: National Institute of Technology, Silchar, India
Avishek Ray earned his PhD in Cultural Studies from Trent University, Canada. His research touches upon Literary and Cultural Studies, Media Studies and South Asian Studies. He has worked on what may loosely be called archaeology of vagabondage: the political and philosophical implications of the social construct 'vagabond' and cultural representations thereof in context of South Asia. He has edited a Bangla anthology on Religion & Popular Culture, and published in journals like the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (Routledge), Canadian Journal of Comparative Literature, Journal of Human Values (SAGE) among others.
My project looks into the 19th century emergence of tourism industry in colonial India, and seeks to understand how and why certain modes of travelling -- fashioned after the European Grand Tourist -- were particularly endorsed, while certain others discouraged. In order to be accredited for his colonially-acquired taste for aesthetic connoisseur-ship, the ‘modern’ traveller increasingly fashioned himself after the Grand Tourist, which made other indigenous travelling practices look ‘abnormal’. My project examines the extent to which the category 'vagabond' is counter-constructed as a nemesis of the 'tourist'.