Carmen Brandt “The manifold challenges and functions of script in modern South Asia”
Studies on the socio-cultural and political dimensions of writing systems in present-day South Asia are still sparse, although some parts of this region are highly multilingual and -scriptal and have been witnessing an increasing importance of script among ethnic and religious minorities in the last decades. My habilitation project aims to provide the first comparative study to fill this gap by, firstly, providing an overview on the situation of the challenges and functions of scripts in modern South Asia, and, secondly, by forming a new theoretical framework based on detailed case studies of script movements among minorities in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. After gathering material and empirical data during field studies to Baltistan (Pakistan), Chittagong Hill Tracts (Bangladesh), and Manipur (India) in 2014, I will present my first findings during the Winter Academy.
Carmen Brandt has been a lecturer cum researcher at the South Asia Section of the Institute for Oriental Studies, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg since 2007. Apart from teaching Bengali, Hindi and other courses, she is the author of Educating Santals: The Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Joypurhat (Bangladesh) and the Issue of Cultural Alienation. She has written her PhD thesis on the perception of itinerant communities in Bengal in fictional and non-fictional sources and is also interested in the media landscape of Bangladesh and India. In her habilitation project she is focusing on the socio-cultural and political dimensions of script in South Asia.