A special talk on ‘The Discipline of English and Literary Public Spheres’ was delivered by Prof Nandana Dutta, a noted scholar, academic and professor of English at Gauhati University at North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) here yesterday.
The event was organised by the Department of English, in collaboration with Research Scholars’ Forum and Shillong Forum for English Studies (SFES).
In her lecture, Dutta explained how in a very seminal way English studies have been instrumental in shaping and directing public spaces for opinion formation and intellectual discourses. Citing the 19th century intellectual history of the North East in general and Assam in particular, Dutta said that from Anandaram Dhekiyal Phukan, Gunabhiram Barua, SK Bhuyan to contemporary intellectuals like Hiren Gohain, Sanjoy Hazarika and other stalwarts associated with English studies had played significant roles in the development of inclusive, diverse and critically multi-layered social narratives.
Referring to the German philosopher Jurgen Habermas, Dutta argued that public spheres were the spaces for opinion formation, debates and deliberations where English as a discipline had always provided seminal critical vantages.
In his welcome address, Prof Jyotirmoy Prodhani, Head of the Department, described Dutta as one of the sharpest minds of the present generation of teachers of English belonging to this part of the country. Chaired by Prof Moon Moon Mazumdar, the session drew elaborate interactions and discussions from teachers, scholars and students present at the venue.