Elections: Srijan Sandip Mandal runs for the Secretary Position
Srijan Sandip Mandal is on the faculty of the Center for Public History (CPH) at the Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology (SMI) in Bengaluru, where he heads the MA program in Public History, the first and only graduate program dedicated to public history in India.
He holds a PhD in History from the University of Hyderabad (UoH); his doctoral thesis was on the restrictions on the right to freedom of speech and expression in the Constitution of India and their effect on laws of colonial provenance. He has presented his research to academic audiences in India (at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi and UoH) and abroad (at the Library of Congress, University of Aberdeen, and Université Paris Diderot). However, to reach audiences outside the academy, he has recently created a conversational videobot as part of Dara’s RadBots project, which represents his interpretation of a forgotten member of the Constituent Assembly of India.
Beyond constitutional history, in particular, and legal history, in general, he is also interested in historiography and the philosophy of history, which he first explored in his MPhil dissertation at UoH – on the historiography of Tipu Sultan and what that can say about the philosophy of history. He has recently adapted parts of that research to heritage walks, which he leads in and around Bengaluru on the afterlives of Tipu.
At SMI, he teaches courses on public history to graduate students and on citizenship and historical thinking to undergraduate students.
Statement of interest in the position and in the IFPH
I learnt about IFPH from my colleagues at the Center for Public History (CPH), especially its founder and director, Dr Indira Chowdhury, who had participated in the 4th IFPH Annual Conference at Ravenna in 2017. I have been following the work of IFPH with some interest ever since, and even more so after I became part of the South Asian Network for Public History last year.
The more I learn of IFPH’s work, the more convinced I am of its need, especially in a country like India, where there are a number of initiatives and projects that can be called public history, but there is hardly any recognition of public history as a distinct field of practice, much less one of study, teaching, and research. CPH, in its ten years of existence, has been one of the few institutions, if not the only one, dedicated to practising and promoting public history in the country and beyond. And as a member of its faculty for almost half that time, I have contributed to, and learnt from, CPH’s work.
That experience would, I believe, hold me in good stead to contribute to the work of IFPH as well. And being elected to the Steering Committee as its first Indian – if not South Asian or even Asian – delegate would provide a much-needed fillip to the process of institutionalising public history that CPH has been working assiduously towards since its inception.
The Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), the university of which the Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology (SMI), Bengaluru has become a constituent unit last year, does offer support for travel and other institutional work, which are available to members of its faculty upon application and approval.
Other than English, I am proficient in Hindi and speak Bangla as well.