Dhir SARANGIChercheur invité

Mai - Juillet 2019

Dhir Sarangi is professor at the Centre for French & Francophone Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He teaches French literature and History of art. His research interests include French literature and Indo-French cultural history. For the past several years he has been researching on the Collection of Indian paintings at the Bibliotheque nationale de France. He co-curated an exhibition of these paintings in New Delhi in 2006 titled “Lost Palaces of Delhi” which highlighted the contribution of French collectors such as Jean-Baptiste Gentil to the art scene in India during the 18th century. He is currently researching on knowledge productions on India during the 19th century by French scholars.


  • “Peintures indiennes et transferts culturels” in Synergie-Inde, Revue du GERFLINT, no 7, 2016, Inde-France
  • “La place du mythe dans le théâtre de K. Madavane”, Réflexion – Revue des études françaises et francophones, Numéro 2, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, India, 2015
  • “Se représenter dans la culture de l’autrui: une étude des miniatures indiennes du 18e siècle” Histoire de l’Art, No 75, APAHAU, avec le soutien de Direction générale des patrimoines, Ecole du Louvre et Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Paris, 2014
  • “Jean-Baptiste Gentil and His Collection” (book chapter), in Reaching the Great Moghul: Francophone Travel Writing on India of the 17th & 18th Centuries, Ed. Rao, Vijaya, Yoda Press, Delhi, 2012
  • Apollinaire et le cubisme (book), Shubdha Publications, New Delhi, 2007
  • Lost Palaces of Delhi, The European connection (exhibition catalogue), EurIndia & Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, New Delhi, 2006
  • ‘’Cubisme et littérature : une étude de Calligrammes de Guillaume Apollinaire’’, Synergie-Inde, numéro 1, Année 2006, Revue du GERFLINT, Inde-France
  • "Les mondes occultes et merveilleux dans Savitri de Sri Aurobindo" Démons et merveilles, le surnaturel dans l'Océan Indien, Edited by Jean Claude Carpanin Marimoutou; Valérie MagdelaineAndrianjafitrimo; Bernard Terramorsi, Océan Editions, Université de La Réunion, 2005
  • “Nolini Kanta Gupta et la tradition poétique française” Rencontre avec l’Inde, Tome 33, n°1, 2004, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), New Delhi
  • “L’inspiration spirituelle dans la poésie de Sri Aurobindo, de Nolini Kanta Gupta et de Prithwindra Mukherjee” Rencontre avec l’Inde, Tome 29, N°3: 2000, ICCR, New Delhi

Projet de recherche

Title: French productions on India during the 19th century

France’s serious engagement with the East and India in particular dates back to the late 18th century when scholars such as Louis-Mathieu Langlès, Anquetil Duperron, Eugène Burnouf to name a few, dedicated themselves to the study of oriental texts and learnt their languages. Not only were they scholars in their own right, they also held important positions in public life which helped them promote knowledge on India and establish institutions for the study of the Orient.

But this scholarship on India was made possible because a huge amount of material (both textual and visual) had already been amassed from India by Jesuit priests, travelers, merchants and diplomats at various periods of history. This vast body of documentation on India, housed in the then Bibliothèque du Roi (today Bibliotheque nationale de France) was classified and organized by French scholars which would later be used by various scholars of India. Based on these primary sources French scholars produced a body of scientific knowledge on religion, society and culture of India, during the mid-19th century. Some of these books ran into several volumes and many were illustrated with drawings.

Taking into account the post-Saidian framework of cultural exchanges/ entanglements and shared histories as propounded by scholars such as Finbarr Bary Flood, Sanjay Subramanian and others, this study attempts to revisit notions of knowledge creation by examining its processes, tools and methods. We would like to argue that, based on vast amounts of textual and visual resources available in archives in Europe during the time, this secondary body of scientific knowledge was primarily driven by a genuine concern for knowing and engaging with the other, outside of any ethnocentric or colonial project.