South Asia at Chicago:
Fifty Years of Scholarship


Highlights From the Library’s Holdings

The Official Publications of India

Nearly 23,500 volumes of duplicate books and serials in the Official Publications of India are now on their way to Chicago on long-term deposit from the British Library. Included are the pre-1947 publications of the Government of India and of other governments within the territories now comprising the Republics of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar (Burma). Published by the British during the Raj, the books and serials in the Official Publications chronicle colonial rule of South Asia in minute detail. Among the topics covered by these publications are: land tenure, ethnographies, trade statistics, military expeditions, archaeological surveys, crises such as plagues and famines, artisans and their trades, listings of civil and military employees, regional gazetteers, law reports, and legislative accounts. These documents are essential for understanding nineteenth- and twentieth-century India.

The British Library's historical collections on India are world-renowned. In 1987, an administrative reorganization joined the former India Office Library and Records with the main British Library. This resulted in duplicate holdings of the Official Publications of India, books rarely found in the United States. Only about twenty percent of the titles to be deposited are available anywhere in the U.S. at present. With the move to the British Library's new London facility at St. Pancras already begun and the discovery that its space would be less than had been hoped, British Library administrators were anxious to reduce the duplication in their collections. That fact linked with the British Library's vision of service to an international community of scholars prompted this deposit arrangement.

Professor Dipesh Chakrabarty, of Chicago's Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, said, "These materials will confer incalculable benefits on teaching and research in South Asian studies and in British Imperial history, not only in this University but in the North American region as a whole." He went on to add, "Scholars and students of Indian history in India, Australia and the UK have for some time now enjoyed the advantage of having these publications available in hard copies in libraries in their own countries. This deposit by the British Library will bring the same advantages to researchers in North America."

As a part of this collaboration with the British Library, the University will improve access to the Official Publications by preparing a site on the World Wide Web. Support for digitizing selected volumes and mounting them on the web site for world-wide access is being provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation via the Association of Research Libraries' Global Resources Program.


The Roja Muthiah Tamil Collection

In 1994 the University of Chicago Library purchased an important and unusually wide-ranging collection of Indian cultural materials from the family of Mr. Roja Muthiah, a collector and artist who lived and worked in the Chettinadu district of Tamilnadu, south India. At the suggestion of Professor A. K. Ramanujan the University decided that the collection should remain in India. Chicago has committed itself to preserving and making available to scholars this valuable body of research materials, microfilms of which will be added to the University’s collection, while the originals and a copy of each microfilm will remain in Madras. In this effort, the University is joined by MOZHI, a Madras public trust dedicated to developing resources in Tamil language and culture. The collection is now located in the newly created Roja Muthiah Research Library in Madras.

Mr. Muthiah (1926-1992) owned a sign-painting business in Madras, India, called Roja Arts. From this he adopted Roja, meaning "rose," as his personal name. In the early 1950’s Mr. Muthiah began collecting books. As a young man he scoured the book stalls of the Moore Market in Madras. Later in life he returned to his native village of Kottaiyur. Here, he continued to build his collection, and compile abstracts and indexes, with the aid of his wife and two children. Every room of the Muthiah household house was filled with books. The collection was frequently consulted by Indian and foreign scholars. Duplicates from the collection were sold; the University of Chicago and the British Library were among Mr. Muthiah’s customers. The University of Chicago’s purchase of the Roja Muthiah collection in 1994 met Mr. Muthiah’s concern that his collection should not be dispersed.

The University of Chicago has led an international effort to preserve this important cultural treasure. Besides the University and MOZHI trust, agencies that have committed resources to support the Roja Muthiah Research Library include: the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine in London, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Department of Education, the Ford Foundation, the University of Chicago Women’s Board, and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in New Delhi.

The Roja Muthiah Research Library’s notable strengths are its holdings in classical and modern literature, literary criticism, medicine, cinema and the related culture of printed works (such as song books), folklore, material by and about women, religion and philosophy, and numerous publications of historical value. The types of materials included are: approximately 50,000 volumes of books, 1,600 journals and newspapers, oleolithographs from the workshop of Ravi Varma, more than 29,000 abstracts and index entries for Tamil journal articles, nearly a half-million clippings, cinema and play posters, and a small group of palm leaf manuscripts. Most of the publications date from the latter half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth.


The Illustrated Book:

British Art From the Colonial Era

During the colonial era the British developed a strong visual tradition that, often comically, illustrated and characterized British life in India. Many of these visual self-representations offer caricatures of British habits of rule. Often they were created as a means of communicating information about colonial life in India to other Britishers about to embark on their first journey to the East. The authors and illustrators of such publications intended their work to be "useful as well as amusing," as Captain Williamson said in the preface to The Costume and Customs of Modern India from a Collection of Drawings by Charles Doyley, Esq.. With the passage of time, it has become both that and more.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, there were many professional and amateur British artists in India. The amateurs were extremely prolific. Pratapaditya Pal and Vidya Dehejia note in From Merchants to Emperors, "of the more than ten thousand items preserved in the India Office Library in London, less than one-tenth are by professional artists." Among the better known amateur artists of the period were Sir Charles D’Oyly (1781-1845), Captain Robert Grindlay (1786-1877), G. F. Atkinson (1822-1859), and Emily Eden (1797-1869). "While most professionals were engaged in painting portraits of the nabobs and sahibs or composing history pictures of imperial interest, the amateur artists were able to cast their nets much wider. The works of professional artists had to satisfy their clients and sell in a fairly competitive market. The sketches and drawings of the amateurs, however, were meant primarily for the artists themselves, were executed more freely, and are more intimate observations of the Indian scene."

The presence of both professional and amateur artists meant that Anglo-Indian life between 1757 and 1857 was recorded in extraordinary detail. "Whatever else may be said of British imperial rule in India, no other colonial power in history left such a vast amount of visual material recording the life and perceptions of the ruling class with such fidelity or in such graphic detail. There were many other colonial powers in Asia during the Victorian age, and the British themselves ruled territories other than India. But, nowhere else can one experience the domestic and official lives of the British as intimately as one can through their pictures, drawings, lithographs, and photographs of India," Pal and Dehejia say.

The impressions sketched by amateur artists continued to circulate through the mid-nineteenth century in the form of illustrated books and portfolios using lithographic techniques. These include Hodge’s Views on India (1785), the Daniells’ Oriental Scenery (1795), Forbe’s Oriental Memoirs (1813), Williamson’s Oriental Field Sports (1819), D’Oyly’s Costumes of India (1830), and Emily Eden’s Portraits of the Princes and Peoples of India (1844), several of which are displayed here.

But this romantic image of India ended around the time of the mutiny in 1857, "which dramatically altered the British attitude toward India. India was no longer a mysterious and unfamiliar country; the British public’s curiosity had been well satisfied" and interest declined. Very few professional artists visited India after it was an official part of the empire. In addition, photography came to India early and displaced the documentary function of the painters, changing too the texture of visual representation. Photography was able to bring the real India rather too close for comfort. It is at this same moment that caricaturists began depicting mutual disdain in Anglo-Indian life, rather than an idyllic image of its bliss. Pal and Dehejia note, "While in many ways the early professional photographers pursued the same interests as the early painters, their medium could produce more candid, direct images.... While the picturesque and romantic India so evocatively and effusively evoked by the painters of the earlier period may have captivated the British imagination and satisfied their curiosity about the exotic, it was the realistic images of photographers that awakened their audience to the reality of an India that was not always so palatable."


Indian Arts

Chicago’s Library includes materials on all aspects of South Asian arts, from classical to popular. These holdings involve multiple media and reflect the means through which the arts currently circulate in the subcontinent. They are variably textual, visual, videographic, and audio-visual.

Responsible scholarship on contemporary South Asia requires familiarity with the images in and through which South Asian self-representation currently occurs. Popular films are a central locus for the articulation and dissemination of contemporary images of South Asian cultural identity. Since the 1970s the Indian film industry has ranked as the largest in the world in terms of annual output. In addition, many offshoots of the film industry circulate widely (and somewhat wildly) throughout the subcontinent. These include music cassettes, video cassettes, cinema song books, cinema posters, and regional-language magazines addressing cinema culture. To study this popular film culture is not necessarily to celebrate it, but to acknowledge its pervasive influence throughout the region.

In his recent University of Chicago Press publication on popular music and contemporary Indian Cassette Culture, ethnomusicologist Peter Manuel redefines and then re-deploys earlier anthropological notions of an Indian "Great Tradition," His work captures the extent of the influence that mass-mediated popular culture now has on life in contemporary South Asia. Manuel writes:

Milton Singer coined the terms "Great Tradition" and "Little Tradition" to point out the distinction between mainstream, pan-regional, sanskritic Hindu culture, and the panoply of discrete, localized, regional cultural heritages that abound in South Asia. In its pan-regionality and mass dissemination associated with cultural elites, mainstream popular culture -- and particularly film culture -- has come to constitute a new "Great Tradition," influencing the lives and worldview of several hundred million South Asians, in villages as well as towns and cities.

Mainstream Indian films are often referred to as "masala" films: spicy, with a little bit of everything to satisfy all tastes. They include sultry song and dance numbers, graphic fight scenes, dramatic dialogues, and classic comedy bits. Of course, the filmic images, as well as the epic stylistic framework in which they are embedded, play upon already established (even archetypal) cultural images and stylistic canons. The Indian epic tradition has provided the most influential and enduring source of Indian imagery and cultural archetypes. The two great Hindu epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, each has a central story out of which myriad related stories grow. Indian literary, representational, and performing arts of all types have long built upon the foundations of these stories, elaborating upon their themes, and the characters of their major and minor personae, in multiple voices.

This case presents a range of materials from the Library collection which highlight both the filmic popular culture of contemporary South Asia, as well as its cultural antecedents in earlier representational and performing arts.


The A. K. Ramanujan Papers

Born in Mysore, India, A. K. Ramanujan (1930-1994) was the William H. Colvin professor in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, in the Department of Linguistics, and a member of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. A brilliant poet, linguist, folklorist, translator, and short story writer, Ramanujan joined the faculty in 1962 and was the author of seventeen books, including seven volumes of his own poetry in English and in Kannada. He is especially renowned for his groundbreaking translations of early classical Tamil poetry (c. 100 B.C.- 250 A.D.), The Interior Landscape and Poems of Love and War. He was awarded the title Padma Sri by the Government of India in 1976, and a MacArthur Prize Fellowship in 1983. After his untimely death in Chicago in July 1993, the Department of Special Collections received A. K. Ramanujan’s collected Papers in June 1994. The Papers contain materials ranging from handwritten lecture note cards to draft translations of poetry, and include several of Ramanujan’s unpublished essays and interviews in manuscript form.

The A. K. Ramanujan Papers provide an opportunity to consider the profound aspects of the relationship between scholarship and place. Ramanujan’s work speaks of journeys across cultures in biographical, linguistic, social and poetic terms. These journeys emphasize the essential role of a particular place in a scholar’s life. Ramanujan speaks of having kept Indian aspects of himself alive when in Chicago through working with Indian languages, and doing precisely the reverse when in India. "Why do I write in English? Many reasons, none of them literary.... By a curious perversity, I read Tamil constantly in the Kannada area, Kannada in the Tamil area; studied and taught English in India; and India and Indian languages in the U.S. Such perversity, I suppose, serves to keep alive the immediately absent parts of me."

Ramanujan further articulated the psychic complexities of transcultural identities such as his own in a short story written in Kannada early in his career at Chicago, "Annaiah’s Anthropology." The protagonist is an Indian student at Chicago who finds that "While in India he had dreamed of America, England and Europe. Here in America, he read more and more about India." As the student pursues self-knowledge in and through dislocation, he experiences both joy and horror in academic life. The interaction of East and West, individual and society, science and self are present throughout Ramanujan’s work and transcultural experiences form the heart of Ramanujan’s creative scholarship.

An interviewer once asked Ramanujan to discuss the affinity between his poetic sensibility and the sensibilities of the classical Tamil poems he translated so beautifully. He answered:

Look at the classical Tamil poems, their attention to experience. These poems attracted me by their attitude to experience, to human passion and to the external world.... Their attention to the object is not to create the ‘object’ of the Imagist, but the object as enacting human experience: the scene always a part of the human scene, the poetry of objects always a part of the human perception of self and others.

This seemed to me an extraordinary way of writing poetry. I came upon these first century poems in Chicago. I started reading them, hesitantly, not being formally trained in classical Tamil. I was amazed at the transparency of the poems, the sophistication of the early commentators. And so I acquired some facility in reading them by teaching nothing else for some time. My training as a linguist and my experience as a native Tamil speaker surely were a help. When I started translating them, I found that there were any number of poems which I would have liked to have written myself. I do not translate out of love but out of envy, out of a kind of aggression towards these great poems. I think one translates out of a need to appropriate someone else’s creation, done better than one could ever do. The ability to engage entirely the world of things, animals, trees and people, attending to their particularity, making poetry out of it and making them speak for you -- this seems to me extraordinary.

The range of Ramanujan’s own intellectual work and the insightful poetry that infused it is no less extraordinary. He wrote the following poem towards the end of his life:

Fear No Fall


That night
I was tottering without a foothold
on a ramshackle pyramid
of all my books piled any which way
on to a horse cart
and me slipping on top of it,
without a door or a wall to my name,
moving through a market town,
looking for a place,
dropping books in several languages
all along the way,
in a panic fear of falling and breaking my neck
in the gutters below
when a voice both within and without
said, ‘Fall, fall,
you’ll never fear a fall again,
fall now!’


The Milton B. Singer Papers

Milton B. Singer (1912-1994), cultural anthropologist and philosopher, had a long and illustrious career at the University of Chicago. Singer played a central role in the conception, development, and consolidation of South Asian studies in the United States. Reflecting upon his career shortly before his death Singer divided his academic career into five periods during five decades, each defined by his involvement with a particular project and program of research and teaching. This personal progression bears witness to important changes in the culture of the American social sciences from the 1940s to the 1990s.

In 1940, Singer received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago’s Department of Philosophy and began his teaching career as a lecturer in the University’s Extension program. In 1941 he joined the faculty of the University in the Social Sciences division of the College. Between 1941-1952 he moved from Instructor to Professor, and in 1952 was named the Paul Klapper Professor of the Social Sciences. In 1954 , he joined the Department of Anthropology, where he continued to work for the remaining forty years of his life, becoming Professor Emeritus in 1979. Shortly before his death in 1994, Professor Singer bequeathed his papers to the University.

One of the determining influences upon Singer’s career was his involvement with Robert Redfield’s Project on Comparative Civilizations (1951-1961). Singer wrote that "at the time Redfield asked me in 1951 to join him to find methods for characterizing and comparing civilizations, he had already started to move anthropological method away from synchronic-functional and causal models towards a more historical and humanistic approach. He had already begun to reformulate his folk-urban continuum into a folk-civilization continuum, as a historic structure in which ‘great traditions’ and ‘little traditions,’ ‘great communities’ and ‘little communities,’ ‘modernity and tradition’ interacted and changed the world views and value systems of particular communities and special groups." Perhaps Singer’s most famous contribution to the Redfield Project was his identification of "cultural performances" as occasions for studying the relationships between cultural innovations and traditions.

For this exhibition we have chosen to focus on one phase of Singer’s anthropological research in India, his study of the bhajan, a form of group devotional singing and prayers that Singer thought revealed "an intriguing relationship between the traditional movements and modern urban life" (Singer 1972:199). His ethnographic study of bhajans is a core element of his influential book When A Great Tradition Modernizes (University of Chicago Press, 1972). In his "contextual analysis" of Radha-Krishna bhajans, Singer described this contemporary revitalized devotional practice as an "urban pastoral," an effective organization for meeting the human need for social intimacy in an increasingly secular and impersonal urban center.

The organization and creation of urban networks to meet human needs was not merely an academic interest for Singer, but also characterized his contribution to the world in which he lived: Singer was a truly gifted networker and organizer. The Milton B. Singer Papers preserve an impressive collection of correspondence with scholars around the world with whom Singer engaged in projects throughout his life. His scholarly work demonstrates how key individuals help to form social organizations that eventually affect the lives of many. Singer’s papers reveal a striking parallel between his own organizational and committee work at the university and at national levels and his intellectual interest in how people organize their social networks. The Singer papers convey both the sense of the Redfield/Singer project on the comparison of civilizations and the meticulousness with which Singer approached this lifelong project, person by person and group by group.


Albert Mayer Papers on India

The Albert Mayer Papers on India are comprised of the personal papers, correspondence, reports, plans and related materials that the architect and planner Albert Mayer (1897-1983) assembled while working on rural development and urban planning in India during the 1940s and 1950s. During the 1930s, Mayer had worked as a civil engineer in New York City where he helped to foster urban planning intended to ameliorate social conditions. He subsequently became involved with the New Deal administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and helped to draft housing policies that formed the basis for the U.S. Housing Authority established in 1937. During World War II, Mayer’s service as an army engineer overseeing the construction of airfields in Bengal stimulated an abiding interest in Indian life and culture. In 1946 Mayer’s new interest combined with his previous experience as an advocate of innovative urban planning led him to propose a program for model villages to the Congress Party, the prospective government of an independent India. In March 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, leader of the Congress Party and future Prime Minister of India, invited Mayer to assist in planning for India’s new future: "I hope that in this business of planning for a happier and more prosperous India we shall have the great advantage of your experience." From these beginnings Mayer was intimately involved in Indian village planning and development for more than a decade.

Together with his proposals for model villages, Mayer helped plan the cities of Cawnpore (now Kanpur), Bombay, Delhi, and Chandigarh as well as design buildings for institutions such as the Allahabad Agricultural Institute and the Standard Vacuum Oil Company in Bombay. Mayer also wrote several books and numerous articles on planning and community development. A recipient of numerous awards and citations, Mayer was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and, in recognition of his pioneering application of social research to planning and development, an honorary fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology.

Because of Chicago’s long-standing commitment to the study of South Asia, Mayer selected the University of Chicago Library as the depository for his Indian papers. Professor Richard L. Park of the University of Michigan, as secretary of the Association for Asian Studies, not only strongly supported Mayer’s decision to deposit his papers in Chicago but also was instrumental in encouraging preservation of the papers of other men and women involved in the development of Indian-American relations after World War II. The Mayer papers formed the foundation for what has become a significant archive of the papers of Americans who have worked and studied in independent India.


Gitel P. Steed Papers

Gitel (Gertrude) Poznanski Steed (1914-1977) was an American cultural anthropologist known for the team research project she directed in Gujarat. Columbia University’s Research in Contemporary India Field Project which she led had a remarkably ambitious agenda and resulted in the collection of an unusually broad range of data.

The majority of the material in the Gitel P. Steed Papers consists of research data from the Field Project conducted from 1949 to 1951. The data were collected from three villages and include extensive life histories of informants, psychological tests, field notebooks, photographs, genealogies, histories, transcripts of interviews, and artwork by both researchers and villagers. The items displayed here represent only a small sample of the range of materials in the collection, which was given to the University of Chicago by her husband, Robert Steed, in 1978.

Steed conducted the India Field Project at a time when very few women anthropologists had undertaken extended research in India. She was a younger member of that generation of pioneering American women anthropologists that included Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, and Ruth Bunzel. While a graduate student at Columbia University Steed studied under Benedict, and her India Field Project bore the hallmarks of that influence in its attempt to understand the relationship between individual personality and its social context. This concern of the immediate postwar period was central to the anthropological school of "culture and personality" studies.

A member of an impressive culture of anthropological personalities herself, Steed was interested in studying the relation of social institutions to personality formation. In Gujarat, Steed wished to show the relationship of village structure and culture to "personal careers," and conversely how individual acts revealed community processes. This entailed studying social structure, kinship, social organization, and culture -- and then, somehow, finding ways to measure individual lives against the "sociological horizon" (Steed 1964, cited in Berleant-Schiller 1981:333). The scope of the project was practically boundless. Steed returned from India in 1951 with thousands of pages of notes and photographs. Now collected in the archives of the Special Collections section at the University of Chicago, these materials not only provide important historical documentation of Gujarat at a critical moment in the postcolonial political reorganization of the subcontinent, but offer equally important historical documentation of the goals and methods of American anthropology at a critical moment in the postwar reorganization of American academia.

For the India Field Project Steed assembled a research team that included (among others) a psychiatrist, a psychologist, an economist and several interpreters. She herself learned photography for the project. The research team used a variety of methods to gather data on both individual psychology and social institutions. Most of their data on individual psychology derived from detailed life histories comprised of long, free-ranging interviews known as "personal narrations." In some cases, these interviews took place over the course of an entire year. Informants were asked to speak and reflect as freely as possible on the things that they believed affected their lives. In addition to the interview, the informants underwent a set of psycho-diagnostic tests including one or more of the following: Rorschach (which asks informants to identify shapes in ink blots); Thematic Apperception Test (informants are shown a series of illustrations and asked to talk about the situation, the people in it, and what they might be doing or thinking or feeling); Horn-Hellersberg (a drawing test); Draw-a-man (informants are asked to draw and comment on a man, woman and child); and Color Association Test (informants are given a set of words and asked to associate a color with the idea conveyed by the words). In addition the researchers encouraged both adults and children to draw with pencils and paint with watercolors. A small sample of this remarkable range of methodological materials are on display here, particularly an example of an illustration from the Thematic Apperception Test (T.A.T.), and the narratives it elicited from several informants.

Complementary data on social institutions was collected through survey methods as well as participant observation. The researchers completed thorough surveys that collected important data on the economy, politics, religion, kinship, and caste organization. An example of the kind of synthetic view of village life that the research team attempted is a chart, represented in a single wheel, of all the castes and occupations in one village.

The sheer amount of data elicited through these methods seems to have proven overwhelming -- a single question on the T.A.T. text for example might result in several pages of dense narrative written in a small hand -- and very few publications resulted from the India Field Project. Steed’s one substantial publication was an essay entitled "Notes on an Approach to a Study of Personality Formation in a Hindu Village in Gujarat," presented in the University of Chicago publication Village India (1955) [see the second next case]. Some of her Indian photographs are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, some were published in Edward Steichen’s 1955 landmark book The Family of Man, and still more were exhibited in the original show from which that publication evolved. Photography perhaps best captured the essence of Steed’s project. In the end the magnitude of the materials collected seemed to defy organization and synthesis, perhaps largely a result of the nature of the materials themselves and their focus on the individual, which tended to produce infinitely expanding personal narratives that were not amenable to codification.


Cora du Bois Papers

Cora Du Bois (1903 - 1989) was an American cultural anthropologist known for her studies in culture and personality, her understanding of change in complex societies, and her multi-disciplinary approach. Du Bois was the Radcliffe Zemurray Professor affiliated with the Departments of Anthropology and of Social Relations at Harvard University from 1954 until her retirement in 1969. In 1968, she was elected to the presidency of the American Anthropological Association. Her landmark study, The People of Alor (Du Bois 1944), was one of the first anthropological efforts at psycho-cultural synthesis. The book was based on fieldwork Du Bois conducted in Alor, Indonesia from 1937-39.

World War II interrupted Du Bois’ academic career. She worked for twelve years in what is now referred to as applied anthropology, first for the Office of Strategic Services (1942-45) and later for the U.S. State Department (1945-49), the World Health Organization (1950-51) and the Institute of International Education (1951-54). These experiences shifted her attention away from the psychologically based research undertaken in Alor -- a line of research which she believed could not be pushed much further -- towards a broader concern with social, political, and cultural change.

When Du Bois returned to field study she chose to work in India. She initiated a long-term (1961-72) study known as the Bhubaneswar Project in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, which was funded by a series of grants from the National Science Foundation. The study considered the transformation of Bhubaneswar from a traditional site of Hindu pilgrimage into the new administrative capital of the state of Orissa. When Bhubaneswar was selected as the site of the new state capital in 1946, the land adjacent to the ancient Siva temple at Bhubaneswar was a government-owned jungle tract, and the total population of the area did not exceed 10,000. By 1951, the population had increased to 17,000, and by 1961 there were 40,000 inhabitants. The goal of the Bhubaneswar Project was to understand the socio-cultural changes resulting from such rapid growth and "the dramatic confrontation of modern and traditional Hindu life-ways" that the researchers assumed would follow. As with Du Bois’ earlier Alor study, the project in India was interdisciplinary and collaborative in nature, involving students from the fields of anthropology, sociology, religion, and urban planning.

For over a decade Du Bois and a series of American and Indian graduate students investigated different aspects of change in Bhubaneswar. In the end, Du Bois was dissatisfied with the results of her own research, a survey of changing values, and chose not to publish the material. However, she directed nine Ph.D. dissertations investigating different facets of change there, and served as consultant and mentor to her younger colleagues, most of whom have continued to do research in Bhubaneswar and other parts of India.

Some of the materials in the Cora Du Bois Papers, located in the University’s Department of Special Collections at Chicago, demonstrate the difficulties Du Bois experienced during the course of the Bhubaneswar Project research. One of the documents on display here is a report dated November 12, 1961, entitled "Difficulties of Research in Bbs." wherein Du Bois wrote:

At the lower levels of the bureaucracy and among the people at large the idea of research and particularly social science research is quite beyond the realm of experience and understanding. It is viewed either as trivial or suspicious and dangerous, like all unknown things. It may be too sweeping to say, as many Indians in Orissa do, that distrust and suspicion is the dominant mood of interpersonal relationships, nevertheless it is certainly a widespread phenomenon. People’s motives, their hidden intentions, the harm that they might do you, or the trouble that might accrue to you are constantly in the forefront of people’s minds. Reluctance to speak frankly and freely is widespread. Authority gains compliance but not necessarily frankness. This situation makes the use of questionnaires even more dubious here than elsewhere.

Research in the Cora Du Bois Papers might determine whether the limitations of the survey methodology affected Du Bois’ decision not to publish her Bhubaneswar Project material. Her Papers contain hundreds and hundreds of the survey interviews known as the "Values Questionnaires," samples of which are on display here.

The primary focus of the Values Questionnaires is personal practice and belief in situations requiring ethical action and opinion. For example, question 59 reads

One person says, "The most important thing an eleven or twelve-year-old boy should learn to do is always to obey the wishes of his elders." Another person says, "The most important thing a boy should learn is to think for himself." Which person do you think was correct? a) the first, or b) the second.

Du Bois incorporated this question and thirty-three like it into a questionnaire comprised of eighty queries. The questionnaire form was developed by Joseph Elder, the former President of the American Institute of Indian Studies, for his own Ph.D. dissertation research in Uttar Pradesh, India, during 1956-58 (see letter Du Bois to Elder on display). In the Bhubaneswar Project, the Values Questionnaire was used to interview people from a broad range of occupational groups. Responses to the Questionnaires were then scored by the research team. Every possible answer to every survey question was assigned a numerical value, according to a "Master Code Plan." For example, for question 59 cited above the number 1 is assigned to the answer "obey elders," the number 2 to an informant who equivocates, the number 3 to the answer "think for self," the number 4 if the informant replies "don’t know," and the number 5 if the informant rejects the question. These numerical values were then entered onto scoresheets (see display) that allow the reader to scan down a particular column and assess the range of given answers with which informants from a given occupational group responded. Remaining with question 59 in our example, in column 40, we find seventeen 1s and three 3s; this means that of the twenty informants whose responses were charted onto this scoresheet, only three respondents overtly prioritized a young boy’s learning to think for himself over learning to obey his elders (while none equivocated, claimed ignorance, or rejected the question; of course, we remain unsure of any other, non-numerically coded, responses the informants may have expressed).

Much of the structure of this questionnaire seems unacceptable in the 1990s, and perhaps its limitations were already felt by Du Bois in the 1960s. As with the Gitel P. Steed Papers, the Cora Du Bois papers allow future researchers the opportunity to access a set of materials reflecting both an earlier moment in postcolonial Indian life and an earlier era in the life of American academia, particularly that of American anthropology in South Asia. Together the Cora Du Bois Papers, the Albert Mayer Papers on India and the Gitel Steed Papers from the early 1950s, present a wealth of opportunities for research into the history of field projects in India. Continued growth in this area remains a goal of Chicago’s archival collections.