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Owen M. Lynch papers

Creator:
Lynch, Owen M., 1931-2013  Search this
Extent:
132 Sound recordings
43 Linear feet (83 boxes.)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound recordings
Photographs
Correspondence
Electronic records
Manuscripts
Field recordings
Field notes
Place:
India -- Social life and customs
Agra (India)
Date:
1945-2012
Summary:
The papers of Owen M. Lynch (1931-2013) contain his research and fieldwork on marginalized castes in India, and in particular highlight his work among the Dalits, or Untouchables, in Agra. The collection consists of field notes, surveys, interviews, maps, drawings, manuscript notes and drafts, language materials, subject files, day planners, correspondence, university papers, conference symposium and panel materials, photographs, sound recordings, video recordings, and electronic records.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Owen M. Lynch document his research and field work in India, and in particular highlight his work among the Dalits in Agra. The collection consists of field notes, surveys, interviews, maps, drawings, manuscript notes and drafts, language materials, subject files, day planners, correspondence, university papers, conference symposium and panel materials, photographs, sound recordings, video recordings, and electronic records. The Munda Languages Project was Lynch's first fieldwork experience in India and focused on the Nihali and Nahali languages. His subsequent research focused on the Dalits in Agra, the Dharavi slums of Mumbai, the Chaube Brahmans in Mathura, and the Radhavallabhi sect in Brindaban. This research is represented well in his field notes, photographs, and sound recordings.

Lynch also kept extensive subject files on numerous Indian issues which contain significant material on the Dalits, Indian economics and politics, and related researchers. There is a small amount of Lynch's university papers from both his time as a student and as a professor. His student material includes reading notes, his student papers, and dissertation proposal. His university papers are chiefly course and lecture notes. The bulk of the photographs are from Lynch's fieldwork, primarily from Agra and Mumbai. Included are photos of slums in Agra and Mumbai, shoemakers in Agra, weddings, ceremonies, conferences, and parades. There are also prints used in his first book The Politics of Untouchability. The presentation slides are thematically arranged sets of photographs, presumably used for course lectures or conference presentations. The majority of the sound recordings are from fieldwork in Agra in 1994-1995, and include lectures, interviews, conference recordings, and songs.
Arrangement:
The Owen M. Lynch papers are arranged into 13 series:

2. Research, 1956-2006

3. Subject Files, 1953-2012

4. University, 1951-2010

5. Writings, 1963-2005

6. Writings By Others, circa 1950-2003

7. Correspondence, 1947-2010 and undated

8. Professional Activities, 1977-2004

9. Biographical, 1945-2007

10. Ephemera, circa 1990-circa 2000

11. Photographs, circa 1940s-circa 2009 and undated

12. Sound Recordings, 1962-2006

13. Video Recordings, circa 2000-circa 2011

14. Electronic Records, circa 1980-2011
Biographical Note:
Chronology

1931 -- Born on January 4 in Flushing, New York

1956 -- B.A., Fordham University

1962-1964 -- Fieldwork: Munda Languages Project, Madhya Pradesh, India

1964-1964 -- Fieldwork: Dalits in Agra, India

1966 -- Ph.D. in anthropology, Columbia University

1966-1969 -- Assistant Professor, State University of New York at Binghamton

1966-1986 -- Seminar Associate, Columbia University Seminars

1969-1973 -- Associate Professor, State University of New York at Binghamton

1970-1971 -- Fieldwork: Squatters in Mumbai, India

1974-2003 -- Charles F. Noyes Professor Emeritus of Urban Anthropology, New York University

1978-1984 -- Senior Research Associate, Southern Asian Institute, Columbia University

1980-1982 -- Fieldwork: Pilgrimage and Chaube Brahmans in Mathura, India

1988-1989 -- Fieldwork: Radhavallabhi Sect in Brindaban, India

1994-1995 -- Fieldwork: Dalits in Agra, India

2013 -- Died on April 26 in Boston, Massachusetts

Owen M. Lynch was an anthropologist and scholar with New York University who was noted for his pioneering work with the Dalits, or Untouchables, in India. He was born in 1931 in Flushing, New York. He earned his bachelor's degree from Fordham University (1956) and his Ph.D in anthropology from Columbia University (1966). He began his teaching career in 1966 as an assistant professor at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He became the Charles F. Noyes Professor Emeritus of Urban Anthropology at New York University in 1974 where he remained until his retirement in 2003.

His first fieldwork experience was with the Munda Languages Project in Madhya Pradesh, India, in 1962. His involvement with the project centered around work with the Nihali and Nahali languages. In 1963, he began fieldwork among the Dalits in Agra. He worked with the Jatavs, many of whom were shoemakers. This fieldwork would evolve into his dissertation, and form the basis for his first book The Politics of Untouchablility, published in 1969. He continued to study the Dalits and other marginalized peoples in India, including the Dharavi slums in Mumbai, Chaube Brahmans in Mathura, and the Radhavallabhi sect in Brindaban. He wrote extensively about the impact of Dalit leader B.R. Ambedkar, as well as the intersections of Buddhism, politics, and economics within India and the Dalit community.

Lynch was active in numerous anthropological associations. Among other professional appointments, he served on the editorial boards of South Asian Social Scientist (1984-1987), the Association of Asian Studies (1973-1977), and the International Journal of Hindu Studies (1997-2013); he was chair of the South Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies (1985-1988) and president of the Society for Urban, National and Transnational Anthropology (1996-1998). He was also involved with groups such as the Volunteers in Service to India's Oppressed and Neglected (VISION), and was an active participant on conference panels and symposiums. He retired from teaching in 2003, and died in 2013.

Source consulted:

Friedlander, Eva 2014 Owen M. Lynch (1931-2013). American Anthropologist. 116(4): 898-900.
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Owen Lynch's niece, Maureen Murphy, in 2013.
Restrictions:
Some material related to scholarship applications, job applications, and doctoral applications and defenses are restricted and not available for access. Restriction dates are noted in the container listing.

Access to the Owen M. Lynch papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Topic:
Buddhist pilgrims and pilgrimages  Search this
Urban anthropology  Search this
Caste -- India  Search this
Linguistics  Search this
Ambedkar, B.R.  Search this
Untouchables  Search this
Language and languages -- Documentation  Search this
Dalits  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Correspondence
Electronic records
Sound recordings
Manuscripts
Field recordings
Field notes
Citation:
Owen M. Lynch papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NAA.2013-11
See more items in:
Owen M. Lynch papers
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-naa-2013-11

Ambedkar, B.R.

Collection Creator:
Lynch, Owen M., 1931-2013  Search this
Extent:
4 Folders
Container:
Box 11
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1990-2012
Collection Restrictions:
Some material related to scholarship applications, job applications, and doctoral applications and defenses are restricted and not available for access. Restriction dates are noted in the container listing.

Access to the Owen M. Lynch papers requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Collection Citation:
Owen M. Lynch papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Owen M. Lynch papers
Owen M. Lynch papers / Series 2: Subject Files
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-naa-2013-11-ref499

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