Date: Thursday, Feb. 23
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: 1117 UCC
Presented by: Philip Lutgendorf, professor of Hindi and Modern Indian Studies in the Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures in CLAS
This presentation offers a report on my research into the promotion and popularization of tea-drinking in 20th century India. It is inspired in part by recent ethno-historical work on everyday culinary commodities, by anthropological interest in the “social life of things,” and by my own recognition of the remarkable role that tea, modified to Indian taste, has come to play in diet, social intercourse, and public culture in a relatively short span of time. My research focuses on the mass popularization of indigenized “chai” through changes in marketing, manufacturing, and consumption, and in eating habits, urban space, and social networks, and involves both archival and field research. In my talk, I will emphasize the role played by advertising images in transmitting the “tea habit” to Indians, both prior to and following Independence in 1947.
Over the past several decades vernacular music industries in many parts of South Asia have utilized artistic traditions originating in Dalit communities to create marketable commodities of “folk culture.” Why do music industries that celebrate and seek to raise the profile of “folk arts” (lok sangeet) also routinely neglect and exploit regional “folk artists” (lok kalakar)? By attending to the experiences of musicians from three hereditary caste communities in the Garhwal Himalayas—Baddi, Bajgi, and Jagariya—and by interrogating the body politics of a number of mass-mediated representations, this talk will interrogate the idea that new media and vernacular markets have had a democratizing influence on musical practice. Instead, I demonstrate that entrenched and widely-shared conceptions about caste-based status, function, musical style, and mobility continue to influence who is allowed to participate in regional studio recordings, and how they are ultimately represented on video and cassette albums.
This new consciousness among vernacular publics highlights corruption at all levels of government and the corporate world, while still resisting the hegemonic discourse of economic growth. The talk looks at the recent populist social mobilization (jan andolans) against corruption and its possible grievance mechanism (Jan Lokpal Movement). It analyzes how an urban democratization movement features a competitive struggle among vernacular publics, and how the state and news media struggle over the legitimacy of alternate politics and vernacular public space, as it moves beyond electoral politics but still calls for democratization and transparency in governance.
Date: Friday, April 20 Space Place Theater Lecture demonstration - 3:30 p.m. Performance - 7 p.m.
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Date: Thursday, Oct. 4
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: 1117 University Capitol Centre
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