Category: Podcast

Interview: Rethinking Classical Indo-Roman Trade by Rajan Gurukkal

Rajan Gurukkal‘s Rethinking Classical Indo-Roman Trade: Political Economy of Eastern Mediterranean Exchange Relations (Oxford University Press, 2016) casts a critical eye over the exchanges, usually and problematically termed trade, between the eastern Mediterranean and coastal India in the classical period. Using insights from economic anthropology to recast the standard narrative of the time, the study explores ports and polity in south India as well as the different types of exchange relations in both the eastern Mediterranean and the subcontinent. A provocative, fascinating and deeply detailed study, the book is sure the shake up existing scholarship on the topic.

I recently spoke with Rajan for New Books in South Asian Studies. You can listen here or here:

 

Interview: Sonic Rupture by Jordan Lacey

Sonic Rupture: A Practice-led Approach to Urban Soundscape Design (Bloomsbury 2016) by Jordan Lacey offers a practice-led alternative approach to urban soundscape design. Rather than understanding the functional noises of the city as solely problematic or unaesthetic annoyances to be eliminated, Lacey instead suggests ways in which they can be creatively harnessed to give new expression to urban life. Featuring expansive theoretical discussions and detailed analysis of Lacey’s own work as a sound artist, the book proposes the 5 element sonic rupture model as a way to diversify our experiences of city life.

I spoke with Jordan along with my colleague and friend Dumitrita Holdis for New Books in Sound Studies. It’s a new collaboration between the Centre for Media Data and Society at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary (where I work) and the New Books Network.

You can listen to the podcast here or here:

 

 

#PODCASTS FOR YOUR SUMMER @Allegra Lab

What’s that sound? The sound of happy students swimming in dissertations, papers, exams? The sound of a faculty drowning in a marking tsunami? The sound of freshly unemployed academic precariats slowly floating towards insecure middle age with no job prospects, pension plan or direction in life…? Yes it’s the sound of summer!

But just because you’re sitting by the beach with your toes in the sea it doesn’t mean your brain can survive on just pulp fiction and pop music. You need some anthropological stimulation for those long summer days.
Luckily I just did a round up of the best podcasts from New Books in Anthropology for Allegra Lab (the amazing anthropology website). You can find the round up here or here http://allegralaboratory.net/podcasts-for-your-summer/

 

Featured photo by Colin Mutchler (flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Interview: BITS of Belonging by Simanti Dasgupta

What links a water privatization scheme and a prominent software company in India’s silicon city, Bangalore? Simanti Dasgupta’s new book, BITS of Belonging: Information Technology, Water, and Neoliberal Governance in India (Temple University Press, 2015), explores the way in which the corporate governance of IT is seen as a model for urban development in contemporary India. Through ethnographic research into both a water privatization scheme and the practices of an IT company, Dasgupta reveals the similarities that cross-cut both domains as new and old inequalities are produced. Rich in detail and fascinating in its analytical drive the book opens up new avenues for thinking about citizenship and belonging.

I spoke with Simanti for New Books in South Asian Studies. You can listen to the interview and many others at their excellent website, or check it out below:

Interview: Lethal Spots, Vital Secrets by Roman Sieler

Roman Sieler’s

 Lethal Spots, Vital Secrets: Medicine and Martial Arts in South India (Oxford University Press, 2015) is a fine-grained ethnographic study of varmakkalai–the art of vital spots, a South Indian practice that encompasses both martial and medical activities. The interview explores how varmakkalai relates to the wider field of manual therapies and martial traditions in the subcontinent, the theories that inform the practice, the relationship between healing and fighting, as well as the role of secrets. A truly fascinating study that raises questions about topics such as categorisation, concealment and learning that go way beyond the confines of South India, Lethal Spots, Vital Secrets will be of interest to many.

I spoke with Roman for New Books in South Asian Studies – you can listen to this interview, and many others, at their excellent site. Or check it out below:

Interview: The Pariah Problem by Rupa Viswanath

The so called “Pariah Problem” emerged in public consciousness in the 1890s in India as state officials, missionaries and “upper”caste landlords, among others, struggled to understood the situation of Dalits (those subordinated populations once called untouchables). In The Pariah Problem: Caste, Religion, and the Social in Modern India (Columbia University Press, 2014) Rupa Viswanath unpacks the creation and application of this so called “problem.”

The interview explores the ways in which land, labour and ritual combined in producing the Pariah and the affect Protestant missionaries had in reshaping Pariah-ness, as well as the role of the colonial state and changes in house site ownership among other issues. Amazingly rich in detail and theoretically dynamic throughout, the book is relevant to numerous discussions in present day India and beyond.

I interviewed Rupa for New Books in South Asian Studies. You can listen to this conversation and many more at the amazing website – or here:

Podcast: Reengineering India by Carol Upadhya

How is India’s burgeoning IT industry reshaping the country? What types of capital is IT attracting and what formations does it take? How are software engineers managed? What are their goals and aspirations? How are they perceived by their foreign clients? In her new book, Reengineering India: Work, Capital, and Class in an Offshore Economy (Oxford University Press, 2016), Carol Upadhya tackles these questions and many more. Based on extensive research in Bangalore – the large southern Indian metropolis that has led the IT buzz – the book explores the way capital, work and class are remade within the “new India.” Combining deep, rich and detailed accounts of life within “software factories” with a theoretical eclecticism and clear writing style, the book is a truly wonderful anthropological account of an offshore economy.

 

I spoke with Carol for New Books in South Asian Studies, you can listen to this interview and many more at the truly amazing NBN website or listen directly here:


Carol Upadhya is Professor in the School of Social Sciences, National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru, India.

Desire Named Urbanisation

Why is urbanisation so desired by so many people in India? How is this desire made, translated and why does it take the form it does? Such big questions of course have complex answers. One of the aspects that we know little about is the role played by the news media.
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With this in mind it was with great pleasure that I spoke with Sahana Udupa for New Books in South Asian Studies a few days back about her amazing new book Making News in Global India: Media, Publics, Politics. A bi-lingual journalist turned anthropologist, she trained her ethnographic eye on the private news cultures of Bangalore, exploring, among other things, the ways a certain type of urban aspiration has come to characterise some news outlets and how they have come to shape urban transformation.

There’s much more to the book than questions of desire, and you can listen to the whole interview here and here:

The book was also a real inspiration for a new project I’ve been working on with Swetha Rao Dhananka – whom I met at the Indian Institute of Human Settlements – and who does fascinating work on both Bangalore’s slums and its peri-urban development.

Brochure

Our research project – Urbanisation Advertised – analyses how the urban future is made (grand sounding, I know!). Using Karnataka’s 2016 Global Investors Meet as our point of departure, we’re looking into how advertising Karnataka for development places this particularly ‘business friendly’ state on an increasingly narrow yet endlessly promise-laden urban trajectory. Aside from participant observation at the investors meet (which was a lot of fun as most people thought of me as an investor) we’re undertaking a content analysis of promotional material and legal and policy documents. We hope we’ll be able to uncover the role advertising plays in facilitating the type of speculative urbanisation which India and other countries are currently experiencing.

where to invest
(As an anthropologist) I’m drawn towards thinking about the material produced for Global Investors Meets as cultural artifacts — about what sort of messages they convey about cultures of desire, aspiration and urbanisation. We’re not quite sure where we’ll end up with all this material, but there’s certainly still a lot more we all need to understand about how the news media, promotional materials and other images and materials shape India’s urban transformation!

Podcast: Entangled Urbanism by Sanjay Srivastava

I really enjoyed speaking with Sanjay Srivastava the other day about his amazing new book Entangled Urbanism: Slum, Gated Community and Shopping Mall in Delhi and Gurgaon (Oxford University Press, 2015). It’s a really beautiful piece of urban anthropology, with such rich, fascinating and occasionally very sad stories from various people in different parts of the National Capital Region.

You can listen to the interview here or here:

 

Podcast: The Politics of Economic Restructuring in India by Loraine Kennedy

Last week I was thrilled to speak with Loraine Kennedy about her brilliant book The Politics of Economic Restructuring in India: Economic Governance and State Spatial Rescaling.

At this year’s European Association of South Asian Studies in Zurich I was talking with another doctoral student who works on urban India, and we were saying to each other that someone needs to write a book that takes the ideas of state spacial rescaling as proposed by Neil Brenner and others and theorise it in the Indian context. Thankfully Loraine Kennedy had the same idea and I came across this book a couple of weeks later. I think it’ll be of great interest to anyone working on cities in contemporary India.

You can listen here and here: