Category: Podcast

Interview: Nation at Play by Ronojoy Sen

Covering sporting activities from ancient times right up to the modern day, Ronojoy Sen’s Nation at Play: A History of Sport in India (Columbia University Press, 2016) is at once broad in its scope, yet detailed in its analysis of key events. From football, to the Olympics, to cricket the book explores how sporting life changes in relation to wider societal transformations. I found it both highly readable, and packed full of the type of stories that appeal to sports aficionados.

You can listen to me speaking with Ronojoy here and here:

Interview: The Darjeeling Distinction by Sarah Besky

In this wonderful ethnography of Darjeeling tea, Sarah Besky explores different attempts at bringing justice to plantation life in north east India. Through explorations into fair trade, geographic indication and a state movement for the Nepali tea workers, Besky critically assesses the limits of projects that fail to address underlying exploitative structures. The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Plantations in India (University of California Press, 2014) is a readable and theoretically nuanced book that should be of interest to many.

You can listen to me speak to Sarah here and here:


Interview: The Writings of Pamela Price

The Writings of Pamela Price: State, Politics, and Cultures in Modern South India: Honour, Authority, and Morality (Orient BlackSwan, 2013) is a wonderful collection of ten essays by historian Pamela Price, that originally appeared between 1979 and 2010. The essays, as well as touching on the concepts of honour, authority and morality in different south Indian regions also broadly address questions of continuity and change. Drawing on debates from anthropology and political science, the book offers insights into how these above mentioned concepts shift across historical periods and how they appear in different linguistic and cultural regions.

You can listen to me speak with Pamela here and here:


Interview: Infrastructure Redux by Nausheen H. Anwar

In Infrastructure Redux:Crisis, Progress in Industrial Pakistan and Beyond (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), Nausheen H. Anwar explores double-edged narratives of development. Through detailed case studies of Sialkot and Faisalabad, as well as analyses of development in Pakistan since independence and the impact of liberalized trade policies on industrial labour, the book explores how ideas of both crisis and progress frame the country’s infrastructure.

You can listen to me speak with Nausheen here and here:


Interview: Patronage as Politics in South Asia by Anastasia Piliavsky

Does patronage always imply a corruption of democratic political processes? Across sixteen essays by historians, political scientists and anthropologists Patronage as Politics in South Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2014), edited by Anastasia Piliavsky, explores this question and many more across a range of historical and cultural contexts. The volume’s collective drive to ask difficult and theoretically nuanced questions about the role of patronage in South Asia, gives the book a coherence that plays wonderfully against the contributions’ eclecticism and diversity.

You can listen to me speak with Anastasia here and here:

Interview: Dehli, Pages From A Forgotten History by Arthur Dudney

Delhi: Pages From A Forgotten History (Hay House India, 2015) by Arthur Dudney tells the story of India’s capital and beyond through the lens of Persian literary culture. A lively read written for a mass readership, the book details the lives of poets and emperors along with the origins, rise and decline of Persian in the subcontinent.

You can listen to me speaking with Arthur here and here:

Interview: The Rani of Jhansi by Harleen Singh

The Rani of Jhansi was and is many things to many people. In her beautifully written book The Rani of Jhansi: Gender, History, and Fable in India (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Harleen Singh explores four representations of the famous warrior queen who led her troops into battle against the British. Analysing her various representations – as a sexually promiscuous Indian whore, a heroic Aryan, a great nationalist and a folk symbol of indigenous resistance – the book critically discusses what wider issues are stake in these depictions of such a mythical and marginal woman.

You can listen to me speaking with Harleen here and here:

Interview: Recasting the Region by Neilesh Bose

In his new book Recasting the Region: Language, Culture, and Islam in Colonial Bengal (Oxford University Press, 2014), Neilesh Bose analyses the trajectories of Muslim Bengali politics in the first half of the twentieth century.The literary and cultural history ofthe region explored in the book reveal the pointedly Bengali ideas of Pakistan that arose as an empire ended and new countries were born.

You can listen to me speaking with Neilesh here and here:

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: