Just got the info about this fascinating conference on "Indian Mass Media and the Politics of Change" happening on October 13 at the University of London. Co-sponsored by the awesomely-named "Sacred Media Cow" postgrad student collective and the Center for Film and Media Studies at UoL, it sounds like a great event for people interested in learning about the Indian media landscape and its relationship to political, economic and societal shifts. Check out these cool conference papers being presented:
- ‘The Political Economy of Going Hindi: Private News Channels and Transnational Soap Operas in the Indian Television Landscape’
- ‘Environmentalism through the media: construction of environmental attitudes among the middle classes in India.’
- ‘Slogans have no footnotes:’ collaborative mis-recognition and the weaving of queerness into India’s ‘problem of modernity’
The full conference announcement follows after the jump. No word on registration costs or other logistics. See the Sacred Media Cow site for details.
SACREDMEDIACOW and the Centre for Film and Media Studies present:
INDIAN MASS MEDIA AND THE POLITICS OF CHANGE
One-day conference for Postgraduates & Early Career Researchers
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
Khalili Lecture Theatre
Saturday, Oct 13th, 2007
10:00-18:00 (followed by a party)
Opening address: Prof Paul Webley (Director of SOAS)
Keynote Speaker: Dr John Hutnyk
Endnote Speaker: Prof Laura Mulvey
Prof Annabelle Sreberny
Dr Mark Hobart
Prof Rachel Dwyer
India has been the focus of much attention in the international
media in the recent years. Rhetoric concerning its rapid economic
growth, spearheaded by its IT industry and its burgeoning middle
classes, suggest that something new and significant is taking place.
Something is changing, we are told: India is shining; the elephant is
rising; the 21st century will be an Indian century. Even a recent
election campaign was debated around this image. India was/was not
shining, with disastrous results for the leading political party in
What unites many of the debates concerning such re-imaginings of
India is the notion of change and its different ramifications.
Elections, commentators, drawing room debates and activists all cut
their teeth around this complex notion. Who, it is debated, benefits
from change? Who is left out from these fantasies of progress and
economic growth? Do such re-imaginings really reflect the complex
economic reality of large parts of Indian populations ’somewhere out
there’? In any case, what is certain is that ‘change’ has now become
the new articulating principle par excellence when we speak about India
and its contested future.
One of the crucial sites where such debates take place is the Indian
mass media: its newspapers, TV channels, advertisements and burgeoning
online communities. It is also the loci, we argue, where the politics
of change are most visibly played out and that needs to be carefully
looked at in order to understand the complex reality of India today. It
is important to note here that we believe the nation state is one of
categories that needs to be critically investigated when we look at
India and change and therefore include the wider Indian diaspora into
our definition of what contemporary India is. With this in mind, The
Politics of Change conference aims to bring together researchers
looking at the Indian film and media interested in the question of
change. We therefore now welcome abstract for papers and presentations
of 20 minutes each from post-graduate and early career researchers.
Specifically, we are inviting papers that would broadly address the
- How is change imagined in different forms of Indian media? How are
the press, television, film and online communities involved in this
imagining? How do different media differ in how they imagine change?
- What kind of day-to-day practices are deployed to articulate these
imaginings change? What kind of verbal and visual imagery is used
towards such imaginings and how do they differ between the media? What
are the differences between the English-speaking and the vernacular
media? What about the disaporic media?
- What are the politics of such imaginings? Who are such
articulations thought to benefit? Who in turn do they disarticulate?
What is the political economy of imagining change?
- How have these articulations changed historically? Can we trace
historical precedents to such current imaginings? What are the
similarities? What are the differences?
- Is there something distinctive about how this change is imagined in
(India as opposed to other rapidly-developing countries such as China?)
What do these similarities and differences tell us about Indian media
The conference jointly is organized by SACREDMEDIACOW, an
independent student-led research centre on Indian media, and the Centre
for Film and Media Studies at the School Of Oriental and African
Studies. Having said that, SACREDMEDIACOW is not really a centre for
India media research (perhaps, a periphery of Indian media research
would be a more appropriate title), but more of a Collective. Either
way, being both practitioners as well as academics interested in the
India media, one of our key aims to build bridges between academics and
media practitioners globally. Therefore, a significant portion of the
activities around the conference will also take place on our website.
Our aim is to include the people we talk about when we research Indian
media as much as possible in the dialogue and debates through the
possibilities allowed by new technologies: by distributing conference
material online, by creating an online platform where the questions
raised can be debated during the conference and by allowing distance
participation as much as possible through teleconferencing, video
broadcast and other such means.