2013: Participants and Abstracts

Modernity and its Discontents

Organizers: Professor Isabelle Clark-Decès, Anthropology, Princeton University
Megan Brankley Abbas, doctoral candidate, Department of History, Princeton University
Nabaparna Ghosh, doctoral candidate, Department of History, Princeton University
Radha Kumar, doctoral candidate, Department of History, Princeton University
Christina Welsch, doctoral candidate, Department of History, Princeton University

Sponsors: This conference was made possible by the generous support of the Princeton Institute of International and Regional Studies, the Program in South Asian Studies at Princeton University, Center for Collaborative History at Princeton University, Princeton University Center for Human Values, Princeton University Council of the Humanities

Additionally, we thank the Frank Cohen Collection for permission to showcase detail from Jitish Kallat’s Sweatopia 1 (acrylic on canvas) as the artwork for the website.

Participants and Schedule

Panel 1: Pedagogy of the Modern

Genealogy of a Metaphor for Violence against Indigenous Peoples, Ezra Rashkow, Columbia University
The Tata Company and the Ethics of Capital in Modern India, Mircea Raianu, Harvard   University
The Tourist Gaze and The Penumbral Vagabond, Avishek Ray, Trent University
Discussant: Isabelle Clark-Decès, Princeton University

Panel 2: Routes of the Modern

Understanding the Indian Contract Act of 1872: A Call for an Alternative Genealogy of Individualism in the History of Capital, Faisal Chaudhury, University of Pennsylvania
Between ‘Obsolete’ and ‘Current’ Modernities
, Atreyee Majumdar, Yale University
Travel Discipline and Modernity: Railway Journeys in colonial India, Aparajita Mukhopadhyay, SOAS
Discussant: Nabaparna Ghosh, Princeton University

Panel 3: Genealogies of Modern Labor and Empire

Free Cotton, Free Labor, Free India: Anglo-American Interests in Antislavery Empire and Economic Emancipation, Chris Florio, Princeton University
Exaggerated Rumours of Injuries”: Information and the East Indian Railway Strike, 1922, Silas Webb, Syracuse University
Labor of Self-making: Youth Service Workers and Post-socialist Urban Development in   Kolkata, Saikat Maitra, University of Texas, Austin
Discussant: Anupama Rao, Columbia University

Panel 4: Crafting the Modern State

From Nation to Nation-State: Adaptation and Transformation of Jama’at-i Islami’s Conception of the Islamic State, Sarah Holz, Free University Berlin
Beyond Subalternity: Lineages of Adivasi Self-Making and Resistance in Modern Jharkhand, Uday Chandra, Yale University
Frauds & Charlatans: Sincerity’s Elusiveness in Delhi, Ajay Gandhi, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity
A Socialist Maharashtra in a Socialist India: the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti and “Left” Nationalism, Ninad Pandit, Princeton University.  
Discussant: Megan Brankley Abbas, Princeton University

Keynote Lecture by Prof. Thomas Blom Hansen, Stanford University
Panel 5: Religion as Modern Subjectivity

The Loss of the Persianate and the Recovery of the Iranian: On Parsi Antiquarianism and Modernity, Dan Sheffield, Princeton University
Towards a Vegetarian Body Politic: Statecraft and the Construction of a Hindu Community in Early Modern Marwar, Divya Cherian, Columbia University
Protest for the Prophet: The anti-Ahmadi disturbance of 1953,Shayan Rajani, Tufts University
Discussant: Simon Wolfgang Fuchs, Princeton University

Panel 6: The ‘Body’ and Modern Sexualities

Medicine, Sexuality and birth of a modern Consumer Culture: Exploring Sexuality in Medical Advertisements in late Colonial Bengal, Ratnabir Guha, University of Göttingen
Queering Urdu Literature, Sadaf Jaffer, Harvard University
The Body as Spectacle: Politics of Truth, Identity, and Modernity in a Theater of Indian Medicine, Joymala Hajra, Columbia University
Discussant: Mukti Lakhi Mangharam, Rutgers University

Panel 7: The Diorama of Modern Life: Films and Temporalities

Tentative Modernity: The Multiple Temporalities of Bhojpuri Cinema, Kathryn Hardy, University of Pennsylvania
Cut, Ban and “Reduce to a Flash”: Horror Film Censorship in the Shadow of the Emergency, Kartik Nair, NYU
Pirating History:  History, Memory and the Counter-Archive of Cinema, Kuhu Tanvir, University of Pittsburgh
Discussant: Lisa Mitchell, University of Pennsylvania

Panel 8: – Texts of the modern

The ‘value’ of translation in Colonial India, Kedar Kulkarni, UCSD
Contingent Muslim Modernity in South Asia, Mosarrap Khan, NYU
Hungry Generation Movement: Literary Rebellion and the Emergence of Counter-Modernity in India, Suvadip Sinha, University of Toronto.
Discussant: Nishtha Singh, Princeton University

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