INDIAN MASS MEDIA – Keynote Oct 19 2007

SACREDMEDIACOW

and the Centre for Media and Film Studies (SOAS)
presents:

INDIAN MASS MEDIA
AND THE POLITICS OF CHANGE

One-day conference for Postgraduates & Early Career Researchers,
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
Saturday, 19 October, 2007

Keynote Speaker: Dr John Hutnyk (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Advisors:
Prof Annabelle Sreberny (Centre for Media and Film Studies, SOAS)
Dr Mark Hobart (Centre for Media and Film Studies, SOAS)
Dr Rachel Dwyer (Dept of Languages and Cultures of South Asia, SOAS)

Call for Papers:

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 power.

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 Indian films and media and 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 following questions:

● 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 of change? What kind of verbal and visual images 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 diasporic 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 and society?

Abstracts, including a brief biography, should be emailed to papers@sacredmediacow.com no later than May 15, 2007. These will then be discussed with our advisors and team, and we will get back to you by the 15th of June. Please do let us know in advance if you would like us to organize projectors, or any other special requirements you might have.

The conference is jointly is organized by SACREDMEDIACOW, an independent student-led research centre on Indian media and the Centre for Media and Film 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
http://www.sacredmediacow.com.

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.

Please also visit our working space for the conference at http://www.sacredmediacow.com/wikindia)
where many of these ideas will be collectively worked out.

For further information, please email the SACREDMEDIACOW collective:
collective@sacredmediacow.com
or:
Somnath Batabyal, som@soas.ac.uk
Meenu Gaur, meenu@soas.ac.uk
Matti Pohjonen, matti.pohjonen@gmail.com
Angad Chowdhry, angad.chowdhry@gmail.com

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