Category Archives: books

booty


Back from New York with this haul of bargain (some full price) booty. Especially pleased to have the Cesaire, the Draper, the 50th Anniversary Naked Lunch, Ronnel’s ‘Loser Sons’ and all the Fitzgerald. Ahh, just noticed FSF’s ‘On Booze’ is not there – I also snapped that up for reading on the plane, in between watching flicks and laughing at Branson trying to be Mr popular coming back (down?) to economy to wave and be snapped on the camera phones of travelling Welsh schoolkids from I forget which school (far too well behave for schoolkids – where was the hootin and hollerin they shouldsta learned in America?)

New Cross Review of Books

About NXRB

Book Reviews from the Big Crabapple that is NX, London.

This is a haphazard collection of reviews old and new. Of course we are not competing with any of the other fine book review rags out there from other towns like New York or London, it’s just that…

We will accept contributions where they are by our friends and comrades, where they are really good and so long as they are approved by the unbiased (non parliamentary, ultra-leftist, no touching faith in reformism or the State) editors. We reserve the right to reject (and hunt down, huff and puff, and burn your house etc.) any sexist, racist or pro-capitalist comments or contributions. You know the drill.

We are for reading, for reading in context, for making reading a part of the struggle to transform lives and life – looking for ways to transmute the nasty slime of Capital into something else, something better, whatever it takes. If it takes book reviews too, then here we go. Culture Industry Reconsidered! Film reviews too people – high-brow elitist theory-heavy auto-reflexive hyper-critique inclusive.

Email the editor-ish (you will see, editorial here is a self-organising collective process) John.Hutnyk [at] gold.ac.uk

Beyond Borders.

Possible blurb for the book on borders (edited volume, nearly done, press details soon)

Beyond Borders – ed, John Hutnyk

This collection of essays, graphics and theatre displaces our understandings of borders so that we cannot look the same way at that which invades our everyday, that which kills and excludes, that which sounds out across divides and that which connects and soothes. Addressing activism, philosophy, film, art and music, the book includes a graphic essay on the Gaza Flotilla and an original play The Detention Centre. Essays by prominent scholars and writers address citizenship, visa queues, the home economy, philanthropy, student fees, transportation, terror, camps, poetic license and more. The book makes a virtue of the chance encounter of creativity with structure so as to invent new angles on the politics of borders and movement, breaking with regulatory thinking and always looking to slip under or over the wire. The border effect is everywhere, even between our pages. We are for rampant transgressions – and an end to borders of death.

 

And a first stab at an even more abstract longer rave for it:

 

> The border is not only geography and vision – though a line on the map and the sign at immigration control are our most immediate experiences of control – the border is also a process, an order, an iteration, uneven, performative and aural. The border is not just at the edge or boundary, it is also in the street, in the post, in the pub. The border operates between people. The hand raised to silence the offer of the migrant DVD salesperson who interrupts your quiet enjoyment of a beer – that too is a brutal moment of border control. Although of course we can insist that state boundaries are also porous, continually bypassed, more and less easily, in so many different ways; immigration control still stands as a block to movement and mediation.

>> The resonance of the war and power is strong here – echoing with the sounds of silence, dispossession and death to which our eyes become deaf, our ears have become blind. If we recognize the border is not just the port, but the entire city, as in “everywhere, in everything we do”, in each interaction between people related, somehow somewhere to belonging – how violent this is – if we recognize the border as a wall between us all, then we might see reason to have to reconfigure the very idea of nation, boundary and movement that so distracts us. Here, the border is not just at the edge, but at any port, at the immigration office, in the postal service that delivers the visa, in the police checks, the detention procedure – in the everyday reactions of people to each other even as they stand and stare. So, if we think of the way sound and meaning travels across the border, might we start to develop ways of thinking critically against this geographic boundary – and the old models of nation, culture, race that the border secures. What would it be to ask critically about, and so reject, the way we have fixed the border through property, maps, geography – and so leave that space that has been deaf to other movements, transmissions, resonances. Would this work things differently, otherwise?

>> Is our boundary prejudice built into the structure of the border control? A logic of presence, geography and vision govern the strong sense of truth that belongs to knowledge. We say knowledge is divided into fields (geography) and seem most often to register knowing through a confident designation. We indicate truths by pointing (vision), there is presence in understanding. Now perhaps there is an alternative in the metaphoric code with which we name movement and sound. It may be possible to hear a more critical tone, to raise questions about the assertions of certitude – when critical we say we are not sure we agree, we doubt, we say we do not like the tone. Can thinking through travel, time and sound suggest new ways of linking across the borders between us all – as sound crosses the border in ways that tamper with visual and geographic blocks (pirate radio, music, language, the sound of falling bombs…). But we also say, when critical, that we cannot see the point. Ahh, with this last the too easy divide of metaphor into those that point and assert knowledge through vision and those that question and challenge through sound does finally break down. But perhaps there is something in sound that can suggest more, that allows us at least to listen to another possibility, temporarily opening up ears and minds.

>> But borders are also blocks. And we are complicit in this myopia. The management of the border is a mass participation project operated absentmindedly by all of us all day. Through an overkill of commentary and a shifting, churning hierarchy, the profiles, stereotypes and judgements that are constantly made yet so often denied are the guilty enactment of this regime. Border Police do their work – spot check, detention, deportation – all the better because our everywhere everyday distracted border operation is there in all we do.

> It is often thought, but we could be more precise – that movement across borders of all kinds is a good thing, breaking taboos and genre rules is an unmitigated good. Of course, cross disciplinarity is claimed as a boon (in cultural studies for sure), but clearly other crossings – of capital, of weapons, of imperial power – are not so welcome. Capital moves one way, surplus value extraction another. Cross-border global movement (music distribution, television news, democracy) might not always be a boon. No doubt pirate radio enjoys much approval, but communications media also have a less favourable heritage (radio as used, say, by the National Socialists in Germany) and present (the contemporary normative narrations of ‘democracy’ by the Voice of America, the BBC, or with the televisual uniformity of CNN). A more careful thinking that notes the metaphors of critique, distinguishes movement and sonic registers that affirm or disavow, works to undo that which destroys and divides, fosters that which unites, organises capacity to live otherwise with others…-

>> Beyond Borders is supported by an AHRC Beyond Text programme Network Grant and the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, and is edited volume with work by John Hutnyk, Leila Whitley, Enis Oktay, Angela, Rachel Palmer, Nabil Ahmed, Liz Thompson, Ben Rosenzweig, Ewa Jasiewicz, Raul Gschrey, Rico Reyes, María-José, Carla Mueller-Schulke, Kiwi Menrath, Rangan Chakravarty, Johannes Anyuru and Aleksander Moturri.>

Popular Music and Human Rights

Pantomime Terror in print (see downloads page for the pdf).

This is the flyer for the set: Popular Music and Human Rights 2-vol set

Currently reading Andrew Herscher – Violence Taking Place

While the construction of architecture has a place in architectural discourse, its destruction, generally seen as incompatible with the very idea of “culture,” has been neglected in theoretical and historical discussion. Responding to this neglect, Herscher examines the case of the former Yugoslavia and in particular, Kosovo, where targeting architecture has been a prominent dimension of political violence. Rather than interpreting violence against architecture as a mere representation of “deeper” social, political, or ideological dynamics, Herscher reveals it to be a form of cultural production, irreducible to its contexts and formative of the identities and agencies that seemingly bear on it as causes. Focusing on the particular sites where violence is inflicted and where its subjects and objects are articulated, the book traces the intersection of violence and architecture from socialist modernization, through ethnic and nationalist conflict, to postwar reconstruction.

But here: http://www.sup.org/book.cgi?id=17054

On Burning Books

Topical this week, but its always been true that the way the pages crumple one by one as they burn is strangely fascinating….

Via the link is a chapter length text I wrote some time ago (currently under consideration for Space and Culture). Given a certain newsworthiness in relation to the eye-popping-mad pastor Terry Jones, some people might like to read the preview version:

Sexy Sammy and Red Rosie? From Burning Books to the War on Terror.

Abstract: Writing within the sonic register of a soundtrack that plundered the diasporic mindset of a certain ‘London’ massive, Hanif Kureishi was widely criticised for his contribution as writer to two films in the 1980s: My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987). Less lyrically perhaps – and less filmic – Salman Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses was famously set on fire in Bradford in 1989. There is a soundtrack here that can map the anti-racist sexualities, street riots and book-burnings that are taken to mark the mobilization of a diverse and complicated British-Asian presence on the streets of the UK. The point that interests me here is the reconfiguration of the streetscape of diaspora and terror in the years since these films and the burning of the book. The figure of Rosie is interesting because her cultural politics helps occlude an older engagement that was first displaced by identity concerns and is now overwritten with sinister consequences. The street musicians that accompany her urban meanderings embroider affect in a way that segues easily into a culture industry resignation. Burning streets and books (not particularly good in themselves) are replaced with a more virulent racial profiling in contemporary times – a constant anxiety about and accusations against Muslims, and by extension all British-Asians, made uncomfortable (at best, bombed into democracy elsewhere). Sammy forlorn.

Key words: street, queer, riot, British-Asian, book-burning, Kureishi, Rushdie

Continue reading the full chapter here .

Methods and Ethnography

OK, asked for references twice in two days on the same thing, so started thinking what I might reread if I was going to think about methods and ethnography now:

Mitchell Duneier, “Sidewalk” – a thoughtful study of magazine vendors in New York. A bit too worthy and street, but some good stuff on doubt.

James Agee and Walker Evans; “Let us now praise famous men” – if you have not read it, get this first. Simply great. (Try to get the Violette edition, hard back, not the penguin classics ed – though that has an essay by Goldsmiths own Blake Morrison).

Michel Serres; “The Troubadour of Knowledge” – Serres is unique, thinks through parables, does not refernce, says he does not repeat. Makes stuff up, each line a gem. Dunno what its like in French!

Claude Levi-Strauss; “Tristes Tropiques” – speaking of the French – died at 101 last year. This is the classic. Then read part 2 of Derrida’s “Of Grammatology”.

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak; “Death of A Discipline” – between the lines of a lament for the cold war area experts who have become extinct, a plea for deep language learning that is more than just grammar.

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak; ‘Righting Wrongs’ from “Other Asias”.

Avital Ronell; “The Test Drive” – Ronell is perhaps the only living American currently possessed by genius, besides Gore Vidal, and she wears great hats.

Michel Foucault; “The Archeology of Knowledge” and “The Order of Things” – never to be forgotten.

Mao Zedong; ‘Report from Hunan’ in “Selected Writings Volume One”. Mao does fieldwork!

Michael Taussig; “My Cocaine Museum” – a latter day arcades for the war torn, drug crazed, exploited and exploiting realm that is now.

Klaus Peter Koepping; “Shattering Frames” – his collected essays on anthropology, a great teacher.

Rao/Hutnyk eds; “Celebrating Transgression” – essays in honour of Klaus Peter Koepping, with my mad musings on William Burroughs included.

Wolff, Kurt; “Surrender and Catch” – not well enough known but worth a look – was Prof at Brandies from 1959 – 1992.

More to come.

For Daisy

One of my nieces in Australia has a high school project which entails asking people: “Do you Like reading – Why,  What does reading do for you, what comes to your mind when you think about reading and What makes a peice of literature – to you?”  So I have responded, no doubt with the overkill of someone playing the favourite far-overseas Uncle (its one of the joys of going back to Australia, seeing the nieces and nephews – some of whom are now grown up proper – I remember one Xmas teaching them how to play Monopoly with anti-corporate rules, no ‘Go to Jail’ and public utilities and expensive Park Lane properties free to visit…. Apparently this was then a hit at school…)

Anyway, here are my responses to Daisy’s questionnaire (do let me know how far I have strayed from all that was probably required):

Hi Daisy. I could talk for ages on reading. How much do you want?

I like reading, I like it for a dozen, even a hundred different reasons. Most important about reading is that it changes the way you think – whether you are reading a novel to get a new perspective on everyday life or something, or if you are reading a book about history or politics so as to understand the world better, more deeply, or even if its a computer manual because you do not know how the damn thing works and you need to fix it, reading is about changing your point of view, changing your outlook, seeing things from another angle. There is NO point in going on if you do not do this. It is about awareness of the world. Sure, in a different world you might be able to get that from television and film, but more often than not the TV and Film we have here is not going to be challenging you to think, merely to sit back and daydream. Of course some film is wonderfully thought provoking – like documentary, good cinema, critical TV shows (West Wing, Battlestar Galactica!) but usually it is writing that is more subtle.

That is what reading does for me – stands out as the repository of all that is interesting and what I might want to know – even what I do not yet know I want to know. A new book  is a chance to find something new in the world – new to me at least, which means new in general because it changes me in new ways. Change is good (who said that?) and reading lets me access it. Quite a privilege really. Imagine a world where we never read. It would be like endless days of eating, fighting and sports – not bad in themselves and for a time, especially if its sunny, but possibly not the only things I wanna do.

What comes to mind is open possibility. Cracking the spine of a new book,opening the first pages, the smell of different books, the idea that someone wrote this, caring for the words, carrying them to the page and arranging them just so (I leave aside the tones of books that are not made with care these days, and the endless dribble of the mainstream press, and the internet – where people present their insipid view about literature and reading and how they feel about it – heh heh.

What makes a piece of literature – the possibility of the new. But really anything that provokes. Its not literature just because its published in the Penguin Classics series or some other authoritative publisher, its literature because its literate, or helps us all become so. There are comic books that are as much this as Moby Dick – itself a book that was largely overlooked while its author was alive, and now is considered the greatest piece of North American literature bar none. So who can say what literature is, now, as what is scrap paper to us now might be something really special quite soon (not that I hold out any hope that these paragraphs would be subject to some astonishing elevation).

Who set you this project? Good thing. Love, Uncle John

Literature and Film Go Wild in the Streets: from Burning Books to the War on Terror.

Abstract for Joel (to be written up by March)

Literature and Film Go Wild in the Streets: from Burning Books to the War on Terror.

Book burning is something close to the heart of novelist Salman Rushdie, whose work, The Satanic Majesties was famously burnt in Bradford  twenty years back (and in India six months earlier) in 1989. This protest is said by many commentators to mark the public articulation and mobilization of a specifically Muslim South Asian presence in the UK (Malik 2009). There is much scholarship on this theme and the changes it rings in: Gayatri Spivak long ago pointed out how ‘the Rushdie affair has been coded as Freedom of Speech versus Terrorism’ (1993:237), and with its long history, the burning of books of course agitated the liberal sensitivities of many commentators who later were all in favour of the bombing of Baghdad, including, presumably various libraries, museums and bookshops. This is not to excuse the fatwa or to enter into the debates about censorship or appropriate handling of Islamic narrative (the six wives of the Prophet as prostitutes was always going to get Rushdie into trouble, as his sales publicist no doubt hoped, but horribly underestimated). The point that interests me here is the reconfiguration of the streetscape of diaspora and terror that this book burning achieved. An outrage reconfigures and then changes shape – as Rushdie’s characters also do – through the context of geo-political intrigue, investing these characters and issues with darker sentiments that is then played out in suburban space. The book burning on the street evokes other street politics – from burning cars and rioting (example: the film Sammie and Rosie get Laid – Frears/Kureishi) through to a more persistent low level everyday anxiety of racial profiling in a surveillance state. Where Spivak attends to a geographic and linguistic ‘really existing’ Asia that has now become the major location for the sharp end of the war on terror, from South East to North East (Philippines, North Korea) and North West to Middle East (Afghanistan, Palestine) we can talk of an expanded reconfigured Asia as host for a the theatre of war (Spivak quotes Koshy 2003:x) that ever more becomes a matter of urban/street conflict in locations like London, Manchester, Bradford and Birmingham. On streets like those of Lewisham, London, this Asia, and the visibility of ‘Asians’ loses geographical specificity and is embodied in the figure of the threatening Muslim: the people of the book become book burners and Jihadis. Various commentators do not seem to agree on how this came to pass or what should be the response, but clearly there can be multiple and varied globalized versionings of terror. The war on terror at home can be seen in the sociological reportage of Malik, Gopinath and Fekete, in the cinematography of Kureishi and Frears, and the theoretical reflections of Chow, Derrida and Sen.

See also here and here.

離散與混雜

chinese diaspora adn hybridity

離散與混雜Diaspora and Hybridity –

now available in Chinese (unlike this blog).

(and crikey, babel fish does a bad job of rendering the Chinese title – calling it  “Separate and promiscuous” ?? – but I expect babel hasn’t really got a good grip on Kanji – I know I haven’t – trying to learn some for my Japanese lessons each thursday)

Anyway, I presume a better job has been done by translator: Chen Yixin (more below)

離散與混雜

離散與混雜

Virinder S. Karla, raminder Kaur, John Hutnyk韋伯,出版日期:2008/01/01

繁體書:共 1 筆搜尋結果 ,分類:社會人文社會學社會群體種族專業書社會/教育/心理社會社會學

相關搜尋:Virinder S. Karla, raminder Kaur, John Hutnyk離散後殖民國族主義國族

原價:280 元 , 優惠價: 95 折,266元 

何謂「離散」與「混雜」?它們在有關種族、文化和社會的當代論辯中,有哪些軸心概念?本書針對離散與混雜的主要論辯,提出了詳盡無疑的政治評估,並在現代社會抗爭與文化脈絡中探討「離散」與「混雜」課題, … more

http://www.books.com.tw/exep/prod/booksfile.php?item=0010415730

The translator, Chen Yixin, is:

陳以新
英國約克大學女性研究傑出碩士
(MA  in  Women’s  Studies  with  distinction,  University  of  York,  UK)。在英期間研究後殖民女性文學與文化;論文書寫南非後隔離女性英語文學,比較了三位不同族裔之南非女作家的作品。喜歡寫詩、寫小說,從事英語教學與編輯相關工作多年。

Google clouded my book

BAD-MARXISMAccursed Share Adorno Althusser analysis anthropology anti-capitalism archive bad Marxism Bataille Bataille’s Bhabha called capital capitalistchapattis circulationCollege of Sociology colonial commodity communism communist contemporary context critical critique cultural studies debate debt Derrida and Sprinkler dialectical discussion displacement economic Empire engagement essay ethnography example exchange exploitation fascism fieldwork Freud Gayatri Spivak Georges Bataille gift global Goldsmiths College Hardt and Negri Hutnyk hybridity imperialism imperialist India labour learning to learn Leiris Malinowski Maoist Marx’s means metaphorMichel Leiris mode of production movement nation-state offer organisation party perhaps police political possible postcolonial Poverty of Philosophy programme question reading Marx recogniserelation revolutionary seems social solidarity Specters of Marx speed Spivak struggle Subaltern Studies subsumption suggests superexploitation Surrealism Surrealiststheorists theory tion trade trinketisation Trobriand workers writing

So that’s Bad Marxism in a nutshell, shell of nuts, googlenut, whatever. Each word is a live link to a couple of tear out and throwaway quotes, bar food style. Trinketized.

Godard “British Sounds” pt 1

UntitledYou can find Jean-Luc Godard’s “British Sounds” in all its glory on You Tube now. It is worth watching all the way through (6 parts) – from the ‘petroleum of pop music’ and excerpts from the great Shiela Rowbothom to the “gestapo of the humanist university” (they mean LSE). ‘No end to class struggle’ in the centre of the jack. All Godard’s great themes are here – the pan across the line of cars (weekday this time, not ‘weekend’) through to militant Maoist students concocting a twisted sympathy for the devil (Lennon not Lenin) and more. Thanks for the reminder to Iain Sinclair and his great rambling Hackney(ed) dossier (if you haven’t got it yet, get it – and read Sukhdev’s review of Sinclair’s book here). As Sukhdev says: “here’s another reason why Sinclair is such an important writer: he offers readers the critical tools for looking anew at wherever it is that they live.”

Dis-Orienting Rhythms: the politics of the new Asian dance music

Reposted from Dark Matter.

by Sanjay Sharma • 8 Mar 09 •

dis-orient
Dis-Orienting Rhythms: the politics of the new Asian dance music (1996, Zed books), edited by Sanjay Sharma, John Hutnyk and Ash Sharma.

This book writes back the presence of South Asian youth into a rapidly expanding and exuberant music scene; and celebrates this as a dynamic expression of the experience of diaspora with an urgent political consciousness. One of the first attempts to situate such production within the study of race and identity, it uncovers the crucial role that South Asian dance musics – from Hip-hop, Qawwali and Bhangra through Soul, Indie and Jungle – have played in a new urban cultural politics …” (Back cover)

To celebrate the landmark edited collection being published over a decade ago, the whole text and individual chapters are available to download as searchable pdf files.

Note: Please be patient while the pdf files download (whole text will take a few minutes).

Dis-Orienting Rhythms – whole text (higher quality, 23MB):
Dis-Orienting Rhythms – whole text (lower quality, 11MB):

Individual Chapters (higher quality):

  • Introduction – Sanjay Sharma, John Hutnyk and Ashwani Sharma
  1. Sounds Oriental: The (Im)possibility of Theorizing Asian Musical Cultures – Ashwani Sharma
  2. Noisy Asians or ‘Asian Noise’? – Sanjay Sharma
  3. Asian Kool? Bhangra & Beyond – Rupa Huq
  4. Remixing Identities: ‘Off’ the Turntable – Shirin Housee & Mukhtar Dar
  5. Psyche and Soul: A View from the ‘South’ – Koushik Banerjea & Partha Banerjea
  6. Re-Sounding (Anti)Racism, or Concordant Politics? - Virinder S. Kalra, John Hutnyk & Sanjay Sharma
  7. Repetitive Beatings or Criminal Justice? – John Hutnyk
  8. Versioning Terror: Jallianwala Bagh & the Jungle – Koushik Banerjea & Jatinder Barn
  9. New Paths for South Asian Identity & Musical Creativity – Raminder Kaur & Virinder S. Kalra

Away With All Gods

Bob Avakian has written the first book in years that makes me actually want to re-read the Bible, but this time as freaky horror show, weirded out fiction and gothic nightmare.

Everyone should read Away With All Gods because it is necessary, critical and timely, but also because it is a book written with joy and humor. Avakian has a whole lot of fun mocking the absurdities of those who should be called `god-botherin fools’ – never better than when he retells old Richard Pryor routines about Cleveland or reminds us of the hypocrisy of Ronald Reagan as Christian leader while wife Nancy reads the tarot. The trouble is that the people who go in for this religious-fantasy foolishness are serious, and they must be stopped. Avakian shows how and why. Pointing out that the myth that Zapata had not been killed and would return to fight again some day was flawed because it overlooked the fact that he was just as dead as was the resurrected Jesus; showing that Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion of the Christ’ movie perpetuates an anti-Jewish slander that the mob killed the son of God; equally critical of contortions such as the one where the Quran is as fair to women thieves as it is to men (`cut off their hands’ if they do not repent); and skewering Christopher Hitchens’ whose critique of religion is just as much an anti-Muslim tirade (‘God is not great’) as is the US War on Terror; Avakian eviscerates all manner of soft thinking on issues that have a mysterious afterlife in popular thought today.

Avakian has answers as to why religious fundamentalism (Christian or Islamic) is on the rise, and he does this not with candles and mirrors, dark robes and incense, but rather a philosophico-political analysis and a program for change. These are things we really need to hear.

Its even for sale here

.

American Anthropologist reviews our Celebrating Transgression book.

Click on the image to enlarge.
Celebrating Transgression.

Amitava Kumar writes again


A new book – a novel! – by my good friend Amitava Kumar. Get it. Don’t delay. See here for reviews and so forth.

Home Products
February 2007

A film director asks Binod, who is a journalist in Bombay, to produce a portrait of a murdered girl, a poet killed by a politician by whom she is pregnant. The director wants a script about small towns, desire, compromise and intrigue. Probably he wants masala. Subtle and articulate, his sensibility shaped by the classic films of a high-minded and austere boyhood, Binod undertakes to draught a Bollywood story. Unlike Binod is his cousin Rabinder, in Hajipur jail and full of plans. Arrested for turning his cybercafe into a porn parlour, Rabinder is a doer, with dreams of entering films.

Home Products is the story of Binod and Rabinder, brought up as brothers, one a man of hope, the other of appetite, whose ambitions unexpectedly intertwine. As it unfolds, a complex world comes to throbbing life, moving from Motihari where Binod was born, and George Orwell before him; to the Bombay of film, imitation and enterprise; via Delhi, its calm shattered by an assassination and riots.

In the broad sweep of this stunning first novel, acclaimed non-fiction writer Amitava Kumar charts a tale of sexual anxiety and anarchic impulses in a society steeped in crime. Detailing the search among its members for order and artistic brilliance, written with extraordinary inventiveness, Home Products brings aglow the struggle against small-town beginnings. It reminds us gently, and incisively, of our anxieties as middle-class individuals in a middle-class nation.

See his weblog here

Sacred Media Cow


From Somnath over on on “Sacred Media Cow” [SACREDMEDIACOW is an independent postgraduate collective on Indian media research and production at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London]:

Oh Calcutta

Folks, been away from active blogging for a while. Apologies. The PhD writing and thinking alongwith other activities been taking its toll. Hopefully back now.

My thesis concerns itself with two urban news centres, Calcutta (I still cant bear to do away with the colonial imageries) and Mumbai. Been reading a bit about both the cities lately and a book by John Hutnyk called The Rumour of Calcutta is a quite fascinating account of the city and deconstructs the myths around this “city of extremes” created through the views and notions of representations, from foreign travellers on missions of mercy staying at a cheap tourist lodge to travel guides, books and films.

I have also been logging how the media in recent times has been portraying the city. By all accounts, Calcutta has finally come of age. It is the city on the mend. The government is being applauded, the Chief Minister felicitated. Right wing Conservative Shekhar Gupta in Indian Express speaks and applauds the Indian Left and its erudition, the Politburo and its concerns. Sagarika Ghose cant stop gushing in her interview with Buddha Babu. Protests by “nay sayers” are brushed aside as the crumbling city wakes up to a new dawn. These are not my metaphors. So what’s going on.

It is very much like the errant child who has come home. Give it it’s just rewards, bring it into the fold, hand out the sops and make sure it feels welcome. The media house, the corporate entities cant stop falling over each other to felicitate Buddhadev Bhattacharya’s “coming to sense” wisdom and merging Calcutta with the other metros; long live the Left, so long as it can be managed.

Powell’s Books – Bad Marxism: Capitalism and Cultural Studies by John Hutnyk

Powell’s Books – Bad Marxism: Capitalism and Cultural Studies by John Hutnyk: “
Bad Marxism: Capitalism and Cultural Studies
by John Hutnyk
ISBN:0745322662 (More details…)
Available at:Quimby Warehouse
Synopses & Reviews
Book News Annotation:
To Hutnyk (anthropology and cultural studies, Goldsmiths College, UK), figures like James Clifford, Jacques Derrida, Antonio Negri, and other theorists of ‘cultural studies’ have had a substantial impact recently with eclectic, but ‘substantially misconstrued’ versions of Marx. He offers a critique of these theorists, presents a relatively positive re-evaluation of Georges Batailles, and attempts to point the way towards a substantially expanded cultural studies that is able to take on such topics as geo-politics, theory, war, and capitalism. Distributed in the US by the U. of Michigan Press.
Annotation �2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)”

CELEBRATING TRANSGRESSION


CELEBRATING TRANSGRESSION
Method and Politics in Anthropological Studies of Cultures

Editors: Ursula Rao and John Hutnyk

A book in Honour of Klaus Peter Koepping

Transgression is the stock in trade of a certain kind of anthropological sensibility that transforms fieldwork from strict social science to something more engaging. It builds on Koepping’s idea that participation transforms perception and investigates how transgressive practices have triggered the re-theorization of conventional forms of thought and life. It focuses on social practices in various cultural fields including the method and politics of anthropology in order to show how transgressive experiences become relevant for the organisation and understanding of social relations. This book brings key authors in anthropology
together to debate and transgress anthropological expectations. Through transgression as method, as discussed here, our understanding of the world is transformed, and anthropology as a discipline becomes dangerous and relevant again.

Not yet Published (Devember 2005)
256 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 1-84545-025-6 Hb $48.00/£29.20

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City Requiem


City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty

by Ananya Roy

Uni of Minnesota Press.

Roy she was paralysed by “Rumour”, but went on to write her book anyway. Some pics too, and discussion of New Communism. “Roy shows how urban developmentalism, in its populist guise, reproduces the relations of masculinist patronage, and, in its entrepreneurial guise, seeks to reclaim a bourgeois Calcutta, gentlemanly in its nostalgias”.
.

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