Recent-ish occasionals

recent-ish pieces of blogablabba


Klaus-Peter Koepping

Another obituary, this time in the Quarterly by Thomas Reuter. Time does not reconcile.

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The Quarterly Number 142/September 2017

In Fond Memory of…
Klaus Peter Koepping passed away in Berlin on
17 June, 2017
Prof. Dr. Klaus-Peter Koepping was a German anthropologist, born in Cottbus in 1940 into family with artistic and academic background. At the end of World War II his family was evacuated and eventually resettled in Kassel, and later to Aachen. Koepping developed an early interest in literature, music and foreign cultures. After finishing school in 1959, he began to study Law at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Bonn, but also attended lectures on Art History and Japanese Studies, and courses at the Institute for Ancient American Studies and Ethnology, where Hermann Trimborn was among his teachers.

In 1966 Koepping moved to Cologne and studied at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology under Helmut Petri, Enno Beuchelt and others. Koepping deepened his knowledge on Chinese and Japanese culture and went on a study tour to Japan in 1966/67. There he worked as a journalist and collected ethnographic data on modern millenarian movements and nativist religious cults.

In 1969 Koepping moved to the USA and took up an assistant professorship in Fullerton, California, and after completed his PhD thesis in 1971 he was promoted to associated professor.

Koepping moved to Australia in 1972, where he became senior lecturer at the Department for Sociology and Anthropology at the university in Brisbane, Queensland. He lectured and continued his fieldwork in Japan. In 1984 Koepping took up a professorship at the Melbourne University, as the Baldwin Spencer Chair of Anthropology. Apart from lecturing and researching, he was tasked with establishing the School of Asian Studies. Ultimately, however, his lasting legacy at Melbourne was the establishment of a very successful anthropology program. One of the many undergraduate students he trained at Melbourne was IUAES Senior Vice-President, Prof Koepping also held visiting professorships, for example in Aachen and Mainz, reflecting his continuing ties to Germany. In 1991 Koepping took up a professorship, first at the South Asia Institute and later at the newly reopened Institute of Ethnology, both at the University of Heidelberg. In the following years he taught and completed a number of research projects.

Koepping held visiting professorships in Japan until his retirement in 2005. Between 2005 and 2007 Koepping was Visiting Professor at the Goldsmiths College in London, where he lectured in Post-Colonial Studies and the Centre of Cultural Studies with his former student, John Hutnyk. He was also a visiting fellow as part of the international research project »Interweaving Performance Cultures« in 2008/09.
Thomas Reuter
A memorandum of his life and work has been created by one of his daughters, and can be found here.

Miniaturization is trinketization.

This looks great and would have been a good thing to attend, but my diary window – and budget – is far too small:

*Small Interventions: Studies in the Miniature*

Numerous theorists have engaged with the idea of the miniature, including
Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Susan Stewart, and Andreas Huyssen. As
they and other thinkers have shown, the complex and contradictory nature of
the miniature speaks to issues of nostalgia, a desire for control and
containment, and gender and other norms. In popular culture, miniatures
crop up in diverse forms: from dollhouses to mini-Frappuccinos, from
spyware to nanotechnology, from closed ecosystems to manmade islands. The
proposed panel is interested in thinking about the status of the
miniature–whether a tiny book, photograph, or memento–as an object of
cultural study. We aim to ask how the miniature might (or might not) be a
useful genre or category with which to intervene in our traditional
disciplinary assumptions, our pedagogies, and our practices. How might
thinking about the miniature expand our possible objects of study? Might we
consider it a bridge to other fields? Possible paper topics might address
issues related to the miniature within the following contexts:
environmental, postcolonial, and cultural studies; photography and visual
culture; digital humanities; close reading and poetics; or urban planning
and architecture. This list is meant to generate ideas and is by no means


We are soliciting individual paper proposals to include in a
pre-constituted panel to be presented at the Sixteenth Annual Cultural
Studies Association Conference at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, from May 31-June 2, 2018. Interested presenters should send
their name, title, affiliation, email address, and a 150 word abstract. All
presenters must be members of the CSA to participate. Membership and other
information can be found at
Please direct inquires/ submissions to Shannon Winston at or
Helen Kapstein at no later than
Sunday, February 11, 201

Supriya Choudhury

This is indeed a loss. Greatest ever.

The howl echoing across the mountains at the end now haunts us even more.

Talking about cinema

Saddened by the news of the demise of Supriya Choudhury this morning… She was one of those rare beauties to have ever graced the Bengali screen. Of her performances, probably MEGHE DHAKA TARA was her best. I also liked her in KOMAL GANDHAR as a theatre artiste caught between two men, and the climatic sequence in the film with the chant ‘Dohai Ali, dohai ali..’ in the background where she walks up the stairs towards her ‘chosen one’ remains embedded in memory. Her pairing with Uttam Kumar resulted in several hits but I can’t recall these movies now. Her role of the call girl in CHOWRINGHEE parallels her character Nita in MEGHE DHAKA TARA.


The last film that I remember of hers – ATHIYASAJAN by Raja Sen, which dealt with the subject of euthanasia, and had the veteran actor Soumitro Chatterjee playing her husband, which captured effectively the plight of…

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