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Sounding the Night

South Asia MA Alum Nick Gottschall recently worked with the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) to profile Jazz Musician Aakash Mittal as he studied and toured India as an AIIS fellow. See the video below:

AIIS is currently accepting applications to the same Fellowship program Aakash Mittal participated in.

By |February 24th, 2016|News|Comments Off on Sounding the Night

Professors Kale and Novetzke Featured in The Wire


Professors Sunila S. Kale and Christian L. Novetzke have written an article on the intersection of Yoga and Politics, in the form of ‘political theology’, which has been published in The Wire. Professors Kale and Novetke are currently working on a book about this very topic, due out in 2018.

Read the article here.

By |January 28th, 2016|News|Comments Off on Professors Kale and Novetzke Featured in The Wire

Encoding Race, Encoding Class

Indian IT Workers in Berlin

Author: Sareeta Amrute

Publisher: Duke University Press

Year: 2016

Summary: Not Yet Available

By |September 28th, 2015|Faculty Publications|Comments Off on Encoding Race, Encoding Class

Religion and Public Memory

A Cultural History of Saint Namdev in India

Author: Christian Lee Novetzke

Publisher: Columbia University Press

Year: 2011

Summary: Namdev is a central figure in the cultural history of India, especially within the field of bhakti, a devotional practice that has created publics of memory for over eight centuries. Born in the Marathi-speaking region of the Deccan in the late thirteenth century, Namdev is remembered as a simple, low-caste Hindu tailor whose innovative performances of devotional songs spread his fame widely. He is central to many religious traditions within Hinduism, as well as to Sikhism, and he is a key early literary figure in Maharashtra, northern India, and Punjab.

In the modern period, Namdev appears throughout the public spheres of Marathi and Hindi and in India at large, where his identity fluctuates between regional associations and a quiet, pan-Indian, nationalist-secularist profile that champions the poor, oppressed, marginalized, and low caste. Christian Lee Novetzke considers the way social memory coheres around the figure of Namdev from the sixteenth century to the present, examining the practices that situate Namdev’s memory in multiple historical publics. Focusing primarily on Maharashtra and drawing on ethnographies of devotional performance, archival materials, scholarly historiography, and popular media, especially film, Novetzke vividly illustrates how religious communities in India preserve their pasts and, in turn, create their own historical narratives.

By |September 28th, 2015|Faculty Publications|Comments Off on Religion and Public Memory

Amar Akbar Anthony

Bollywood, Brotherhood, and Nation

Author: William Elison, Christian Lee Novetzke, and Andy Rotman

Publisher: Harvard University Press

Year: 2016

Summary: A Bollywood blockbuster when it was released in 1977, Amar Akbar Anthony has become a classic of Hindi cinema and a touchstone of Indian popular culture. Delighting audiences with its songs and madcap adventures, the film follows the heroics of three Bombay brothers separated in childhood from their parents and one another. Beyond the freewheeling comedy and camp, however, is a potent vision of social harmony, as the three protagonists, each raised in a different religion, discover they are true brothers in the end. William Elison, Christian Lee Novetzke, and Andy Rotman offer a sympathetic and layered interpretation of the film’s deeper symbolism, seeing it as a lens for understanding modern India’s experience with secular democracy.

Amar Akbar Anthony’s celebration of an India built on pluralism and religious tolerance continues to resonate with audiences today. But it also invites a critique of modernity’s mixed blessings. As the authors show, the film’s sunny exterior only partially conceals darker elements: the shadow of Partition, the crisis of Emergency Rule, and the vexed implications of the metaphor of the family for the nation. The lessons viewers draw from the film depend largely on which brother they recognize as its hero. Is it Amar, the straight-edge Hindu policeman? Is it Akbar, the romantic Muslim singer? Or is it Anthony, the Christian outlaw with a heart of gold? In this book’s innovative and multi-perspectival approach, each brother makes his case for himself (although the last word belongs to their mother).

By |September 28th, 2015|Faculty Publications|Comments Off on Amar Akbar Anthony

CHD Chandigarh

Author: Vikrramaditya Prakash

Publisher: Altrim Publishers

Year: 2015

Summary: Chandigarh is a unique city, besides being one of the newest city of the twentieth century that is characterized by the seal of Le Corbusier, who planned the city and was also the architect of its most emblematic buildings. In Chandigarh, you will also find the work of a large team of architects led by the partner of Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret who along with the British Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew conducted the master plan and built public housing and facilities much needed in the city. As a result, Chandigarh is one of the reference cities of the Modern Movement. Also worthy of noting are Indian architects (such as MN Sharma, A. Prakash, BP Mathur and JK Choudhury) who collaborated with Le Corbusier and Jeanneret to turn Chandigarh into a reality. Although unknown to most, they have played an important part of modern and contemporary Indian architecture. With this useful guide, you will discover the city and its architecture through three types of routes, depending on how the traveler plans their trip, as well as suggestions for other places you can visit on the outskirts of the city. Each itinerary offers practical information to enjoy the architecture, and visitors will be introduced to the culture and lifestyle of the city.

By |September 28th, 2015|Faculty Publications|Comments Off on CHD Chandigarh

Electrifying India

Regional Political Economies of Development

Author: Sunila Kale

Publisher: Stanford University Press

Year: 2014

Summary: Throughout the 20th century, electricity was considered to be the primary vehicle of modernity, as well as its quintessential symbol. In India, electrification was central to how early nationalists and planners conceptualized Indian development, and huge sums were spent on the project from then until now. Yet despite all this, sixty-five years after independence nearly 400 million Indians have no access to electricity. Electrifying India explores the political and historical puzzle of uneven development in India’s vital electricity sector.

In some states, nearly all citizens have access to electricity, while in others fewer than half of households have reliable electricity. To help explain this variation, this book offers both a regional and a historical perspective on the politics of electrification of India as it unfolded in New Delhi and three Indian states: Maharashtra, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh. In those parts of the countryside that were successfully electrified in the decades after independence, the gains were due to neither nationalist idealism nor merely technocratic plans, but rather to the rising political influence and pressure of rural constituencies. In looking at variation in how public utilities expanded over a long period of time, this book argues that the earlier period of an advancing state apparatus from the 1950s to the 1980s conditioned in important ways the manner of the state’s retreat during market reforms from the 1990s onward.

By |September 28th, 2015|Faculty Publications|Comments Off on Electrifying India

A Very Old Machine

51UyY82ShELThe Many Origins of the Cinema in India

Author: Sudhir Mahadevan

Publisher: State University of New York Press

Year: 2015

Summary: In A Very Old Machine, Sudhir Mahadevan shows how Indian cinema’s many origins in the technologies and practices of the nineteenth century continue to play a vital and broad function in its twenty-first-century present. He proposes that there has never been a singular cinema in India; rather, Indian cinema has been a multifaceted phenomenon that was (and is) understood, experienced, and present in everyday life in myriad ways. Employing methods of media archaeology, close textual analysis, archival research, and cultural theory, Mahadevan digs into the history of photography, print media, practices of piracy and showmanship, and contemporary everyday imaginations of the cinema to offer an understanding of how the cinema came to be such a dominant force of culture in India. The result is an open-ended and innovative account of Indian cinema’s “many origins.”

“Sudhir Mahadevan’s A Very Old Machine is a work of great theoretical sophistication and rigorous historical scholarship. A revisionist and definitive treatment of early Indian film, the book shows how prevailing attitudes toward technology, photography, empire, commodity, and mass culture made the cinema a socially and culturally distinct form in India. Drawing on a wealth of primary research, A Very Old Machine fills many gaps. Anyone who wants to know how Indian cinema became Indian will need to consult this book.” — James Morrison, editor of Hollywood Reborn: Movie Stars of the 1970s

By |September 28th, 2015|Faculty Publications|Comments Off on A Very Old Machine

Worldly Affiliations

Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930-1990

AuthorSonal Khullar

Publisher: University of California Press

Year: 2015

Summary: The purpose of art, the Paris-trained artist Amrita Sher-Gil wrote in 1936, is to “create the forms of the future” by “draw its inspiration from the present.” Through art, new worlds can be imagined into existence as artists cultivate forms of belonging and networks of association that oppose colonialist and nationalist norms. Drawing on Edward Said’s notion of “affiliation” as a critical and cultural imperative against empire and nation-state, Worldly Affiliations traces the emergence of a national art world in twentieth-century India and emphasizes its cosmopolitan ambitions and orientations. Sonal Khullar focuses on four major Indian artists—Sher-Gil, Maqbool Fida Husain, K. G. Subramanyan, and Bhupen Khakhar—situating their careers within national and global histories of modernism and modernity. Through a close analysis of original artwork, archival materials, artists’ writing, and period criticism, Khullar provides a vivid historical account of the state and stakes of artistic practice in India from the late colonial through postcolonial periods. She discusses the shifting terms of Indian artists’ engagement with the West—an urgent yet fraught project in the wake of British colonialism—and to a lesser extent with African and Latin American cultural movements such as Négritude and Mexican muralism. Written in a lucid and engaging style, this book links artistic developments in India to newly emerging histories of modern art in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Drawing on original research in the twenty-first-century art world, Khullar shows the persistence of modernism in contemporary art from India and compares its function to Walter Benjamin’s ruin. In the work of contemporary artists from India, modernism is the ground from which to imagine futures. This richly illustrated study […]

By |September 28th, 2015|Faculty Publications|Comments Off on Worldly Affiliations

UW Professor to Offer Bollywood Film Appreciation Course

(Course No. 27.26401)
Dates: Jan 25 to March 1 (Time: Sundays 1:00 – 4:00 PM)
Location: North Campus, University of Washington

Come and explore the bright lights and sounds of India’s Bollywood film industry. If you have always wanted to know more about the song and dance sequences – If you’ve always wanted to explore India – If you love watching Bollywood films – This is the course for you.

Offered through the Associated Students of University of Washington’s Experimental College, this course is open to all people. Please visit or call (206) 543-4375 to register. The course will be held Sundays Jan 25, 2015 to March 1, 2015 from 1pm to 4pm. Course fee: $120 for all, $84 for UW students.

Instructor: Rucha Ambikar is native of India, and a lifelong Bollywood enthusiast. She has a PhD in social and cultural anthropology and teaches at the University of Washington, Bothell.

By |December 8th, 2014|News|0 Comments