ASA12: Arts and aesthetics in a globalising world

Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, 3rd-6th April 2012

(P09)

The artistic imagination in ruptured landscapes

Location Arts and Aesthetics Lecture Hall No. 003, SAA-II
Date and Start Time 06 April, 2012 at 08:30

Convenors

Jonathan Miles-Watson (Durham University) email
Manpreet Kaur (Columbia University) email
Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

The panel explores the way that landscape ruptures (caused by global flows of people, products and ideas) are healed through the performative outpourings of the artistic imagination.

Long Abstract

Global flows of people, products and ideas can be seen to cause tension within traditional cultural systems, potentially resulting in the formation of ruptures, which disconnect the present from the past. In this panel we are interested in the way that the arts (when taken in their broadest sense) can heal these ruptures. We seek to explore the ways that performative outpourings of the artistic imagination enter into the weave of contemporary landscape formation. In particular we are interested in ethnographic accounts of the way that these processes result in the generation of coping mechanisms against the traumas of globalization. The issues here cluster around several wider themes, which are themselves vitalized by this specific exploration, these include, but are not limited to, the reaction of the artistic imagination to postcolonial landscape transformation, artistic practices in the landscape of the megacity and the transformative power of artistic landscapes.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Writing of Home: the retrospective gaze of Attia Hosain and Imtiaz Dharker

Author: Arjun Rajkhowa (University of Delhi)  email

Short Abstract

This paper will focus on two South Asian writers, Attia Hosain and Imtiaz Dharker. Hosain wrote her novel about India after her expatriation to England in 1947, and Dharker, a Pakistani Muslim brought up in Scotland, wrote most of her poems, after moving to Bombay in later life.

Long Abstract

This paper will focus on two South Asian writers, Attia Hosain (1913-1998) and Imtiaz Dharker (born 1954), the former an Indian novelist and the latter a Pakistani poet. Hosain's Sunlight On A Broken Column is set in pre-Independence India and captures an era characterized by the dissolution of traditional feudal, as also patriarchal, affiliations and marked by the uncertainty of the transition from colony to sovereign nation. Her novel is a fictional rendering of her childhood and early adult life in an old landowning conservative Muslim family that emblematizes the encounter with Anglicization and the conflicts of political change. Imtiaz Dharker was born in Glasgow to Pakistani parents and currently works in Bombay. Her books of poetry, Purdah, Postcards From God, I Speak For the Devil and The Terrorist At My Table, capture the poetic consciousness of an immigrant/ emigrant, and trace the experiences of feeling both rooted and alienated 'here' and 'elsewhere', two constantly evolving and unstable entities. She cognizes her transcontinental world in multifarious ways, some of which engage with issues of female repression in orthodox Muslim families, racism, cultural alienation and several others. What is interesting for the purposes of comparison in this paper is that Hosain wrote her novel depicting a childhood in India at a time of great political discord after her expatriation to England in 1947, the year of Independence, and Dharker wrote most of her poems, about growing up Muslim in Scotland, amongst other things, after moving to Bombay in later life.

"O brother, Jugni speaks": Listening the text and context of Jugni

Author: Manpreet Kaur (Columbia University)  email

Short Abstract

I propose to look at the ways in which Jugni asserts, reinvents, or alternately struggles, given its ‘glocal’, post-colonial residence in exile.

Jugni may loosely be called a kind of Punjabi qissa (folk-tale tradition), with its history and origins numerous and speculative. Each of these speculations, however, emanate from varying degrees of authority and ownership. These multiple ‘definitions’ may even be daringly read as the many Punjabs singing it from its various ruptures.

Long Abstract

I propose to look at the ways in which Jugni asserts, reinvents, or alternately struggles, given its 'glocal', post-colonial residence in exile.

Jugni may loosely be called a kind of Punjabi qissa (folk-tale tradition), with its history and origins numerous and speculative. Each of these speculations, however, emanate from varying degrees of authority and ownership. These multiple 'definitions' may even be daringly read as the many Punjabs singing it from its various ruptures.

Jugni is an enigma of Punjabi culture, and yet, familiar to all. It is a trope, a tale, and the teller. In that, it is both text and meta-text. It is evoked, as well as it speaks. Therein, it is both song and singer. It represents in its being. And thus, it becomes a 'performative outpouring'; where in the embodiment of Jugni's vibrant persona is exhibited art's impulse to address and heal the fissures of Punjab's identity and history.

The formulaic frame of the qissa, with a set refrain, amenable to topical content(s), lends it a vigor where the compulsion to make a comment on the topicality it speaks of is fore-grounded. The satire is contained within the community, as well as bursts at its seams, Jugni being the quintessential traveler. Since her comments come from her travels, they can move across landscapes of time and space, making it encyclopedic as well as parochial, invocative and subversive.

Jugni treads between past and present, incident and its narrative, which I seek to review through it's many renditions, in folklore as well in current mass-media.

Babel: Violence and Humanism

Author: Sayan Chaudhuri  email

Short Abstract

This paper will explore the ethical dimensions of Babel (2006), the third and final film of the Death trilogy, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu.

Long Abstract

This paper will explore the ethical dimensions of Babel (2006), the third and final film of the Death trilogy, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. The interlinked nature of violence, represented through fragmented yet connected narratives, has been one of the major motifs in the trilogy, collapsing various social realities, each with its class aspirations, assumptions about gender, and racial prejudices, thus leading towards a critique of larger structural disparities. In Babel, the effects of a single accidental act of violence disperses through a globalized network, constituted by structures of power, which manifest themselves at the level of media representation, legal mechanisms, and racial/cultural assumptions. There is a to-and-fro movement between a nexus of power-structures and interpersonal relationships, and the ethical antidote offered is a kind of humanism, thus simultaneously collapsing assumptions about the Other and revealing the problems with legal/media/psychosocial constructions within a globally hierarchical order.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.