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"History of India through Bollywood" - Rita Kothari

Monday, February 27, 2017 03:00 pm

Speaker: Rita Kothari

Location: Room 303, International Center

Guest professor and lecturer Rita Kothari presents:

Monday, Feb. 27, 3:00, Room 303 International Center
History of India Through Bollywood: If nations are imagined, how does popular and mainstream cinema in India contribute to that imagination? What relationship does the fantastic and make-believe world of Bollywood  do to the idea of India? My talk will focus upon milestones in Hindi cinema (called Bollywood after liberalization of the 1990s) to demonstrate implicit and explicit interaction between cinema and socio-political contexts in India. In doing so, it will move back and forth between the nation’s anxieties about gender, caste, religion, class and cinematic representations to show the real and reel cannot be seen in discrete terms but mutually constitutive entities. In  doing so I argue for cinema as an intersectional site that enables an understanding of both consolidation as well as diffusion of nation and its avowed goals.

Tuesday, Feb. 28, 3:00, Room 303 International Center
A Multilingual Nation: Given the hectic nature of multiple languages in India, how does a nation sustain itself without a consensus upon a ‘national’ language? The talk will begin with the disputes regarding Hindi and English as two possible choices for the newly formed nation-state in 1947, and take the reader through the discourse on India’s recognized and unrecognized languages/dialects to give a bird’s eye-view on its everyday forms of multilingualism. It will also interweave into the narrative the production and reception of literature produced in Indian languages and the challenges to imagining an “Indian” literature.

Wed. Mar 1, 3:00pm, JMC Library, third floor Case Hall
Scarred Nation: Partition in the Indian subcontinent:  The territorial division of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan, and eventually Bangladesh, is referred to as “Partition” in English. Indian languages have their own terms to describe this phenomenon and quite often, victims of this history provide in their oral testimonies versions that complicate the singularity of this event even further. My talk will provide the dialectics between history and memory, state and individuals to show how this “event” is constructed and remembered in diverse ways in India. I will focus largely on my research on Sindh and how its minorities migrated to India during Partition, their processes of rehabilitation and resettlement and also compare them with Sindhi speaking Muslims who have lived along the borders of Kutch and Rajasthan in India to argue that negotiation of borders is an everyday practice for some. Finally partition reincarnates itself through border making and border crossing practices in the subcontinent. I examine this in relation to language, literature, religion and nations at large

The public is welcome to all three talks. Free.

Rita Kothari is a professor in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department at the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, India. She is the author of Translating India: The Cultural Politics of English (St.Jerome Publishing, Manchester, rvd ed. Cambridge University Press, New Delhi) and The Burden of Refuge (rvd.ed. Orient Blackswan, New Delhi). She has co-translated Modern Gujarati Poetry (Sahitya Akademi, Delhi) and Coral Island: The Poetry of Niranjan Bhagat (Sahitya Akademi, Gandhinagar). Her translations of note are The Stepchild: Angaliayat (Oxford University Press, New Delhi), Speech and Silence: Literary Journeys by Gujarati Women (Zubaan, New Delhi) and Unbordered Memories: Partition Stories from Sindh (Penguin). She has co-edited Decentring Translation Studies: India and Beyond (John Benjamin Press, Amsterdam) and Chutnefying English: The Phenomenon of Hinglish (Penguin, forthcoming).