South Asia Seminar Series: IMAGE/TEXT/SOUND
Thu, November 13, 2008 • 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM • Meyerson Conference Room, WCH 4.118
The SAI seminar series features lectures by distinguished South Asian specialists from UT and abroad. Regular seminars occur on Thursdays at 3:30 pm, preceded by a reception at 3:00 pm, in the Meyerson Conference Room (WCH 4.118).Christopher Pinney (Ph.D. 1987, London School of Economics) joined the Department as Visiting Crowe Professor in Spring 2007. His research has a strong geographic focus in central India: his initial ethnographic research was concerned with village-resident factory workers. Subsequently he researched popular photographic practices and the consumption of Hindu chromolithographs in the same area. His publications combine contemporary ethnography with the historical archaeology of particular media (see eg. Camera Indica and Photos of the Gods).
He is currently interested in cultural spaces which conventional social theory has tended to neglect: “more than local and less than global”, and spaces of cultural flow that elude the west. In addition to ongoing projects with an Indian focus (for instance, a filmic record of two central Indian Dalit intellectuals) he is also working on visual dimensions of cultural encounters from 1492 to the present, and thinking through Kracauer’s later work and the question of ‘multiple temporalities’. Current book projects include, Lessons From Hell (concerned with popular Indian depictions of punishment), a ‘visual history’ of modern India, and Visual Encounters.
During the 2006-07 academic year he participated in two panels at the annual South Asia meeting in Madison-Wisconsin, the Festival of Muslim Cultures in Manchester (UK), delivered the Panizzi Lectures at the British Library (London), and gave lectures and conference presentations on Indian photography at Cambridge (UK) and the North Carolina Center for South Asia Studies, on images of Mumbai at Warwick (UK), on the construction of Hindu divine topographies at the University of Amsterdam, on ‘corpography’ at the Royal Anthropological Institute film festival conference in Manchester (UK), on images of violence in India at a symposium concerned with the Aftershock exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts (UEA, UK), and on popular visualisations of hell at Jawaharlal Nehru University (Delhi). During September he visited Mumbai, central India, and Delhi for research. He published commentaries on new photographic work in Source and Portfolio and completed a book manuscript, The Coming of Photography in India, based on the Panizzi Lectures for publication in early 2008.