CISA faculty projects for the upcoming year.
American Institute for Indian Studies
Akhil Gupta, Professor of Anthropology, and Purnima Mankekar, Associate Professor of Women's Studies awarded senior fellowships to carry out their joint project, “Refashioning Selves, Reimagining Futures: Media and Mobility in Call Centers.” Additional funding awarded to Dr. Mankekar by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (Fulbright).
Refashioning Selves, Reimagining Futures: Media and Mobility in Call Centers
Under the broad rubric of Information technology-enabled services, call centers have grown extremely rapidly, bringing with them heated debate about the virtues and problems of globalization, enormous changes to public culture, and to the lives of young lower-middle-class people in urban metropolises. In this project, we seek to bring an anthropological focus to the everyday experiences of young men and women working in call centers in Bangalore. Drawing on two rounds of preliminary research (in 2003 and 2005), we propose an intensive ethnographic investigation of three inter-related aspects of this industry. How are the labor practices of call center employees, in conjunction with their habits of leisure and consumption, reconfiguring their class and gender identities? How does working in call centers shape how these young men and women imagine their futures? What is the cultural significance of the ubiquity of representations of call centers in contemporary public culture, and how do these representations mediate the everyday experiences of those who work in them? This project is significant for three reasons: it will contribute to a new generation of analyses of middle- and lower-middle-class youth within South Asian studies; secondly, our research will fill a major gap in anthropological analyses of the relationship between contemporaneity and futurity; finally, this research will contribute to understanding how representations in popular media have important implications for the constitution of call center workers’ identities as workers, as youth, as gendered beings, as class subjects, and as Indians.
The American Institute of Indian Studies is a cooperative, non-profit organization of fifty-nine American colleges and universities that supports the advancement of knowledge and understanding of India, its people, and culture. Founded to assist scholars in their study of all aspects of Indian history, culture and contemporary life, the Institute brings about 40 scholars to India every year.
The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Under a cooperative agreement with the Bureau, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) assists in the administration of the Fulbright Scholar Program for faculty and professionals.The traditional Fulbright Scholar Program sends 800 U.S. faculty and professionals abroad each year. Grantees lecture and conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields.
Clark Art Institute
Saloni Mathur, Associate Professor of Art History
Dr. Mathur's areas of interest include the visual cultures of modern South Asia and the South Asian diaspora, colonial studies and postcolonial criticism, the relationship between modern ethnography and the artistic avant-garde, museum studies, and feminist criticism. She has published in such interdisciplinary sites as Cultural Anthropology, American Anthropologist, Third Text, Parachute, Art Bulletin, and the Art Journal, and has recently completed a book titled India by Design: Colonial History and Cultural Display (Berkeley, 2007). Her Clark project is concerned with the activities of Charles and Ray Eames in India. It is part of a future book-length project on the relationship of post-independence India to an international modernism of the 1950s and 1960s.
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is one of a small number of institutions in the United States that combines a public art museum with a complex of research and academic programs, including a major art history library. The Clark functions as an international center in both the academic and museum fields for research and discussion on the nature of art and its history.
Oakley Center for Humanities and Social Sciences
Aamir Mufti, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, awarded Clark-Oakley Fellowship for his project, "Parting Lines: The Iconography of India's Partition." His Clark-Oakley project undertakes a new understanding of the artistic representation of India's partition in comparative and global terms. The focus will be on the work of Zarina Hasmi, a New York-based printmaker.
The Oakley Center and the Research and Academic Program at the Sterling and Francince Clark Art Institute joinly offer one fellowship for national and international scholars in the humanities whose work takes an interdisciplinary approach to some aspect of the visual.