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Past Events

Discussion of ‘Jugaad Time’ by Amit S Rai

Wednesday 9th October, 2019

5:00 pm, Arts Two Senior Common Room (4th Floor), QMUL


All are welcome to the South Asia Forum discussion of our colleague Amit S Rai’s new book, Jugaad Time: Ecologies of Everyday Hacking in India (Duke University Press, 2019). Amit, who is Reader in Creative Industries and Arts Organising at QMUL, will be in conversation with Gerard Hanlon (Professor of Organisational Sociology, QMUL), chaired by Shital Pravinchandra (Lecturer in Comparative Literature, QMUL). Participants are encouraged to read the Introduction to the book prior to meeting, available here: tinyurl.com/JugaadTimeIntro

Book Summary: “In India, the practice of jugaad—finding workarounds or hacks to solve problems—emerged out of subaltern strategies of negotiating poverty, discrimination, and violence but is now celebrated in management literature as a disruptive innovation. In Jugaad Time Amit S. Rai explores how jugaad operates within contemporary Indian digital media cultures through the use of the mobile phone. Rai shows that despite being co-opted by capitalism to extract free creative labor from the workforce, jugaad is simultaneously a practice of everyday resistance, as workers and communities employ hacks to oppose corporate, caste, and gender power. Locating the tensions surrounding jugaad—as both premodern and postdigital, innovative and oppressive—Rai maps how jugaad can be used to undermine neoliberal capitalist media ecologies and nationalist politics.”

Film Screening: Many Months in Mirya, with Renu Savant

Wednesday 21st November, 2018

2:00 pm, Alfred Hitchcock Theatre, Arts One, QMUL

Many Months in Mirya is an anonymous researcher's diary, in video. Drawing from auto-ethnography, the film records the time of a village over three seasons, in 2015 India. Telling stories of characters and forces in the village, natural and human-made, historical and present, the film draws its power from frugal economy and long duration. The film is the winner of the 2017 John Abraham National Award for Best Documentary, Kerala, India. Join us for this free screening, followed by a discussion with the director Renu Savant.

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Geography Postgraduate Research Frameworks: Screening of ‘Cities of Sleep’

Tuesday 13th November, 2018

4:00 pm, G.O. Jones 208, QMUL

Taking us into the heady world of insurgent sleeper communities in India’s capital, Cities of Sleep trails the lives of two individuals. Shakeel, a young man who has spent seven years sleeping rough, is now having to deal with the “sleep mafia”—goons who capitalise on the scarcity of safe sleeping spaces in the absence of government safety nets. The film follows his attempts to secure a safe sleeping space as the infamous winter rains of Delhi are due. We also meet Ranjeet, who runs a ‘sleep-cinema’ community under a huge double-storey iron bridge that straddles the banks of the Yamuna River. The thin strip of land houses shanty cinemas where over 400 homeless come and sleep through the day for a nominal price. The flooding of the river poses a threat to the people sleeping there every monsoon.

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Launch Event: Gyan Prakash, ‘Democracy and Emergency in Modern India’

Thursday 1st November, 2018

6:00 pm, Arts Two Lecture Theatre, QMUL

RSVP online at modernindia.eventbrite.co.uk

On the night of June 25, 1975, Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency in India, suspending constitutional rights and rounding up her political opponents in midnight raids across the country. In the twenty-one harrowing months that followed, her regime unleashed a brutal campaign of coercion and intimidation, arresting and torturing people by the tens of thousands, razing slums, and imposing compulsory sterilization on the poor. In spite of this searing experience, the Emergency has received little historical study. Stripping away the comfortable myth that this authoritarian turn was a momentary episode brought on entirely by Indira's crisis of power, Professor Gyan Prakash argues that the political crisis was long in the making and was a turning point in the history of India’s democracy. Prakash focuses on the stories of the imprisonment of leaders to illustrate how this moment raised searching questions about the meanings of public and personal freedom.

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