Book chapter / Memories and Geographies of Colonialism Across Kerala and Tanzania

Joseph, May. ‘Indian Ocean Ontology: Nyerere, Memory, Place’. In Reimagining Indian Ocean Worlds, edited by Smriti Srinivas, Bettina Ng’weno, and Neelima Jeychandran. Routledge Series on the Indian Ocean and Trans-Asia. Routledge, 2020.

Abstract (provided by author): ‘Indian Ocean Ontology: Nyerere, Memory, Place’ is a self reflexive essay grafting Kerala with Tanzania. It explores the gaps between the lived, the historic, and the everyday that shapes modern migrancy, and the challenges of citizenship that informed Tanzanian Asians of the 1960s and 1970s. How does one write through the process of dislocation, revolution, diaspora? This essay takes a stab at some methodological and writerly directions.

More info: https://www.routledge.com/Reimagining-Indian-Ocean-Worlds/Srinivas-Ngweno-Jeychandran/p/book/9780367344535

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Journal article / Jews of Kerala and Transcending Boundaries in Sethu’s Novel

Jacob, Asha Susan. ‘Aliyah: The Last Jew in the Village—A Poetics of the History of Jews in Kerala’. South Asian Review. Published ahead of print, 13 October 2020.

Abstract: The Jews in India emigrated to Israel, centuries after their settlement in India, despite the cordial ambience provided in the land of their sojourn.

The formation of Israel as a state and the altering socio-political scenario in India succeeding independence that augmented a sense of uncertainty regarding their future culminated in the immigration to an unacquainted yet own home of their own.

The long immigration process was traumatic to those caught between their homes, one unseen and the other experienced and lived, one inherited and the other gifted, posing many a troublesome question of identity, affiliation etc.

Sethumadhavan’s Aliyah: The Last Jew in the Village, grounded on this historic event and narrated through the story of three generations of a Jewish family responding to the Zionist call, delves into the emotional and philosophical underpinnings of the notions about the nation, nationality, self, identity, affiliation, and a lot of other uncanvassed, unreciprocated questions.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1080/02759527.2020.1827927

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Journal article / Neo-Savarna Femininity and the Sabarimala Entry Movement in Kerala

Devika, J. ‘The Defence of Aachaaram, Femininity, and Neo-Savarna Power in Kerala’. Indian Journal of Gender Studies. Published ahead of print, 15 September 2020.

Abstract (edited): This paper examines the discourse of the Ready to Wait (RTW) campaign, led by highly-educated professional neo-savarna women in Kerala, against litigation to open the doors of Kerala’s Sabarimala shrine to women of menstruating ages, hitherto barred from the pilgrimage. The term savarna refers to the privileged caste communities that, from pre-colonial times, controlled land and other material resources and ritual practices, and continued to do so to a large extent even later.

Avarna refers to those oppressed groups that laboured for the savarna and were subjected to degradation through such practices as untouchability and unseeability, and whose exclusion from social power continues in different ways despite these groups having achieved economic presence and education. Following a Supreme Court verdict in September 2018, which struck down the Sabarimala taboo, Kerala was shaken by violent protests led by neo-savarna and right-wing Sangh Parivar organisations.

Through a close reading of the Facebook engagement of a Right to Wait campaigner, I seek to make sense of the particular sorts of ‘dissonance’ these organisations seem to be creating within the male-defined space of Hindutva, the specific caste politics they represent, as well as their articulation and disarticulation with a discourse on women’s empowerment and feminism. I argue that it is time that we seriously theorise the power relations between savarna and avarna women under brahmanical patriarchy, instead of focusing singularly on the subordination of upper-caste women by the male brahmanical elite.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1177/0971521520939283

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Journal article / Price Volatility of Black Pepper in Kerala

Sachu Sara Sabu, Anil Kuruvila and S.P. Subash. “Price Volatility of Black Pepper in Kerala: Could Institutional Mechanism such as Contract Agreement be a Solution”. Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics 75(2), 2020.

Abstract : Black pepper, the oldest and best known spice in the world, is a highly traded commodity and prone to price fluctuations. The present paper focuses on the extent of volatility in prices of black pepper at the macro-level and explores at micro level whether an institutional support such as a contract agreement could be a solution to the problem of price volatility.

The study shows that the intra-annual volatility indices forblack pepper prices decreased marginally after trade liberalisation in India, whereas the inter-annual volatility has increased in the post-liberalisation era.

These fluctuating prices increases the uncertainty faced by the farmers in their planting decisions and in earning reasonable as well as stable returns. The study also identified disease and pest incidence as the major constraint in black pepper production, whereas price volatility ranked to be the fourth constraint.

The study also analysed the effect of an institutional contract agreement by comparing the outcomes such as price received, net-income and replanting decisions. Using Heckman endogeneity adjustment model the study shows that membership of farmers in such an institution has led to better price realisation.

Even though the members received slightly higher prices when compared to non-members, there was no significant difference in net income.The members showed higher replanting in years with lower prices. It was found that a contractual agreement alone could not protect the farmers from price fluctuations.

More info: http://isaeindia.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/07-R-Sachu-Sara-Sabu-final.pdf

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Journal article / Analysing the Kerala Model in Light of Kerala’s COVID-19 Response

Chathukulam, Jos, and Joseph Tharamangalam. ‘The Kerala Model in the Time of COVID19: Rethinking State, Society and Democracy’. World Development 137. Published ahead of print, 1 January 2021.

Abstract (edited): Kerala has been celebrated as a development model by scholars across the world for its exemplary achievements in human development and poverty reduction despite relatively low GDP growth. It was no surprise, then, that the COVID-19 pandemic that hit Kerala before any other part of India, became a test case for the Kerala model in dealing with such a crisis. Kerala was lauded across the world once again as a success story in containing this unprecedented pandemic, in treating those infected, and in making needed provisions for those adversely affected by the lockdown.

But as it turned out, this celebration was premature as Kerala soon faced a third wave of COVID-19 infections. The objective of this paper is to examine Kerala’s trajectory in achieving the success and then confronting the unanticipated reversal. It will examine the legacy of the Kerala model such as robust and decentralized institutions and provisions for healthcare, welfare and safety nets, and especially the capacity of a democratic state working in synergy with civil society and enjoying a high degree of consensus and public trust.

It will then examine the new surge of the virus and attempt to establish if this was due to any mistakes made by the state, or some deficits in its model of ‘public action’ that includes adversarial politics having a disruptive tenor about it. We will conclude by arguing that the Kerala model is still relevant, and that it is still a model in motion.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2020.105207

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മാനസികാരോഗ്യവും സമീപകാല മലയാള സിനിമയും: ചില സംവാദങ്ങൾ

Aprajita Sarcar and P. K. Anand.
Ala : A Kerala Studies Blog, September 2020.

പുരുഷസ്വത്വവും , മാനസികാരോഗ്യവും, സാമൂഹിക വ്യവസ്ഥയും തമ്മിലുള്ള സൂക്ഷ്മബന്ധത്തെ സമീപകാലത്തു പുറത്തുവന്ന ‘ട്രാൻസ്’ (2020), ‘കുമ്പളങ്ങി നൈറ്റ്സ് (2019) എന്നീ സിനിമകൾ അടിസ്ഥാനമാക്കി വിശകലനം ചെയ്യുകയാണ് ആനന്ദും അപ്രാജിതയും.

More info : http://ala.keralascholars.org/issues/25/mental-health-and-cinema/

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COVID-19 and Marriage Migration in Kerala

Krishnakumar C.S. and Jayakumar M.S.
Ala : A Kerala Studies Blog, September 2020.

Excerpt : Marriage migration is the largest permanent migration in the state of Kerala, and the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about changes in its patterns. Krishnakumar C.S. and Jayakumar M.S. write about these shifts, and their potential socio-economic impacts on Kerala’s society.

More info : http://ala.keralascholars.org/issues/25/covid-19-and-marriage-migration/

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Academic Publishing Update – October 2020 : 1

Kurt Milberger. “Working with Your Editor: The Role of a Journals Managing Editor.”
The H-Net Book Channel, 14th Sept 2020.

Excerpt : … managing editors are both conduits and advocates for you and your work…. Knowing what a managing editor can do for you as an author is a good first step to understanding journal workflows and preparing your work for publication.

More info : https://networks.h-net.org/node/1883/discussions/6576783/working-your-editor-role-journals-managing-editor

Shared to KSM by Muhammed Afzal P., Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, BITS Pilani, Pilani.

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Journal article (OA) / COVID-19 and Attitudes among Reverse Migrants in Kerala

Menon, Devaki Vadakepat, and Vanaja Menon Vadakepat. ‘Migration and Reverse Migration: Gulf-Malayalees’ Perceptions during the Covid-19 Pandemic’. South Asian Diaspora. Published ahead of print, 23 September 2020. (Open access).

Abstract (edited): The United Arab Emirates has witnessed an exodus of long-term non-resident Indians, especially Malayalees, due to unforeseen impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The Emirates’ consequent economic setbacks, including a fear of the virus and falling job and financial security, threatened the survival of Indians—the largest expatriate demographic in the world and the Emirates.

While apprehensive about their homeland’s ability to accommodate a mass reverse migrant population, the reverse migrants still retained attributes and values they associated with migration to the Emirates. Since the UAE hosts the largest number of Keralites in the world, the sample for this study comprises the first batch of Gulf-Malayalees who had registered to return to Kerala.

Through a means-end approach, this study reviews respondents’ attributes, consequences, and values at the time of migration and compares it with their perceptions during the sudden COVID-19-related reverse migration from the United Arab Emirates.

More info and full text: https://doi.org/10.1080/19438192.2020.1820668

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Journal article / Women Directors and the Gender Politics of Cinema in Kerala

Pillai, Meena T. ‘“Camera Obscura” to “Camera Dentata”: Women Directors and the Politics of Gender in Malayalam Cinema’. BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies. Published ahead of print, 15 September 2020.

Abstract (edited): This article examines women directors in Malayalam cinema as historical subjects, looking at the manner in which they place themselves within Kerala’s cultural semiotics and its popular imaginary, disrupting or legitimising an illusion coded to the measure of gender desires and differences within its semiosphere.

The logic of commercial cinema demands that women directors fall in sync with the representative politics of the male gaze and a capitalist libidinal economy, seducing women into passive codes of femininity and aligning men within the registers of a hegemonic masculinity, in effect foreclosing the play of alternative languages of desire. Malayalam cinema has had two kinds of women directors, one who tries to puncture this logic from within the male bastions of popular cinema, and the second who strives to be an ‘other’ to the myth-makers of the phallic order.

The article attempts to read the first mode of intervention using the Marxian specular metaphor of the camera obscura as a hierarchical apparatus of ideological inversion where the real is substituted by a spectacle of the illusory. To analyse the latter, the article puts forward the metaphor of camera dentata—that modus of representation which seeks to topple the patriarchal and capitalist ideological predispositions of the cinematic apparatus, thus rendering it capable of diminishing the power of phallic signifiers and ‘the moral panics of sexuality’ they engender.

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