Categorical Oppression and Migrant Labour in India
18 February 2021 (Thursday)
11:00 a.m. EST (New York, US)
via Zoom (registration link)
About the event: What does ‘identity’ really mean for the migrant workforce beyond its function in production relations? How are forms of identity evoked within broader social relations in a migrant context? This talk explores these questions by looking at how the Tamil Dalit tea workers in Kerala experience the stigmatisation of their identity categories in the context of two significant events that occurred in the tea belt—an economic crisis and a conflict between two states over managing a dam.
The way ‘migrant’ workers are categorised in their ‘host’ society is discussed here as fundamental to how they experience life both in and out of their workplaces. Extending Philippe Bourgois’s notion of conjugated oppression, Raj argues that when dominant groups stigmatise, evoke and employ certain aspects of the workers’ identities to their disadvantage, they are engaging in a phenomenon that he calls ‘categorical oppression’.
About the speaker: Jayaseelan Raj is Assistant Professor, Centre for Development Studies (CDS; Thiruvananthapuram) and Research Associate in the Egalitarianism project in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Bergen, where he received his PhD in Anthropology in 2014. Before joining CDS, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science and is a co-author of Ground Down by Growth (Pluto Press 2017 and Oxford University Press 2018).
The Cinema of Govindan Aravindan: An Introduction with Amarnath Praful
19 February 2021 (Friday)
10:00 am CST (Chicago, US)
About the event: Introduction by Constantine V. Nakassis, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Chicago and moderated by Eléonore Rimbault, doctoral student in Anthropology, University of Chicago
In this lecture presentation, Amarnath Praful will introduce the cinematic oeuvre of the Malayali filmmaker Govindan Aravindan (1935–1991) who lived and worked in Kerala. G. Aravindan was considered one of the most influential filmmakers in India and was a unique figure in the Parallel cinema movement in Kerala and India. His meditative and eclectic vision became an important marker of Kerala modernity in the 1970s and 1980s. The presentation will trace the film maker’s practice, from his days as a reputed cartoonist and dramaturge, to subsequently becoming a filmmaker who collaborated with a range of cultural practitioners and traditional artists across Kerala.
Using certain instances and threads from his early films, Praful will try to locate the unique position Aravindan’s cinema had within a triad of contexts: folk traditions and mythology of Kerala—its appropriations and adaptations in performative and literary arts; the sociopolitical and cultural history of Kerala (especially in the 1970s and 1980s) and the history of cinema and cinephilia in the region.
About the speaker: Amarnath Praful is a visual artist and faculty member at the National Institute of Design, Gandhinagar.
More info: https://southasia.uchicago.edu/node/344303