Lecture-cum-visual presentation by Purnima Mankekar, UCLA
In this paper, which is extracted from a larger project on the role of transnational mass media in the production of South Asian public cultures, Purnima Mankekar explores how the practice of impersonation might provide us with a lens to understand some of the dynamics of identity and cultural production occurring in contemporary India. Juxtaposing the protocols of impersonation performed by employees of call centers in Gurgaon, India, with the impersonation strategies of Bunty and Babli, the eponymous protagonists of a recent Bollywood blockbuster, Prof. Mankekar traces ideas of upward mobility, success, and growth are being reformulated in a context of neoliberalism and transnational media.
Purnima Mankekar is an associate professor in Asian American Studies and Women's Studies. Her research and teaching interests center around transnationalism, feminist critiques of nationalism, postcolonial theory, cultural studies of mass media, comparative histories of racialization, Asian American studies, and South Asia studies. She is currently working on two book manuscripts. The first, titled India Travels: Transnational Public Cultures, Gender, and the Reconfiguration of Belonging, is based on research in New Delhi and the San Francisco Bay Area and examines how mass media provide nodes of transnational connectivity in these two sites. Situated at the intersection of Asian American studies and South Asia studies, this book examines how transnational and postcolonial perspectives might enable us to reexamine notions of nationality, citizenship, and belonging. A second manuscript is a collection of essays based on research on the racial violence experienced by South Asian Americans, chiefly Sikhs and Muslims, after September 11, 2001. In addition, she has recently completed a volume (co-edited with Professor Louisa Schein of Rutgers University) titled Media, Erotics, and Transnational Asia. This volume is a collection of interdisciplinary essays on the role of mass media in changing conceptions of erotics within Asia and across Asian diasporas.
Sponsor(s): Center for India and South Asia
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