Associate Professor and Chair of Women's and Gender Studies Elora Halim Chowdhury has just arrived in Lahore, Pakistan to present at Cinema and Transnationalism in Pakistan and South Asia: Regional Histories, the second conference in a series of 3 focusing on Transregional Filmscapes in South Asia: Practices, Politics, History. The call for papers for the first conference (held in Dhaka, Bangladesk in January 2016) describes the larger project in the following way:
South Asia is a region with diverse traditions of national, subnational, and transnational film, media, art, and culture. This conference attempts to see the traditions of film, art, culture and media through the lens of “filmscapes.” It seeks to explore, on the one hand, how traditions of cinema and media arts have been created and shaped through the eras of history by politics, economics, and social relations, and, on the other, how film, media, and artistic practices continuously create, recreate, and reflect political, economic, and social processes. The notion of filmscape offers three interrelated ways to think about film and media arts in this region: (a) It considers South Asia as landscapes interconnected through linguistic and technological networks disseminating filmed images, narratives, information, and entertainment (through cinema, legitimate or pirated DVD/VCD circulation; satellite television, advertisements). (b) It views the Subcontinent as a mobile geography of artists and industry experts wherein “the warp” of place-bound communities based on kinship tends to be pluralized by the “woof of human motion” (Arjun Appadurai) carrying different artistic traditions, influences, tastes, genres, and innovations. (c) Finally, it takes a comparative approach to understand the plurality of film, media, art, and culture across the region of South Asia.
We seek single paper or panel proposals that speak to one or more of the following themes (or address related issues):
*How do national, regional, and transregional political, economic, and social processes and practices shape and reshape the production, distribution, and consumption of film, art, culture, and the media in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka?
*How are transregional practices (subnational and transnational) of affiliation and conviviality embodied and aestheticized on film, (fiction, documentary), allied artistic forms (posters, trailers, blogs), and television across Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal?
*In what ways do regional and transregional embodiments and storylines inflect to the politics of identity and otherness in specific contexts and eras of South Asian history (for example, in pre- or post-Partition India and Pakistan; in Bangladesh or East Pakistan)? How do these politics intersect with discourses of nationalism, gender, ethnicity, religion, language, caste, class, and social position?
*How have different historical eras fostered transregional affiliations and collaborations through film, media, art, and culture?
*In what ways do technological innovations and network opportunities (for example, between the gramophone industry, film, and theater in early twentieth century Undivided India; or between the music, film, television, and advertisement industries at present) enable transregional exchanges?
*How do the networks of technology and capital (colonial, nationalist, neoliberal) enforce divisions and hierarchies in the region?
*How has the recent spate of globalization facilitated the rise of a transnational media and culture industries from this region (i.e., Bollywood)?
*What are the intersections of film, education, and advocacy? In what ways are varied histories of struggles in the South Asian region communicated through film? What roles do films play in social and political mobilization, transformation and activism around questions of justice and human rights?
This second conference, taking place on September 1 & 2 at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), the program for which can be found here, consists of 4 panels focusing on different aspects of cinema in South Asia, the last of which, Networks, Violence, and Ethical Encounters: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh will feature Professor Chowdhury discussing her paper titled Ethical encounters: Friendship, reckoning and healing in contemporary films about the Bangladesh Liberation War.
We in WGS are all very excited for Elora to return and shower us with the details of this project that she has worked so diligently on, we and look forward to hearing more about the third and final conference in this series which will be held in Jadavpur, India in 2017.
To learn more about Professor Chowdhury, please follow this link to her faculty page on the UMass Boston website.