Friday, 2 January 2015

Juxtapose 2014 (24 September), JNU, New Delhi. Videos of all sessions.

As always, our many thanks to the School of International Studies and School of Arts and Aesthetics at JNU for their kind support.

Our thanks too to our remarkable cameraman for his brilliant work!

Day One
Day 1, Session 1:
Opening Remarks: Prof. Anuradha Chenoy (Dean of School of International Studies, JNU); Prof. Srikanth Kondapalli (Centre for East Asian Studies, SIS, JNU)
Keynote: Barbara Harriss-White (University of Oxford)

Day 1, Session 2:
Chair: Prof. Ravni Thakur (Delhi University)
Discussants: Dr. Arik Moran (Haifa University) and Prof. Barbara Harriss-White
Presenters: Ashok Kumar (University of Oxford); Dr. Charlotte Goodburn (King’s College, London); DK de Feo-Giet (University of Oxford); Iris Ru-yu Lin (IIT Madras).
Day one was focused upon a phenomenon that both India and China have faced in the most dramatic way during this period of rapid development: internal economic migration. After the inspiring opening comments of Prof. Chenoy, and a challenging state-of-the-field address by Prof. Harriss-White, the first two sessions, combining social sciences and humanities papers, extensive fieldwork and analysis, contributors explored both the social effects of migrant labour on society and the migrants themselves. They further considered how the social status of migrants and their portrayal in media interact, while fundamentally rethinking the nature of migration, who is a migrant, and the costs and benefits to migrants, the economy and society at this juncture. Dr. Charlotte Goodburn tracked the effects of migration on girls’ wellbeing and education, while Ashok Kumar examined the delicately balanced relationship between labour and market in both countries. Danielle de Feo-Giet explored the ways in which popular film and culture provides opportunities for disaggregation of perceived “wave” of “floating” migrant workers, despite its normative features. Finally, a contribution from Iris Ru-Yu Lin, currently at IIT Madras, tracked the perceived benefits and costs of education systems on either side of the China/India border for Tibetan young people, and the implications for their quality of education, future, and feelings of Tibetan national identity.

Day 1, Session 3 & 4 Film Screenings:
Sharma, Surabhi dir. Bidesia in Bambai (2013)
Huang, Xiang, Xu, Ruotao & Sniadecki, JP (dir.) YUMEN (2013)
Discussants: Dr. Kaushik Bhaumik (School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU); Ms. Surabhi Sharma; Dr. Charlotte Goodburn; DK de Feo-Giet.

The afternoon session expanded upon this theme with the screening of two experimental documentaries: Bidesia in Bambai by Surabhi Sharma, and YUMEN by Xu Ruotao, Xiang Wei and JP Sniadecki. These films, both already much-lauded, show different ends of the movement of peoples as a consequence of rapid economic change. Bidesia in Bambai presents a vibrant musical culture formed in the unique crucible formed by the Bhojpuri speaking community in Mumbai, where urban life is produced by those living at close quarters on the edge of the city. The film is rich in sound and sonic effects. Sonic effects also play an important role in the creation of atmosphere in YUMEN, which portrays the emptiness of the town of the title after the transfer of oil workers to more economically viable locations. It is a study in loneliness, emptiness, and alienation, with a strange sense of displaced nostalgia, that speaks to the space left behind as bodies gather in other places where money can be made. The discussions following the screening with panellists Dr. Charlotte Goodburn, Dr. Kaushik Bhaumik, Ms. Surabhi Sharma, and Danielle K.J. de Feo-Giet, explored the implications of examining these films in light of the day’s presentations, and how film as a practice can function for comparison and for portrayal of this important social phenomenon. 

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