A Talk on “Musicophilia in Mumbai : Performing Subjects and the Metropolitan Unconscious”

About the Speaker 

Tejaswini Niranjana is Director, Centre for Inter-Asian Research, and Dean, Online Programmes. Before coming to Ahmedabad University, she was Professor and Head, Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, and Director, Centre for Cultural Research and Development. She is co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore, which offered an innovative interdisciplinary PhD programme from 2000-2012. During 2012-16, she headed the Centre for Indian Languages in Higher Education at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and was Indian-language advisor to Wikipedia. Professor Niranjana is the author of Siting Translation: History, Post-structuralism and the Colonial Context (University of California Press, 1992), Mobilizing India: Women, Music and Migration between India and Trinidad (Duke UP, 2006), and Musicophilia in Mumbai: Performing Subjects and the Metropolitan Unconscious (Duke UP, 2020). Her most recent edited volumes include Genealogies of the Asian Present: Situating Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (Orient Blackswan, 2015) with Wang Xiaoming; and Music, Modernity and Publicness in India (Oxford University Press, 2020). For her translations from Kannada into English, she has won the Central Sahitya Akademi Award, the Karnataka State Sahitya Akademi Award, and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. She won the 2021 National Translation Award for Prose for her English translation of the book No Presents Please: Mumbai Stories, an anthology of short stories in Kannada authored by Jayant Kaikini. She is curator of the Saath-Saath Project, a musical collaboration between Indian and Chinese performers: http://saathsaathmusic.com, and producer of three documentary films based on her music research (directed by Surabhi Sharma).

About the Book 

In Musicophilia in Mumbai Tejaswini Niranjana traces the place of Hindustani classical music in Mumbai throughout the long twentieth century as the city moved from being a seat of British colonial power to a vibrant postcolonial metropolis. Drawing on historical archives, newspapers, oral histories, and interviews with musicians, critics, students, and instrument makers as well as her own personal experiences as a student of Hindustani classical music, Niranjana shows how the widespread love of music throughout the city created a culture of collective listening that brought together people of diverse social and linguistic backgrounds. This culture produced modern subjects Niranjana calls musicophiliacs, whose subjectivity was grounded in a social rather than an individualistic context. By attending concerts, learning instruments, and performing at home and in various urban environments, musicophiliacs embodied forms of modernity that were distinct from those found in the West. In tracing the relationship between musical practices and the formation of the social subject, Niranjana opens up new ways to think about urbanity, subjectivity, culture, and multiple modernities.

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A Talk on “Musicophilia in Mumbai : Performing Subjects and the Metropolitan Unconscious”

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