The National Seminar on “Regional Cultures and New Media Technologies’ is an attempt to address the cultural continuum that lies between the local/immediate, the national capital or cultural production hubs and the many linkages in the vast web that connects them. The term ‘regional’ used here is not the same as ‘peripheral’ if one were to follow the mainstream vs margins discourse. The attempt here is to map the forms of cultural expressions of communities both as processes of storytelling and dialogue within as well as the wider communities without. We take the term ‘Region’ as inherently ‘unsteady’, ‘diffuse’ and are constantly reformulated by linguistic, cultural and geo political communities.
More empirically, the context for this conference is the remarkable growth in the regional or local forms of cultural expressions since the rise of new technologies in the last four decades. This marks not only a shift from the analog format to the digital, but also the rise of the global web through the internet. For example, the growth of Bhojpuri cinema and music among several other languages and dialects in the Hindi heartland and other regions such as the distant Ladakh, Manipur, Mizoram or Malappuram in Kerala are surely evidences of the new opportunities of empowerment that the digital media has provided. This could only have been achieved through technologies - cell phones, thumb drive – laptop/notebook, and even live concerts where the gigantic video projections allow large audiences to enjoy the proximity of the performer in ways akin to small and exclusive cultural gatherings.
The story of growth among the regional languages and cultures is however not linear – much is being lost even as much is gained. Empirical evidence from the field suggests that the regional languages and cultures are also going through a process of reorientation and modification or are altogether shedding old forms and canons. The regional languages and cultures are also absorbing influences from the ‘mainstream’ as well as the adjacent cultures but also those that are culled from inconceivably distant sources made easily available anywhere through the internet. This process and its outcomes are themselves puzzling enough and deserve extensive research and analysis. But the unavoidable question remains – what exactly is the meaning of such growth in a wider social-political context?
These are questions that warrant engagement at both the empirical level and theoretical/philosophical levels. How these industries/ markets/practices come into being and are mobilized provides valuable lessons about the hybrid geographies of conflict and cooperation that shape our democracy. The conference is thus an occasion to bring in perspectives, perceptions and factual reports from different parts of the country and attempt at achieving a broader and comparative perspective. These digital cultures provide valuable and previously inaccessible insights on the local, regional, and global forces shaping and sustaining linguistic and subaltern communities.
The conference thus has place for intellectual contributions on the structure of the new cultural industries and markets, the sociology-anthropology of the cultures seen through the producing as well as the audience communities, the technology-culture linkages, the implicit or explicit politics of the new genres and the industries, the aesthetic assessments and the recent shifts in public taste as well as the contribution of these cultures to the wider processes of democratization in its most overt as well as tacit sense.
The Conference organizers aim to bring out a volume on Regional Cultures of selected papers. Panels will be organized around these themes:
‘Mainstream’ Vs ‘Regional’
Economies of local market
Opportunities and entrepreneurship in the new media economy
Video Cultures and new Digital Practices
Soundscapes and new media culture
New Audience Practices and Digital Culture
Subaltern Communities and New Media Technologies
Traditional Media and Digital Narratives
A limited number of participants will be invited for the seminar. We especially encourage young scholars to apply. Those interested in participating should send an abstract and title (250 words maximum) of the proposed paper along with their C.V. to the following Email ID:
A limited number of participants will be invited for the Seminar. Those interested in participating should send (preferably by email) an abstract (250 words) of the proposed paper along with their C.V. to:
The last date for submission of abstract (250 words) is 22 January, 2017. The Institute intends to send Invitation letters to selected participants by 07 February, 2017. It is the policy of the Institute to publish the paper not proceedings of the seminars it organizes. Hence, all invited participants will be expected to submit complete papers (English or Hindi), hitherto unpublished and original, with citations in place, along with a reference section, to the Academic Resource Officer, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla – 171005 by 10 March, 2017. Style sheet for the submission of papers may be downloaded from the IIAS website http://www.iias.org/ content/shss.
IIAS, Shimla, will be glad to extend its hospitality during the seminar period and is willing to reimburse, if required, rail or air travel expenses from the place of current residence in India, or the port of arrival in India, and back.
Indian Institute of Advanced Study,
Rashtrapati Nivas, Shimla 171005 Tel: +91 177 2832930 ; +91 177 2831376Email: email@example.com
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