#TFON (The Formation Of Nations, January 18, 2020):

How old are passports? Are you a resident citizen? Are nations primeval or modern? Were the colonizers, such as England, the first nations? Are all countries multi-ethnic/multi-religious? Are there phases, then, in the process of the abstract negotiating with ground realities? How do nations reproduce, as some are born, some emerge, some mimic, & some are just put together? When are borders drawn? Why did Czechoslovakia split? Must nations be unitary? How central is ethnicity to national identity? What kinds of countries make patriotic films? Is there too much of suffering in Russian war movies? Do you know of French film ‘stars’? Do psychology and pedagogy together create a citizenry? Why do nations sometimes lose out to (say) regions and religions as the object of loyalty? Is your nationality merely an administrative reality? What moves you? What happened to classical ‘Hindustani’ music after Indian partition? What can nations share (& not share)? Is most of politics economics? Will economic globalization redefine the abstract notion of nations (& nationalism)? Or, will nations – with multiple converging rationale –  keep going strong…? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from social anthropology (Prof. John Clammer, O. P. Jindal Global University, Delhi NCR), film criticism (M. K. Raghavendra, Bangalore), & history (Prof. Lakshmi Subramanian, BITS Pilani, Goa).

Listen in…

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TFON show.

Prof. John Clammer (social anthropology) is a Professor at Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities, O.P. Jindal Global University, Haryana, Delhi NCR. Prior to this, he has held teaching positions at University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji (Japan), University of Hull (UK), National University of Singapore (Singapore), & the Sophia University, Tokyo (Japan). His research interests are sociology and anthropology of development, urban sociology & anthropology, the sociology of architecture, art, & religion, economic anthropology, contemporary Asian and European social and cultural theory, social movements and participatory development in South and Southeast Asia. Prof. Clammer completed his B.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Modern History from the University of Lancaster (UK, 1968), and a Diploma in Anthropology (now Master of Studies, 1969) and D. Phil. in Anthropology (1972) from the University of Oxford (UK). Prof. Clammer has authored several books including: Cultures of Transition and Sustainability (2016), Art, Culture, and International Development (2014), Culture, Development, and Social Theory (2012), Vision and Society (2014), Contemporary Urban Japan (2011), Difference and Modernity: Social Theory and Contemporary Japanese Society (2013). He has held, and holds, several recognized editorial positions including with: International Journal of Japanese Sociology (2018-present), Cultural Sociology (2007-present). His research has also been widely published in peer reviewed journals around the world.

M. K. Raghavendra (film criticism) received a master’s degree in science and worked in the financial sector for over twenty five years. He is a writer on culture and politics with much of his writing focused on cinema. His chosen approach is textual analysis with an emphasis on political discourse. He received the National Award for Best Film Critic in 1997 and was awarded a Homi Bhabha Fellowship in 2000-01. He has authored three volumes of academic film criticism: Seduced by the Familiar: Narration and Meaning in Indian Popular Cinema (Oxford, 2008), Bipolar Identity: Region, Nation and the Kannada Language Film (Oxford, 2011), and The Politics of Hindi Cinema in the New Millennium: Bollywood and the Anglophone Indian Nation (Oxford, 2014). He has also written two books on cinema for the general reader: 50 Indian Film Classics (Collins, 2009), and Director’s Cut: 50 Film-makers of the Modern Era (Collins, 2013). His essays on Indian cinema find a prominent place in Indian and international anthologies. He has also been published by, among others, The Indian Review of Books, Caravan, EPW, Frontline, The Book Review and Biblio: A Review of Books.  His writing has been translated into Russian, French and Polish. His academic writings have been anthologized in books published by Oxford University Press, Sage, Routledge, and BFI (British Film Institute). His book on international cinema, Locating World Cinema, is due to be published by Bloomsbury (in 2020) as is another book titled Philosophical Issues in Indian Film (by Routledge). Also, he is the Founder-Editor of the online journal Phalanx, a venue dedicated to debate.

Prof. Lakshmi Subramanian (history) is Visiting Professor, Humanities and Social Sciences, Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS Pilani), Goa campus. She has also previously taught at the History Centre for Studies in Social Sciences (Kolkata), Jamia Millia Islamia (Delhi), University of Calcutta, and Viswa-Bharati (Santiniketan). Her research interests are India’s cultural history, especially relating to music and performance in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and maritime history. Her initial research was in exploring the ramifications of Indian capital formations in pre-colonial and early colonial India looking specifically at Gujarat and Bombay in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Subsequently she has looked more closely at social networks including those of piracy and predation in the Indian Ocean. Prof. Subramanian completed a B.A. (1976) and M.A. (1978) in History from Calcutta University and then went to ViswaBharati to complete her Ph.D. (1985). She has published more than ten books including: ‘The Sovereign and the Pirate Ordering’ (OUP, 2016), Three Merchants of Bombay (Penguin India, 2012), ‘A History of India 1707-1857’ (Orient Blackswan, 2010), & ‘From the Tanjore Court to the Madras Music Academy: A Social History of Music in South India’ (OUP, 2006), Indigenous Capital and Imperial Expansion (OUP, 1998). She has also held Fellowships at venues such as: University of Glasgow (2011), University of Witwatersrand (2009), NUS (Singapore, 2002), & St. Antony’s College (Oxford, 1996, as Charles Wallace Fellow).

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TFON mentions: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Napoleon, Benedict Anderson, Robert Bresson, Clifford Geertz, Ingmar Bergman, Kalim Siddiqui, Yousuf Saeed, Steven Spielberg, Jhumpa Lahiri, & Greta Thunberg, among others.