ACLA Annual Meeting 2017 Seminar - Selected Abstract-Proposals for Presentation



Seminar Theme:
Colonial Imprints in Postcolonial Cinematic Eye I
Seminar Organiser: Jayshree Singh, Associate Professor, English, Bhupal Nobles’ University, Udaipur, India


The cinematic vision is the lens that captures dilemma of ethics, aesthetics and logic in relation to physics and metaphysics. It reinforces the camera eye of human mind to revamp the past in terms of the present knowledge in order to reclaim the origin and history, besides to authenticate the fact of the human mind and nature. The cinematic visuals revert the understanding of practices, tensions and perception and contribute in seeking answers to cultural sovereignty or cultural slavery. The film directors, producers, screen writers have been keen in presenting cinematic imagination viz-a-viz colonial structures, which mostly configures centralism, homogenizing influence of national-imperial opposition. The research articles and papers should attempt to answer analytically as well as critically with the help of their observations and cultural studies on the cinema - How do the postcolonial filmmakers resist oppositional strains of post-independence and pre-independence of their modern nation states? How do contradictory forces in a film reconfigure a new understanding of cultural politics and diverse epistemologies? How does a film challenge global concentration against dominant discourse of hegemonic culture? How do the film graphic, devices, techniques and cinematic strategies address nation, nationalism and decolonization? If the films redress such issues, then how do they absorb spectator-onscreen relationship to find alternative interpretations?

The abstracts with a limit of 200 words and biodata within 100 characters should reach to the given email address: dr.jayshree.singh@gmail.com as well as to be uploaded by the paper presenters themselves by login/register on the webpage http://www.acla.org/

 

Discursive Splits and Opposition in Maurice Pialat's Turkish Chronicles

Fuat Doga, Research Asstt., Critical & Cultural Studies, Bogazici University, Turkey
Released in 1964, two years after the independence of Algeria, Maurice Pialat’s Turkish Chronicles, on the one hand, revive the mythic, Imperial gaze of the Orientalist travel-writers of the nineteenth century by evoking the fantasy of a lost Orient. On the other hand, however, they emphatically comment on the modern, “Western” face of Istanbul, revealing -either by parody, irony or subtle criticism- the impossibility of this Orientalist fantasy. My paper primarily aims to discuss how Pialat foregrounds such discursive splits to allow himself an oppositional stance vis a vis colonial ideology. Although none of the films in the series explicitly deals with the Algerian question, I argue that Pialat gestures toward a displaced critique of colonialism in Corne D’or where he appropriates and reconfigures Nerval’s metaphor (“Constantinople is like a theatre décor which one should not go behind its wings”) and his Maitre Galip, a contemplative essay-film (adapted from Nazım Hikmet’s Human Landscapes from My Country) which forces the spectator to look behind the décor, the “other” face of Istanbul that bears witness to the poverty of the working class. Putting these two films in dialogue with the director’s 1960 film L’Amour Existe, I discuss how Pialat associates the predicament of the subaltern class in Istanbul with that of the Algerian immigrants living in the outskirts of Paris.

The ‘Looking Relations’ of the Other: An Analysis of Gone With the Wind and Twelve Years A Slave

Devika Narula, Asso. Prof. English, College of Arts and Commerce, University of Delhi. India
The paper analyses through cinematic perspective the ‘gaze’ that pushes the other into a colonial space, determining representivity and positionality. It also focuses on the significance of the ‘looking relations’ of the ‘other’ to the centre, thus establishing colonial imprints in postcolonial cinema. The gaze has been discussed very often but in the postcolonial cinema, the ‘looking relations’ of the ‘other’ have acquired a greater significance. The paper primarily discusses two films situated in Southern America, Gone With The Wind and Twelve Years a Slave, both giving oppositional projections of slavery. The first looks through the gaze of the Southern Whites but the second depicts a different judgemental perspective as the ‘looking’ of the slave relates subjectively to the inhuman treatment meted out to the blacks. The paper raises the issue of colonial injustices and the fear of difference, glossed over by misrepresentation of religion and denial of education to the slaves, anxious about losing control of their carefully constructed imperial worldview. The paper questions the behaviour of the Global North vis-a-vis the Global South and the continuing trend of the White imperial gaze and its strategised hegemony.

Memories of Decolonization: An Alternative History through Deepa Mehta's Earth

Aishwarya Singh, Scholar, Jindal Global Law School, Sonepat, Haryana, India
The Partition scholarship has mostly focused on the high politics of the partition of India and Pakistan, where major subjects of inquiry have been the British government, the Hindu dominated Congress Party and the Muslim League. Deepa Mehta’s Earth (1999) set in the background of 1947, represents Partition through the experiences of a Parsi child, who belongs to a small religious community with a history of political neutrality as she watches the gendered and communal violence affecting her Hindu, Muslim and Sikh neighbours and servants. The film provides a survivor’s account of Partition challenging the nationalist histories of decolonization where one religious community is vilified for the suffering of the other or the focus is on political heroes of independence while glossing over the everyday experience of those who lived through it. Partition scholar Gyanendra Pandey describes this as the distance between history and memory. Ann Cvetkovich has suggested that memory is not antithetical to history since “a turn to memory is also a turn to affective or felt experiences of history as central to the construction of public cultures”. This paper seeks to challenge the dominant nationalist narrative of partition by focusing on the bodily and lived experiences.

Popular Indian (Hindi) Cinema and the Perils of Stereotype

Vinita Gupta Chaturvedi, Asso. Prof., English, College of Arts and Commerce, University of Delhi, India
One of the major thematic preoccupations of popular Hindi cinema has been the construction of a cultural and national identity of the nation.On cinematic screen,the shifting contours of cultural,political,social and religious life of a country finds space and in case of Hindi cinema,the national identity is a fairly uncontested and homogenized one. Since its inception, Indian cinema has positioned itself as inimical to western ideals, constantly questioning western assumptions ,affirming or rejecting some on the way. India’s pre independence cinema engaged in reclaiming past glory of a Hindu culture, acted as a cultural-nationalist vehicle to forge this mythicised identity through religious, mythological,historical genres.Post independent cinema,conforming to the socialist ideals of the country,actively engaged in a nation building exercise offering a worldview contrapuntal to capitalism by positing faith in spartan, egalitarian, equitable society indifferent to wealth and materialism. The twentieth century economic liberalization ushered in a new brand of cultural nationalism for global, investment friendly consumer of Hindi cinema. In the context of this shifting cinematic landscape my paper, with examples of landmark cinema from these different eras, examine the construction, negotiation and forging of national identity by tapping into the collective conscious of Indians, often resulting in perpetuation of stereotypes.

Bravery, a Metaphor of Resistance, Dignity and Preservation in the Film Eréndira Ikikunari (Mexico, 2006)

Laura Veronica Villafuerte Rodriguez, Scholar, Bhupal Nobles’ University, Udaipur, India

In this study it will be examined natives' logics and structures of their culture and traditions, which must be saved fighting back against what they do not want. What kind of path or strategies do they follow up to achieve their aim?

My paper will study the efforts and struggles against the Spanish imperialist in the early XVI Century. The movie Eréndira Ikikunari celebrates the indigenity and pride of being part of an ancient ethnic community. So my paper will attempt to derive how the arrival of Spanish proved a horrid but renewing experience for precolombian empires.

This study will deal with the concept of “bravery” in terms of destruction and construction both for natives as for the imperialists which mattered a lot in the earlier times when natives were affected by internal division and superstition, gender discrimination and oppression and religious psyche.

This study with regard to movie enumerates the complexity of understanding war and warfare from the context of courage to save, eliminate  or recreate the identity or to expand frontiers.

Traces of Colonial Impressions in the Post-colonial Indian Cinema

Jyoti  Rajlaxmi Rana, Ph.D. Scholar, Mohanlal Sukhadia University, Udaipur, India

Indian cinema reveals the traces and impressions of the British Rule. The great Indian films still showcase overt fascination towards the English fashion, mannerism and English language even in the Hindi films. This mimicry is well depicted, although its influence is sometimes rejected by the narrators. The suppression during the colonial days leads the hero of post colonial films winning against the English. When Bhuwan of Lagan challenges the British officer there is a feeling of pride in the minds of the viewers. Bharat of Poorab Aur Paschim invokes the feeling of patriotism in a beautiful melody of ‘hai preet jahan ki reet sada’’. Rang De Basanti provokes the underlying patriotism in youth when a foreigner tries to make a documentary about the freedom fighters. The paper on these selected post-independence movies will inquire the reasons of mimicry that paved way for contemporary Indians to step into shoes of imperialists. It will find the possible logics behind the courage that the hero acquires to fight against his suppressed freedom. Besides it will take up the rationality of imperialists that triggered aggressive response among Indian extremists, rebels, nationalists, patriots and freedom fighters

Sairat, Stardom and Gender Roles: A Cultural Critique

PV Sreebitha, (Adhoc) Asstt. Prof., English, Central University of Karnataka, India
Sairat (Marathi Film, 2016) is the first Marathi film to cross 50 crore (US$7.4 million). The commercial success of this movie in fact challenges the notion of stardom for the first time in Marathi Film Industry. The film presents us new hero and heroine against the stereotypical notion of hero and heroine. However what is more interesting is the cultural politics represented in the movie.  The question caste, class and gender is very well and realistically portrayed in the movie. It would be the best text to examine if one is looking for the intersectionality of caste, class and gender in the modern India.  There have been attempts to see the heroine, Archie and the hero, Prashya as questioning the gender stereotypes or reversing the gender roles. While Archie is presented as being masculine in many instances, Prashya exhibits feminine qualities. The paper argues that its not the gender role reversal rather the modern casteist gender performance that you find in the movie. To put it in other words, rather than the reversal of the gender roles the movie showcases how caste marked individuals perform gender differently.

Cura Malal and the Sovereign Gaze. Images of the first Conscription in Argentina

Nicolas Sallitti, Ph.D. Scolar, Latin American Histroy, Indiana University, USA

From April to July of 1896, Argentine twenty year old men were called to pay their “tribute of blood” to the nation. It was the first time that the army employed military service for recruitment apart from the usual impressment. Conscription was also a key institution of the Argentine's elites nationalizing project: it was meant to extend the benefits of “modernization” to poor classes and immigrant's sons. The rural area of Cura Malal, part of the territories incorporated to the state through military expansion against native people, served as the site for training young men from the capital city and the province of Buenos Aires. The Generals in charge of organizing this first draft were predominantly former officers of the “desert's campaing”. A couple of illustrated books and various newspaper articles were dedicated to the days spent by the nation's youth in Cura Malal. In the city, a huge celebration was organized to welcome the conscripts back from their training. A cheering crowd participated of the ceremony and even the President attended the parade. In this paper I will explore the visual narratives crafted by the State about that experience. How were the notions of youth and territory integrated to the concept of the nation? What role did urban and rural scenarios play in these discourses about “civilization”? I will focus on the photographs of Cura Malal in order to shed some light on the emergence of the sovereign gaze in Argentina at the turn of the century.

 

Colonial Imprints in Postcolonial Cinematic Eye II
Seminar Organiser: Jayshree Singh, Asso. Prof., English, Bhupal Nobles’ University, Udaipur, India, Contact No. 91-9828375535

Dreams of Wealth and Narratives of Extraction: Representations of Gold in the Colombian Pacific
Juanita Aristizabal, Asstt. Prof. Spanish & Portuguese, Pister College, Claremont, California, USA
Ever since it was colonized by the Spanish in the 1500’s, the Pacific region of Chocó in Colombia has been doomed by extractive industries and linked to global markets by perverse dynamics with dire social and environmental consequences. The extraction of gold, in particular, continues shaping the fortunes and misfortunes of Chocó well into the twenty-first century. Gold is a commodity through which to approach representations of complex and shifting relationships with the discourses of western modernity in cultural production on Chocó. Through a reading of a collection of narratives where gold appears as a commodity embedded in the lives, the paths, and destinies of those who tread the jungle, the rivers, and the cities of Chocó, this paper reflects upon representations in literature, journalism, and film of the exuberance and perturbation that this metal has caused and continues to cause in this region. It discusses how cultural production of and from the region reflects on the social, political, economic and racial dynamics surrounding the exploitation and circulation of gold. The narratives of gold that I will analyze participate in the creation of what Margarita Serje has called political geographies built on projections. Serje describes representations of wild landscapes, frontiers and no-man lands in Colombia that, according to her are “virtual spaces inhabited by the myths, the dreams and the nightmares of the modern world” (Serje 23).

'Colonial Hangover': Thuggees in Western Cinematic Representations

Abu Saleh, Ph.D. Scholar, Centre of Comparative Studies, University of Hyderabad

The paper talks about cinematic re-constructions and presentations of the Indian thuggee practice. It tries to see how the ‘cult image’ of thuggee has been represented over time and the possible reasons behind doing so. Films, the paper talks are Gunga Din (1939), the Stranglers of Bombay (1959) and the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). The representation of thuggees in these western films can be seen as racial stereotypes which promote false notion about the group of people considered as ‘born criminals’ for their ‘barbarous activities’.
The paper tries to see how these films construct a kind of cultural superiority and dominance over other societies. The paper also tries to look how these films create fear or anxiety about India and the third world to the western audience through these representations. It focuses on the cultural expansions of the west and their attitude of representing themselves as the saviour of the world by showing others in negative ways. Further, it also tries to find out if there are any shifts of the presentations over time. Has it changed or just carries the earlier and existing notions created by the British colonial administration in India. It also examines how these films represent India as nothing but the same age old ‘disloyal’ and ‘mischief’ making country by sensualising issues and imparting wrong scratches on the mind of new generations.

Reflection of Communal Conflict in 'Gandhi'

Shaila Mahan, Associate Prof. English, Directorate of College Education of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India

Cinema is a powerful cultural force that often creates an audio-visual re-interpretation of historical events and personalities. “Gandhi’- a biographical film on the great Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi – is one such film. Directed by British film maker Richard Attenborough, it analyzes, explains and responds to the cultural legacy of colonialism and  seeks to present not just the life of a man but also portrays a vision about his colonial times.
This Paper focuses on the communal problem of the subcontinent that eventually culminated in the Partition of 1947 and reflect on how the film portrays this human catastrophe. It will explore the dominant narrative and cinematic techniques employed in tackling this serious and sensitive issue. Does the film fix the responsibility (blame?) for this seminal crisis onto Indian shoulders or does it honestly introspect on British policies of ‘Divide and Rule’ ? Does it provide a meaningful insights into the historical forces that created the ‘partitioned past’ and threaten the ‘polarised present’ that mars the socio-political landscape of the subcontinent till today. The endeavour will be to explore whether the cinematic vision of this epic film is an unbiased narration or is it a coloured portrayal through a colonialist lens.  

 Creative Recreation of the Colonial Past of India with special reference to the film Rang De Basanti

Mohita Dixit, Ph. D. Scholar (MLSU), Bhupal Nobles’ University, Udaipur, India
This paper examines the filmmaking techniques used in transposing the Colonial images with the Post Colonial figures.The paper also investigates how the cinematic techniques used in the Indian movie named "Rang De Basanti" depicts the colonial imprints which are still being carried by the present generation of India in their minds. The way each character immerses into the postcolonial setting from the colonial settings has been effectively juxtaposed through the screenpaly of the film.The paper discusses the flashback techniques used in "Rang De Basanti" to portray colonial activities and how these flasbacks become a reference point to develop strategies for the youth of present India.It also explains how the dialogues and background of the movie successfully manages to reinforce the fact that the socio-political climate of Colonial India remains more or less the same in the postcolonial world.Apart from this,the paper also talks about the direction in the movie and how it engages the audience to the colonial past and links the postcolonial present through the minds of characters.

 

The Paramilitary Gaze of the United Fruit Company

Juanita Bernal, Ph.D. Scholar, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, USA

The politics of the United Fruit Company were so intertwined with the politics of Colombia that by the end of the 20s the national army was used to defend the interests of the company against its laborers, who were protesting in order to obtain better working conditions: that is, as if it were a paramilitary militia. In this paper I explore the idea that the paramilitary order was not only behind the massacre of the employees that secured the land owned by the company, but was also behind another seemingly different reality created by the United Fruit Company: the advertisements used by the company during the same years to address its consumers in the United States. Banana recipe booklets and handbooks about the dietary benefits of the fruit, books about the history of the banana and its relation to the genesis of the company were well-illustrated documents. They often included cheerful and colorful maps of the Caribbean Sea surrounded by mermaids sailing the waters atop giant fish or whales coming to the surface to blow a spout of water. I argue that these rather infantile images contain, nevertheless, a gaze that articulates the logic of the paramilitary order: as calculating from the above or through the sights of a device, ordering, appropriating and commodifying the territory below.

Righting the Wrong: Violence and Ethics in La Bataille d’Algiers

Manfa Sanogo, Ph.D. Scholar in French, Florida State University, USA
The role of violence in the relationship between colonizers and colonized people in a given system has been heavily discussed in postcolonial theory. While great emphasis has been given to the dehumanizing aspect of violence in this relation (Fanon, Mbembe), few attempts have been made to discuss its practical effects on the political aims of both the colonizers, aiming to maintain the system of domination, and the colonized, who intend to overthrow it. This paper addresses the legitimacy of colonial violence as well as the limits of such violence as a method for domination and resistance. I analyze Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers, which depicts two antagonist, yet concurrent, forms of colonial violence: torture and terrorism. On one hand, I argue that Pontecorvo poses violence as a logical, necessary, and inescapable method of assertion of one’s political presence and prominence during colonialization. He does so in order to humanize actors of torture and terrorism. On the other hand, I demonstrate that despite its alleged productivity, violence alone is inefficient and actually undermines political dominance. Finally, I examine the double-ending of the movie and argue that it expresses Pontecorvo’s ethics that only a civilian based society can truly overcome colonial violence. 

Cinematic Angle of Gothic Motifs, Signs, Symbols in Indian Films: Colonial Imprints in Postcolonial Eye

Jayshree Singh, Asso. Prof., English, Bhupal Noble’s University, Udaipur, India
The study is on cultural infusion, dissemination of interstitial perspective from the artistic and historiography angle in the entertainment industry of Indian cinema. In the movie Victoria No. 203 (1972), Victoria lamphead is a motif to mark the hidden location for the stash of diamonds, while the Victoria Carriage female driver is the metaphor of “gute menschen von setzuan’ who disguises herself at night as boy.  There is a C.G.Museum, at Mumbai which was formerly known as Prince of Wales Museum of Western India.  In the movie Junoon (1979), the motif  church an image of a racist hegemonic collectiveness. The church is a symbol of cultural difference,  The  film Shatranj Key Khiladi (1997) showcases the  chess-game a symbol of colonised choices to find pleasure or let it go as mere play or to take combat to protect their state from annexation. 

The Deaths of Oscar Romero: Reflections on War Capitalism and its Camera

Kevin Coleman, Asstt. Prof. in Latin American History, University of Toronto, Canada

Hanging from both sides of the frame, the glass from the portrait melted to form two enormous stalactites. The image of Archbishop Oscar Romero is barely visible in what now looks more like a charred fresco. In 1989, several divisions of U.S.-trained Salvadoran military units invaded the University of Central America, killing six of the Jesuit scholar-priests who run the university along with their housekeeper and her daughter. After brutalizing the priests and the two women, the soldiers torched the photograph of Romero, a man whose body they had already killed some ten years prior. Situating the attempted erasure of an image of an archbishop in its broader economic and geopolitical context, I develop a concept that I call “war capitalism’s cameras” to describe the production and circulation of images as central to the accumulation of capital through the imperial power of private enterprise operating in conjunction with war-making, and thus law-making, states. Against this US-backed state violence, Archbishop Romero and the Jesuits of the University of Central America embodied what I term an ontologically grounded critique of secular war capitalism. In the burnt image the trace of Romero remains, as does the violence that sought to erase it.

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