Contested Cultures

(Cultural Studies)

Call for Papers

If, in a more classical sense, culture was associated with acquired tastes, which were often elitist and determined by ideologies of the dominant social groups, the intervention made possible by Cultural Studies as a discipline, was in reclaiming the ground hitherto denied to those speaking from the margins. The ‘popular’ was central to recharting legitimacies via Cultural Studies, and ironically earlier elitist hegemonies have now been replaced by populist conservatism. It needs to be borne in mind that the margin itself is relational to the mainstream or the mainland, and a realignment of perspective might present an entirely different picture to us. It is this very play between present hegemonies and future possibilities, which marks the ideology and activism of an earlier generation of Marxist theorists like Louis Althusser and Antonio Gramsci. However, the revolution-in-the-waiting seems to have elided us, and as we tide roughly through the choppy churnings of a new world order marked by a hollowed-out populism, one turns to sites of radical difference -- the margins, the hybridised, the invisible, the underbelly, the nomadic -- to seek refuge and to strike new roots.

This section titled “Contested Cultures” seeks to present perspectives -- particularly from the Global South -- highlighting the appropriation of popular cultural forms towards populist agendas, as well as the challenge to populism through independent, autonomous and collective interventions across a range of cultural forms.

  • Urban rituals - mediatised forms of urban existence

  • Environment - pandemics, forest fires, global warming, privatising space

  • Language - transforming lexicons, visual and computer language

  • Cinema - fandom, remakes, OTT platforms, web series

  • Networks - global capital, migration, media, phone apps, google maps

  • Food - diversity and homogenisation, agricultural and technology, cloud kitchens

  • Architecture - populism and the social construction of space, built environment, gated communities

  • The body - surveillance and CCTV culture, UIDs, prosthetics, queering bodies, labouring bodies

  • Performance - tik-tok and other mediatised forms, social media, selfies, folk forms

  • Memory - recording devices and outsourcing memory, post truth, cognitive studies

  • Law - privacy, freedom of expression, constitutionalism, cyberlaw

  • Neo imperialism - new forms of global control through culture

  • Post capitalism - knowledge economies, post-unionism, precarious labour

  • Rap, hip hop and youth subculture

  • Mass protests and the performance of dissent

  • Reinventing racism

  • Digital archives and history

  • Copyright and open-source activism

  • Monumental statues, public spaces and renaming streets

Panel Conveners

Dr. Rashmi Sawhney

Section Editor of 'Contested Cultures' in the Encyclopaedia

Dr. Rashmi Sawhney is a cultural theorist and curator and writes in English and Marathi on cinema and the visual arts. She has over 15 years of teaching experience across various universities in India and Europe, including Trinity College Dublin; the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University; and the Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore. At Christ University, she is Academic Coordinator for the MA and PhD programmes in Cultural Studies.

Dr. Ahmet Gürata

Section Editor of 'Contested Cultures' in the Encyclopaedia

Dr. Ahmet Gürata is an academic, film critic and festival curator. Currently, he is a senior visiting scholar at Stockholm University’s Institute for Turkish Studies (SUITS). He has published research on the history of Turkish cinema, reception, remakes and documentary in anthologies and journals. His current research includes projects on archive and comparative film studies. He also works as a programmer for the Festival on Wheels and is affiliated with Docedge: Asian Forum for Documentary.

Confirmed Participants

Interest: Class: aka White trash, red neck

Dr. Karunanithi Gopalakrishnan in his forty long years mainly as a professor of Sociology has also essayed multifarious roles as an able administrator, research scholar, investigator in projects in the area of social sciences. He has been associated with Corvinus University of Budapest (CBU) over a 20 year-period as visiting professor as well as visiting scholar on multiple occasions. He was a visiting scholar at the Centre for Refugee Studies, York University as well as a visiting social scientist at FMSH, France. In his stint as an administrator he served as registrar at Madurai Kamaraj University and as Chancellor at Vellore Institute of Technology.

Interest: Family values

Dr. Anna Varghese is an Assistant Professor, Department of English, Cultural Studies and History, CHRIST University, Bannerghatta Road Campus, Bangalore, India. Her doctoral research was on the topic, “Temple Functionaries in Medieval Kerala: A Study of their Evolution from 8th to 16th centuries CE” from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Interest: Cultural studies, digital humanities, platform studies, influence of algorithms on knowledge production

Nida Syeda completed her Masters in English from Jyoti Nivas College, Bangalore and has an M.Phil in English Literature from Christ University, Bangalore. She is presently pursuing her doctoral studies under Dr Rashmi Sawhney at Christ University. Her M.Phil thesis was a textual analysis on internet memes to understand the different rhetorical devices used to decentre religious metanarratives. Her present work looks at how different tools of control influence information and knowledge production on digital platforms.

Interest: Cultural Studies, Popular Spirituality, Psychology

Kanthi Krishnamurthy is currently a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology at Christ (Deemed to be University). Her doctoral study explores the contours of contemporary spirituality in urban India with a specific focus on the spiritual organization, the Art of Living Foundation, employing a media ethnographic approach. With an academic background in Cultural Studies from the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore.

Interest: The Politics of Food

Dr. Arya Parakkate Vijayaraghavan is an Assistant Professor in English and Cultural Studies at Christ University, Bangalore, India. Her areas of research include Gender and Intersections, Food and Identity Discourse, Cultural Studies, Education and Curriculum Development. She was awarded her MPhil and Ph.D. from The English and Foreign Language University, Hyderabad. Some of her recent works were published in various Scopus-indexed journals like the Journal of Computers in Education (Springer Nature), Journal of English as an International Language (ELE Publications) among others.

Interest: The Politics of Food

Dr. Dishari Chattaraj is an Assistant Professor at the Department of English and Cultural Studies at Christ University Bangalore. She received her M.Phil and Ph.D. from JNU, New Delhi, and her MA from EFLU, Hyderabad. She has been hosted as a Fulbright Fellow at Indiana University Bloomington, The USA. She has published widely in various Scopus-indexed journals including the Journal of Computers in Education (Springer Nature), Journal of English as an International Language (ELE Publications), International Journal Learning, Teaching, and Educational Research amongst others.