Bindu Bhadana
Post-national Perceptions in Contemporary Art Practice

Media and Cultural Studies ; 3

The role of the nation has increasingly come under question since the 1990s as ongoing debates emphasize the shifting and fluid modes of identification in our post-modern, post-colonial and post-structuralist world. The nation in such debates is viewed alternately as a marker of plural belonging or as a monolithic relic that has outgrown its usefulness. How important is the nation and national identity in the contemporary moment? This monograph takes up the artworks of three artists, one from the diaspora, Chitra Ganesh (b.1974, New York), and Tejal Shah (b.1979, Bhilai) and Nikhil Chopra (b.1976, Calcutta) from India, to understand the transforming relationship of the gendered body with national identity in contemporary art practice. It demonstrates that ideas of national belonging are being challenged precisely through a concerted focus on post-colonial, racial histories and through identities marginalized by the nation – women, queer, transgender. It proposes the ‘post-national’ as an empowering term and a critical framework to understand the shifting dynamics of belonging being articulated through diverse medias in contemporary art.

Forthcoming in Spring 2023

Philippe Bornet, Nadia Cattoni (Eds.)
Significant Others, Significant Encounters: Essays on South Asian History and Literature

This volume is dedicated to Maya Burger, professor emerita at the Faculty of Arts, University of Lausanne. It gathers contributions by friends, colleagues, and former students that echo the multiple dimensions of her work. Organised in four parts, Indology, History of Religions, History of Orientalism, and Hindi and Translation, these contributions explore different examples of encounters with “significant others”. Analysing original historical and literary sources and reflecting on the methodological dimensions, the authors offer innovative perspectives on various processes of interaction and exchange between the Indian subcontinent and the wider world and within the subcontinent itself.

Forthcoming in Spring 2023

Mette Gabler
Creating Slogans for Social Change: An Inquiry into Advertising, Gender Imagery and the Politics of Change in Urban India

Media and Cultural Studies ; 4

What role media content plays in processes of change is an ongoing and multi-layered discussion. Therein, advertising and gender have an extraordinary position. In the context of advertising production in urban India, this book deals with the understanding of social change in the early 2010s. Through an inquiry of the production of advertising created for commercial and/or social purposes, the perceptions of advertising producers are highlighted. The analysis presents the realities of the producers as well as debates surrounding the creation processes. Thereby, the complexities and intertwining of advertising are uncovered, while dynamics of gender, media, and change are discussed.

Forthcoming in Summer 2023

Frances Anke Niebuhr
Dhārī Devī, Goddess of the Floods: Development, Disaster and the Transitions of a Place of Worship

The trajectory of the Dhārī Devī Temple epitomises the idea of catastrophes as watersheds. In particular, flood disasters have accompanied transformation processes of the site located on Alaknanda River in the Indian Himalayas. As early as 1894, a flash flood had a significant impact on the site and the identity of the deity. Local flood legends gained new topicality with the planning of a hydroelectric power plant in the vicinity. They became part of debates surrounding the construction scheme that required the relocation of the sacred site. This case study explores flood discourses and illuminates their influence on a development project. It further demonstrates how previous controversies framed the public interpretation of two flood disasters in 2012 and specifically of the “Himalayan Tsunami” in 2013.

Forthcoming in Summer 2023

Tilman Schalmey
Computerlinguistische Datierung schriftsprachlicher chinesischer Texte

The chronological classification of texts can be crucial for clarifying authenticity and interpretation. The dating of written Chinese sources can be made difficult due to imitation of antique models and unclear authorship. This book is the first to examine the development and application of computational methods for dating Chinese texts. It introduces a lexeme-based method that aims at counteracting the stylistic rigidity of the written language and aiding philological work. Moreover, this study examines language change, the general suitability of digital methods for the study of Classical Chinese texts and the Hanyu da cidian 漢語大詞典 as an important data source for lexicographic dating.

Forthcoming in Summer 2023

Harald Wiese
Exchange, gifting, and sacrificing: Premodern Indian perspectives

In both the Vedic and the classical periods, a special elite class of people existed that were called Brahmins. In a rough manner, one might say that their material welbeing depended on dakṣiṇā in the Vedic period and on dāna in the classical one.

Broadening the perspective beyond dakṣiṇā and dāna, this book is on all sorts of giving in the context of pre-modern India, using Vedic, Sanskrit, Buddhist and, to a much lesser extent, Roman and Christian sources. The Brahmanical theory of the gift (i.e., the theory of dutiful gifting, dharmadāna) is a major focus of, and has provided a major motivation for, this study. I hope that it is a highlight of the book.

The book is meant to be a “dialogue” in a two-fold direction. First, the book is written with the conviction that non-contextual generalisations can make sense, over and above the particulars that deserve mention. Second, I aim at dialogues between these emic perspectives on the one hand and etic ones on the other hand. Here, I have applications of modern economic, sociological, ethnological, and marketing theories in mind. In particular, rational-choice approaches are sometimes used. While I am aware that many social scientists may not particularly like these approaches, I find them insightful and hope to convince readers that they can contribute valuable insights, over and above those following from non-rational-choice perspectives.

Forthcoming in Summer 2023