Research Talk- Researching new media in Asia: some observations on ‘context’

One of the persistent challenges that can be said to confront Asian media scholars is with regard to the applicability of Euro-American concepts and theories to local research contexts. While some of the theories that engage with current developments in new media may have global validity, the methodologies and frameworks that they have inspired tend to pre-determine the questions that can be asked and overlook the diversity of human experience in the production, use, and consumption of new media, in particular in postcolonial situations. The challenge therefore, is to both critically examine the Euro-American-centrism that is intrinsic to the majority of these propositions, while at the same time avoiding the risk of relativism, the dangers of domesticating research and theory to such an extent that it inhibits scholarly dialogue and theory development. Building on Dipesh Chakrabarty’s insights in Provincializing Europe, in particular his development, based on Marx’s examination of history and capital, of the notion of ‘History 1 and History 2’, and also on Doreen Massey’s thesis on ‘power-geometry’ and the sociality of space that helped radicalise human geography, this talk seeks to demonstrate the ways in which the reconceptualisation of ‘contexts’ – cultural economic, politico-temporal, socio-spatial, and academic – could offer a corrective to the purported universalism of existing concepts, make them more relevant to local situations, and avoid unproductive relativism.

Time: 3 p.m.

Date: Wednesday, 20 Jan 2016

Venue: CNM Meeting Room AS6-03-33

About the Speaker

Ramaswami Harindranath

Harindranath gained his PhD at the University of Leicester, UK, and has previously held teaching and research positions at the University of Melbourne and in various universities in India, the UK, and Malaysia. He has had Visiting Fellowships at Brown University (USA), the University of Helsinki, and Oxford University, and is an Honorary Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. In 2011 he was Principal Research Fellow at the University of Queensland. He was offered a Visiting Professorship at Brown University in early 2012, which he has deferred to a later date. Hari is a co-editor of the journal Postcolonial Studies.

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