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ASA12: Arts and aesthetics in a globalizing world

3rd-6th April 2012, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India


Conference convenors: Prof Susan Visvanathan & Prof Parul Mukherji, JNU

Association of Social Anthropologists Organizes an Annual Conference on a specific theme, which is usually held at the beginning of April. The conference is scientific and blind peer reviewed. The authors of accepted papers are usually offered to publish their contributions either in ASA scientific publications or as a chapters of the book.


The call for abstracts was published in 2011. Abstract as well as full paper titled  Remembering the Unseen: Images of Heaven and Earth in the Bosnian Mosquewere, from Amra Hadzimuhamedovic, accepted by scientific committee and she was invited to present the paper as one of panelists in Panel 13:  P13 Arts of memory: skilful practices of living history.

The ASA's 2012 conference took place in India in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Social Systems in the School of Social Sciences, and the School of Arts and Aesthetics, at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi. The conference brought together over 400 delegates from all over the world, providing an unparalleled opportunity for networking between South Asian academics and those from further afield.



This conference investigated art and aesthetics in their widest senses and experiences, from a variety of perspectives and in numerous contexts: the material arts, crafts, performance, , protection, preservation,  conservation, continuation, metaphysics, and other related themes.  The conference tried to move away from debates centered around the concerns of powerful elites and to engage in more diverse conversations with vernacular practices. This is particularly significant given the ‘aesthetic turn’ in sociology and political science specifically and in social science and humanities in general, after Jacques Ranciere’s Politics of Aesthetics (2004).


Advisory committee

Sharon Macdonald (Anthropology, University of Manchester), Soumendra Patnaik, (Anthropology, University of Delhi), Chris Pinney (Anthropology, UCL), Renuka Singh (CSSS, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi)


Organising committee

Susan Visvanathan, Parul  Mukherjee, Raminder Kaur, Anand Kumar, Bharat Kumar, Vivek Kumar, Nilika Mehrotra, Ranjani Mazumdar, Bimol, Nayanika Mookherjee, Atreyee Sen, G Srinivas, James Staples


Plenary speakers

Ghassan Hage (University of Melbourne) - the Firth lecture

Patsy Spyer (University of Leiden)

Parul Dave Mukherjee (School of Art and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)

Gayatri Sinha (Independent critic and curator, New Delhi)

Jyoti Sahi

Chris Pinney (University College London)

Ranjani Mazumdar (School of Art and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)

Naman Ahuja, (Arts and Aesthetics, JNU)

Paul Henley (University of Manchester)

Juergen Frembgen (Munich State Museum of Ethnology & University of Munich)

Shubha Chaudhuri (Archives and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology, AIIS, Gurgaon)

Pnina Werbner (Keele University)

Shiv Visvanathan (Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Communication and Technology, Gandhinagar)

All other accepted papers were presented through  52 panels:

 P01 Exploring the aesthetics and meanings of contemporary Indian fashion: from craft to the catwalk

 P02 World art and critical pedagogy

 P03 Exploring aesthetic experiences and practices

 P04 Beyond the Arab Spring: the aesthetics and poetics of popular revolt and protest

 P05 Aesthetics of conversion

 P07 VCD visions: the fabulous aesthetics and new industries of VCD cinema and television across South Asia

 P08 The aesthetics of craft: explorations in the anthropology of craft production

 P09 The artistic imagination in ruptured landscapes

 P10 Consuming culture: the politics and aesthetics of cultural tourism in different national traditions

 P11 Publishing, prestige, and money in global anthropology (WCAA)

P12 The aesthetics of suicide

 P13 Arts of memory: skilful practices of living history

 P14 Social sense and embodied sensibility at the cinema: towards an aesthetics of film-going

 P15 In-between fiction and non-fiction: reflections on the poetics of ethnography in film and literature

 P16 Field and film aesthetics: sensory anthropology and the texture of documentary filmmakers' practice

 P17 Jewellery as property, jewellery as aesthetics

 P18 Framing the northeast: visual practices in Northeast India in the 19th and 20th centuries

 P19 Anthropology in the contemporary artworld

 P20 Screening India through digital image-making

 P21 Music, digital media, and ontological politics: from 'piracy' to intellectual property

 P22 Taste

 P23 Elite art in an age of populism: sowing monocultures?

 P24 Accommodating the primordial: the function of myth in a globalising world

 P25 Transformations in contemporary South Asian ritual: From sacred action to public performance

 P26 Cultural dimensions of ecology

 P27 Cinema matters: the changing film object in a globalizing world

 P28 The aesthetics of governance

 P29 Art & religion: beyond-representation in the representation of the beyond

 P30 Insideout: art crafting substance, (bio)graphy and circulation

 P31 Healing arts? The arts and aesthetics of medical display

 P32 The ethnographic framing of the migrant subject    

 P33 The art of improvisation

 P34 Aesthetics, politics, conflict

 P35 Imagining Bangladesh and forty years of its aesthetic trajectory

 P37 The aesthetics and fictions of science

 P38 Art worlds and the city: perspectives from India and beyond

 P39 Art and activism in contemporary Dalit and Adivasi movements

 P40 Shards of memory: memorials, commemorations, remembrance

 P41 Ethnic by design: creative agency, aesthetics, and community in the global marketplace

 P42 (Dis-)Locating the political: the aesthetics of self-making in postcolonial India

 P43 Aestheticisation: artefacts and emotions in diasporic contexts

 P44 Cosmopolitanism, politics, and the (performing) arts

 P45 Interdisciplinary approaches to wellbeing and anthropological perspectives

 P46 Aesthetics of healing and the body in a globalising world

 P47 Traditional and modern art forms in protests and movements

 P48 Weddings: identity and aesthetics in a globalising consumer world

 P49 Aesthetics of ritual performance

 P50 Narratives of coping with marginalization: impact of state policies on natural resources and tribal lives

 P51 Art workshops for children with autism

 P52 Vernacular perspectives on arts and aesthetics


The publications and information on the work of Commission to preserve national monuments have been disseminated to the participants.





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