18.151 South Asian Networks

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Sun, 22 Aug 2004 10:11:14 +0100

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 18, No. 151.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Sun, 22 Aug 2004 09:26:04 +0100
         From: Maja van der Velden <maja_at_xs4all.nl>
         Subject: South Asian Networks: Digital Diasporic Circuits

South Asian Networks: Digital Diasporic Circuits

Editor: Radhika Gajjala

If you have work you'd like to submit for this,
Please send a 500 abstract and bio to radhika_at_cyberdiva.org

If you have a near complete essay - go ahead and submit that as well.


1. Brief Description:

This project examines issues related to South Asian transnational networks
(economic, mediated, digital and so on) and diasporic circuits that are
technologically mediated in various ways. Technology and its use has shaped
and in turn been shaped by dominant production processes, community
practices and cultural activities throughout history. Nowhere is this more
obvious than in the practices of travel, communication, labor flow and
economic systems fostered by modern and postmodern modes of work and play
through an engagement with various digital technologies. Therefore the
essays in this anthology examine various issues regarding labor, migration
and globalization at the intersection of the digital and the analogue
specifically in relation to South Asia and South Asian Diasporas, in an
effort to show how technology, migrancy and globalization are linked to our
everyday lives.

Contributors thus examine (directly and indirectly) issues related to
technologically mediated diasporic spaces. Issues of voice and
voicelessness as well as of marginalization, ventriloquizing and Othering
based on gender, race, class, sexuality and geographical location emerge as
some central concerns. Problematizing both transnational and diasporic in
relation to technological environments and globalization, this collection
grapples with issues at such intersections. Taking seriously Gayathri
Spivaks interrogation of transnational, diasporas, old and newin relation
to the Gramscian subaltern (Spivak, 1997), and based in issues raised
through the editors prior work in this area (see Gajjala 1998, 1999, 2000
forthcoming 2004 and Gajjala and Mamidipudi 1999) this collection engages
questions that point to the contradictions that emerge when these issues
are put in conversation with digitaland related technological environments.

Some implicit and explicit questions are: What kind of migratory subjects
emerge in transnational spaces and in digital diaspora , at the
intersection of the local and the global? What regulatory fictionsand
theoretical frames shape and constrain manifestations of identity
formations and communities online? What literacies are demanded in the
performance of cyber-bodies? What bodies are allowed embodiment through
technologies? Viewed at the intersection of cultures and communities of
production, what kinds of bodies produce what kinds of technologies? What
are the socio-cultural transformations demanded in the name of
"technological literacy" and "development"? Exploring the ontology and
epistemology of "cyberspace," some of these essays raise questions
regarding the impossibility of "the subaltern's" access to the
socio-economic globalization manifested in cyberspace.

Processes of globalization rely on a complex layering of discourses and
daily practices related to information technology, digital media,
lifestyles based on the celebration of globalizing consumer cultures as
well as on the seemingly contradictory invoking of national culture (as
defined through postcolonial bourgeoisie nation-building ideologies).
Online discourses and material practices within such technological
environments are a result of such complexly layered and nuanced practices
in realspaces and are visibly manifested in the various online contexts.
Even in these virtual environments, participants do not leave their bodies
behind. Hence the virtual/real distinction sets up a false binary that
cannot be substantiated when we analyze engagement with online
environments. Part of what the analyses in the chapters in this book do is
to try to unravel the dichotomy between the virtual and the real.

Thus Economics and Culture intersect and interweave within digital spaces
to produce global and local encounters, circuits and networks. Cyberculture
is not simply or essentially the west or the whole world; male or
female, white or black yet it is situated within unequal power relations
that must be examined in detail in relation to various categories of race,
caste, gender, sexuality and geography, and at various conjunctures and
disjunctures. The purpose of our project is to open up theoretical
considerations for continued attempts at mapping these connections between
the economic, cultural, digital, local and the global. These connections
can be mapped at various local/global intersections and every such
contextual analysis will reveal the various ways in which these work
together and contribute to the production of power relations within which
discourses and practices of globalization are situated. The chapters in
this proposed collection do this in a variety of ways. This is an
interdisciplinary project, drawing on multiple methodologies for studying
what has come to be known as digital culture.

Radhika Gajjala

Associate Professor
Dept of IPC/School of Comm Studies
315 West Hall
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH 43403

fax - 419-372-0202
Received on Sun Aug 22 2004 - 05:23:05 EDT

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