More Info Soon. For Now:
Made Possible by: Dean for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
WHEN: Summer 2012
SHOWCASE: TBD Fall 2012
Kathryn Hardy, South Asia StudiesKathryn Hardy is a Ph. D. candidate in the Department of South Asia Studies at Penn. She has conducted extensive ethnographic research on emergent linguistically-specific media practices in northern India. Her research focuses on films and filmmaking in Bhojpuri, which originates in the Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Bhojpuri cinema, an increasingly significant regional cultural product, has redefined what it means to be a Bhojpuri speaker. Her dissertation focuses on the mechanisms by which new modes of being and speaking Bhojpuri become meaningful inside film studios and outside them. As new forms of Bhojpuri are propagated through migration patterns as well as film distribution networks, a language once considered rural is re-contextualized in urban Mumbai. The Mumbai-based Bhojpuri film industry is just as visible a presence as the millions of urban Bhojpuri–speaking migrants in the city, and both contribute to language shifts. Kathryn’s dissertation research draws attention to the fact that Bhojpuri, like all language, is fundamentally geographically unmoored, mobile along with its speakers.
For the Dean’s Grant for Research and New Media, Kathryn will extend this research to make it publicly audible, weaving together migration histories of Bhojpuri speakers with samples of their language. While measures such as the census seek to fix people and languages in place geographically, this project will show how languages cross geographic boundaries through marriage, migration, and media circulation. Video recordings will make the resulting maps accessible even to those who are unfamiliar with the languages and groups in question.
Kathryn speaks Modern Standard Hindi and is conversant in several varieties of Bhojpuri. Her research has been supported by several grants and fellowships, including a junior fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies in 2010 and a University of Pennsylvania Penfield fellowship in 2011.
Ruthie Meadows, Ethnomusicology
Ruthie Meadows is a PhD Candidate in Ethnomusicology whose research focuses on poetics and aurality in Latin American/Caribbean popular music. Ruthie has given multi-media academic conference presentations on Dominican musical aesthetics and diasporic practices for the Society for Ethnomusicology (Nov 2011) and has received grants through the Latin American & Latino Studies Program at Penn to pursue ethnomusicological research on music in the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic (Jul 2011). Under the guidance of ethnomusicologist Christopher Washburne (Columbia University), she recently conducted fieldwork on Dominican and Latino music in Philadelphia. Through the Dean’s Grant for Research and New Media, Ruthie expands her research on Dominican aesthetic practices in Philadelphia by disseminating a series of ethnographic short films and audio narratives that document the artistic practices of Dominican migrants and “sexiles” who work from outside of the boundaries of the Dominican nation-state, including in Philadelphia and San Juan, Puerto Rico. This research uses aural and audio-visual narrative to examine how Dominican migrants forge sonic tapestries that combine prominent Dominican musical styles (i.e., merengue, bachata, and Afro-Dominican religious and secular music) with lyrical texts that overtly stretch the boundaries of the normative and intervene into dominant notions of dominicanidad. This project, then, uses ethnographic film and audio recording to disseminate research that expands scholarship on sexual minorities within the Dominican diaspora, the transnational nature of the Dominican aural sphere, and the importance of understudied urban locales—such as San Juan and Philadelphia—within these processes.
Daniel Snelson, English