How do photographs operate in the gallery, in relation to objects, visitors, people demonstrating? How does installation photography shape our access and imagination of museum pasts? How does the fungibility and malleability of the photograph contribute to its use in museum and gallery contexts? How do photographs operate in/as archives? This project engages the histories of photography in the museum, overlapping with questions … Continue reading Photography

Exhibitionary Time

This project thinks through what an exhibition does by focusing not on the spatial arrangement of objects and text but instead on the small and large durations and temporalities at play in the gallery. Using the Festival of India—an 18-month complex of over 70 exhibitions that took place across the U.S. in 1985–86—this research seeks … Continue reading Exhibitionary Time

Colonial Rhythms

This project examines painting in India at the turn of the 19th century and photography in India in the later 19th century. What did paintings and photographs, particularly of people, produce during this period? What kinds of epistemologies and temporalities do they communicate and construct? Taking seriously the objects themselves as they circulated around the … Continue reading Colonial Rhythms

Genealogy of Spinning

In an anti-colonial move toward Indian self-sufficiency, Gandhi in 1909 decided to revive the hand-spinning of cotton into thread. Gandhi’s programme of spinning (as practice) and deployment of the spinning wheel (as icon) represents one of the most significant unifying elements of the nationalist movement in India. This project traces the genealogy of the image … Continue reading Genealogy of Spinning

Global Modern

This project extends earlier engagements with the modern, modernity, and modernism in India, exploring whether and how the frame of the global might enable certain avenues of inquiry. It overlaps significantly with my teaching practice, where the geographic and the location of the artist, object, viewer are continually in flux, whether one is examining a … Continue reading Global Modern

Modernity • India

This project explores how Indian modernity is produced by and through the paradox of how to be both modern and Indian in the post-Independence period from 1947-1980. If the modern involves universal communication and pure form, a turning away from religion to reason, and a reliance on a (usually colonized) Other as productive foil, then … Continue reading Modernity • India

Colonial City

Drawing from maps, surveys, extant architecture, paintings and lithographs of the city, and travel narratives, the various phases of this project elucidate the ways that the British colonial presence in Patna, a city on the Ganges river in Bihar, India, reshaped the city space. Through various case studies, the research included here describes the discourse … Continue reading Colonial City

Film & TV

Film and TV provide rich texts for understanding shifts in cultural politics, from questions of Orientalism to understandings of modernity and constructions of the past. These smaller projects examine individual films or TV series to address particular questions of interest, usually intersecting with theoretical frames also developed in the other three research areas. Publications: 2 … Continue reading Film & TV