We are excited to announce that Dr. Tejaswini Ganti will deliver the keynote address on Friday evening. Dr. Ganti is Associate Professor of Anthropology and core faculty in the Program in Culture & Media at New York University. A visual anthropologist specializing in South Asia, her research and teaching interests include Indian cinema, anthropology of media, production cultures, visual culture, cultural policy, nationalism, neoliberalism, capitalism, ideologies of development and theories of globalization. She has been conducting ethnographic research about the social world and filmmaking practices of the Hindi film industry since 1996 and is the author of Producing Bollywood: Inside the Contemporary Hindi Film Industry (Duke University Press 2012) and Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema (Routledge 2004; 2nd ed. 2013).
Dr. Ganti has also written about the politics of commemorative rituals around cinema in Bombay; Hindi filmmakers’ practices of remaking Hollywood films; their tremendous ambivalence about song and dance sequences; how value and distinction is indexed and enacted within the Hindi film industry; and the industry’s complex relationship to state censorship. Additionally, she has produced the documentary, Gimme Somethin’ to Dance to! (1995) which explores the significance of bhangra music for South Asians in the U.S. Her current research examines the politics of language and translation within the Bombay film industry; the formalization and professionalization of film training through film schools in India; and a social history of Indian cinema in the U.S.
In addition, Dr. Katherine Bowie, incoming president of the Association for Asian Studies, will give an address on Saturday, the second day of the conference. Dr. Bowie is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received a BA with Distinction from Stanford University and her MA and PhD from the University of Chicago. She has conducted extended fieldwork in Thailand, with primary interests in political anthropology, historical anthropology, gender and Theravada Buddhism. She has served as Eisenhower Fellow to Thailand, Fulbright Scholar, President of the Midwest Conference of Asian Affairs, and multiple years on the organizing committees for the Council of Thai Studies (COTS).
Dr. Bowie has served twice as Director of UW-Madison’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies, receiving an International Institute Outstanding Service Award in 2009. Her publications include Rituals of National Loyalty: An Anthropology of the State and the Village Scout Movement in Thailand (Columbia University Press, 1997); Voices from the Thai Countryside: The Necklace and Other Short Stories of Samruam Singh (University of Wisconsin Southeast Asia Series, 1998), and her forthcoming book, Of Beggars and Buddhas: The Politics of Humor in the Vessantara Jataka in Thailand (University of Wisconsin Press). She is currently conducting research on Thailand’s famous northern monk, Khruubaa Srivichai, about whom she has recently published in the Journal of Asian Studies (2014).